elaine longtemps twists

I have been fascinated by "fibers" since childhood in my father's shop. I remember huge bins of horsehair and cotton batting used to upholster furniture, large spools of cord and cotton flex for piping, and yards of beautiful fabrics for draperies, which my father would cut with enormous scissors.

As my training was in painting, it wasn't until 1971 that I began to use fiber in my own work. Although I experimented with huge constructions of cotton duck and Dacron batting, it was the large spools of cord, so fascinating in my childhood, which made its way into my work. With my father's scissors, I cut lengths of cord, rope, mason line and cotton flex, painted and inserted them by the thousands into cotton duck, creating ten-foot wall hangings.

In my sculptures, painted rope is subjected to the tremendous stress of twisting, until it takes on a life of its own. No two works are exactly the same. The ropes are colored lines in space building up to a massive shape, coming alive in a way not much different from the dynamic writhing of vines in a garden.

Photography by D. James Dee