Bordering on Irony: The Dancing Bridge

I just finished a long blog discussion with Sheila Barnes, ponderings about whether or not to put a border one of her pieces. Of course I had notions, which I expressed forthrightly (some might say rudely). And Sheila had opinions, also, but she’s much more polite in her expression of them.

The irony is, after I got through writing and reading about Sheila’s borders and had put that aside in my mind, I picked up my Dancing Interstate Bridge piece (the title changes every time I work on it), and suddenly realized it needed a border.

I seldom do borders in my textile pieces. I can’t remember the last time I did borders. My imagery always  feels like it goes on and on and doesn’t stop, so I let it go, no borders, no visible binding. The technical term for turning a textile piece to the back without putting a binding or border on it is “facing” . Most of my textile pieces, like my paintings without frames, are “faced” — not framed.

But in not doing borders for all these years, I had forgotten the wretched state of making decisions about them — what color, whether pattern, what pattern, what width, all four sides or something less? Decisions, decisions. I almost emailed Sheila, but thought she might throw something all the way from Idaho at me.

So, here’s the state of my space while I am decision making:

Messier than ever.

And here’s the current decision, with border:

This is as yet unsewn. It’s one of my paintings, photographed and sized in Photoshop, printed on silk and twiddled with with paint and marker — and with these borders pinned to it, awaiting judgment.

And here’s another interesting, at least to me, comparison — the (pinned) bordered textile photographed next to the original painting. You can see the difference in the way the silk takes the printer pigment vs the oil paint on canvas. And the textile is larger (24 inches wide versus 18 inches) because of the exhibit specifications. But the putative border also changes things.

I’m not deciding tonight (I’m writing this Friday evening to be posted early Saturday) about the border; it’s always wise to let such indecision wait until after a good night’s sleep. But it will be fun to put the finished pieces side by side, the textured textile and the rich oil paint, when I’m finished and photograph each properly.

If I decide to use borders on this piece and then change my mind, they can always be removed, at the mere cost of my sanity. That’s why I’m taking the night to ponder the question. –June

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5 Responses to Bordering on Irony: The Dancing Bridge

  1. Barbara says:

    Ah to border or not to border. The quilter fighting with the fiber artist. With the quilter and the fiber artist being one. It is always a delemia.


  2. june says:

    Actually, although the photo doesn’t show it, the border piece has some color — a bit of orange, thrown in with the green (I deleted the detail photo that actually showed that because I got lazy). I took Terry’s advice and made the top border smaller.

    But no piping, oh no, been there, done that, life’s too short. If it still feels too heavy after I’ve sewn everything down, I’ll probably go in with a bit of paint. Nothing like laying paint over the top of quilted pieces to change the feel of whole. Of course, it’s dangerous, but then, so piping. And painting is at least easy to accomplish, even if piping is easier to remove.

    The idea for the border actually came from the next piece I’m going to tackle (while I’m waiting for my postal delivery). It needs to be bigger and it dawned on me that Portland, while part of diverse Oregon, is surrounded by the other Oregon, the green part.


  3. Sheila says:

    Well, the border/binding queen is not sure. Talk about throwing things, I’m sure if I suggested a tiny bit of orange piping between the border and the painted piece, you’d give it a try – I’m ducking! Actually, the border feels like too much to me – too wide, too dark, too something. You almost need to shade it – the top darker on the left and shading lighter towards the right, vise versa on the bottom. If it were mine, I would try a black 1/2″ binding with that piping.

    I did chuckle at the irony and you have seized upon one of my points I’ll be bringing up in the follow-up post. I DO think what we are used to looking at effects what we do on the next piece of art or suggest someone else might do.


  4. gerrie says:

    No borders!! It loses its vibrancy. Feels to contained. How about the blue of the sky as a setting? I have a piece that will not be big enough, I think. I am doing two pieces at once. I am not sure how to resolve it.


  5. Terry Grant says:

    I do rather like your top and bottom borders and how they actually emphasize that “under the bridge” feeling. Also like that the horizontal swoops are still allowed to fly out the sides. There does seem something just a little heavy about the top border. Maybe try a shade lighter on top? Or even maybe no border on top, but keep the bottom border? (That might not work at all–I’d have to see it, but something to try?)


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