This is not political and not about our southern borders. Rather it’s about the dratted decision-making that’s had me swatting mental flies this last week. Sheila and I had a bunch of conversations, in which others, including Terry Grant, chimed in. Sheila saw her own fine reason for including a border on her piece, which Terry and I initially thought should be left off.
Then I was faced with the same problem. But my dilemma was not Sheila’s, which was whether to have the image fly off into space or to contain it, forcing the viewer’s eye to move into the center of the image. She chose the center; Terry and I thought flying off was good. Both would have worked, but Sheila’s artistic voice won — as it should have.
With my piece, the question was partly one of containment, but had the additional problem of being a computerized silk print of a painting that I had done. My paintings are, to put it gently, “loose.” Quilting tends, even at its most loose, to be tight. Borders tighten it further. I was working with the original painting on the wall where I was pinning the fabric version, which factored in uneasy ways I’m still pondering.
I took photos of the piece after I finished quilting the center, but hadn’t yet put on the borders:
(Forgive the bad photos; they were taken in order to facilitate the decision, not to win any photo contests.)
I was torn; Jer advised no borders, but after much circling, I decided to go with the borders, making the top one smaller as Terry had suggested earlier in the process. But when I finished, I wasn’t totally happy with the decision. The borders were too harsh, too hard, too defined against the moosh (“looseness:) of the painting.
So I used another trick Terry Grant taught me — I softened the hard edge with shading:
I also pulled the stitching down into the borders, extending the piece beyond its original edge.
I think I’m onto something here, although this may be a bit cruder than I would have liked. (It’s also hard to photograph, because the acrylic medium that sets the softening pigment photographs differently than fabric). What I am trying to figure out is how to pull painting and quilted pieces together — my paintings, that is, since other folks have managed to do so without so much fuss. I was rather pleased to go back to a bit of traditional quilted formatting (ie the borders), but the graphic look that pieced quilts often have wasn’t right for the painting.
So, if this is wonky, it sticks to the Underwood wonky tradition — obviously the Fremont Bridge doesn’t look quite like this, although when you are painting under it, it sort of feels like this. The borders add to that slightly out-of-whack sensation. We’ll see if this continues through other paintings that I might turn into fabric. –June
Addenda: I was thinking of changing the title of this to “Fool’s Gold” but Jer thinks it’s too trite. Anybody have an opinion — “Dancing Interstate?” “Fool’s Gold?” “The Fremont Bridge at NW 16th?” “The Fremont Bridge Addresses the Land?”