Strands of yellow, black and purple thread have been stretched and twisted from hooks affixed to the walls and ceiling of the Diane Kidd Gallery of Art at Tiffin University. The massive installation by fiber artist Amie Adelman arched above and around the crowd attending the artist's reception Thursday evening.
Adelman lives and works in Texas, but she grew up in Norwalk and has family in Tiffin. Most of them, as well as her high school art teacher, attended the reception. She expressed appreciation for their support and thanked all who helped install the artwork.
"We were here four days. Saturday, we were here for 11 hours. My cousin and my uncle helped me, I had two gallery staff helping, and my husband was helping me. There's a good bit of time in there," she said.
After examining and measuring the space, she builds a much smaller "mockette" of each installation to get a sense of the construction process. She buys large cones of polyester sewing thread and fashions them into three-dimensional geometric patterns. She said most of her installations range from 30,000 to 50,000 yards. Currently, she has no permanent installations, but she said she would "be happy to put it in anybody's living room."
"I used to be a weaver, and a lot of the pieces behind you are influenced by weaving ... it's a process of measuring your yarn before you put it on a loom. I just took it a couple steps further," Adelman said.
She uses multiple values of one color and adds one or two contrasting colors for the 3-D works. Her two-dimensional, framed pieces may only use one color for thread and another for the background.
Adelman said she started working with thread at age 5 or 6 after watching her grandmother crochet. An aunt taught her how to spin her own yarn, but she did not continue that craft. Later she learned to embroider or "paint with thread." Embroidering also taught her how to change colors. Adelman said she often does machine sewing to create art but not to make garments or practical items.
To learn more about fiber art, Adelman has traveled to Africa, Europe and Central America. The College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, where she teaches, has awarded Adelman numerous grants to research designs, materials and techniques specific to certain countries.
"What's so wonderful about textiles is, every country, every culture has them. It's an overlooked aspect of our lives. We're all wearing textiles or in contact with textiles 98 percent of the time," Adelman observed.
Adelman's exhibition, "Twisted," is on display through Oct. 14. Regular hours at the Diane Kidd Gallery are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Appointments and group tours can be arranged by contacting Celinda Sherger, TU alumni director, at (419) 448-3313.