Marie Watt's Blanket Tower

By Amy Hackworth. Image here.

When I happened upon Marie Watt’s Blanket Tower at the museum recently, I marveled at the 12-foot stack she’d created (how?!) of wool blankets. Blankets are universally functional, and I love that Watts created a piece of art celebrating such a meaningful staple of our homes.

I was struck with this homey feeling of comfort, which seems appropriate since blankets offer physical and emotional warmth. They’re utilitarian, but often develop a strong emotional component. More than just practical household items, blankets can be family treasures, too, and sometimes carry a sort of provenance the whole family knows and a nostalgia the whole family feels.

The tower is more than twice my height, and that’s a striking number of blankets, many of them contributed by families for the project. I felt a strong sense of community, thinking that each blanket represented a different family—their picnics, guest beds, sofa snuggles. Though each family is different, we all need and use many of the same practical items to create our individual lives and homes. They’re woven into our separate family histories, but also have meaning across our shared experiences.

So many things pass through our homes over the years. Which are the items that share both function and meaning in your family? Which are the keepers? And what other household items gathered en masse would make an interesting art exhibit?