Hooking up the Network: The Art of Amy Long
By Linda Permann
When fiber artist Amy Long first began crocheting in 2005, she felt a familiar anticipation and racing in her heart. “It felt like love,” she says, “and I just flipped for it.”
Long picked up the craft in a fiber arts class as part of her Master’s degree program at Arizona State University. “Crochet just made sense to me really quickly because of the way you can build onto it one stitch at a time and add onto it wherever you want,” says Long.
Her early work consisted of anatomical hearts that later became abstract, and Long further simplified them into her current pieces: intricate networks of felted crochet tubes and organic shapes with a central core. The modular nature of crochet makes it possible for Long to make forms that look as though they’ve created themselves, with randomly placed stitches, almost tumor-like phalanges, and imperfect lacy tears. She felts each piece to remove her “hand” so that the viewer can focus on the form. Working intuitively without relying on patterns for consistency, she makes each part similar, but with small, distinct differences.
Long’s work speaks to interconnectedness and the human body and how, like crochet stitches, we are so many parts looped together. In her work, tubes represent communication and interaction, the transportation of information. Groupings of similar shapes inspire the viewer to wonder about each form’s relationship to the surrounding forms. Long hopes that people will extend these thoughts to their own lives and consider how their actions affect the world around them.
Heaviness aside, her art is seductive in both color and feel (and yes, if you ask, she’ll let you touch it). Viewing it tends to make people happy, and they often leave filled with a sense of whimsy. Says Long, “I used to think that good art had to be controversial, but I’m over that, because there are enough bad things in the world. I love to see both kids and adults looking at the work with their mouths hanging open in awe and wonder … they’ve forgotten about all of the crap in their day-to-day lives.”
Interview with Amy Long
Amy Long’s MFA thesis show images
Amy Long’s Felted Hearts