[Note: This post also appears on my personal blog, southeast main. Jay has persuaded me to cross-post as an efficiency matter. I find it changes my thinking to do it this way, which is a different, but also interesting, topic. Hi all — I’m glad to be back.]

I’m thinking about edges. I have a theory — or rather a “notion,” (which is a theory that is so diffuse it has no edges) — but anyway…..

My theory is that a lot of textile art maintains its textilishness via its edges. And this is in spite of the hand-dyed fabrics, surface design with fuzzy results, sheer fabrics, and other fuzzying techniques of contemporary textile artists. The edges of quilted art are often delineated by the quilting ; sometimes they are even more clearly portrayed with zigzag applique. Applique by itself lends itself to clean edges, as do commercial fabrics. Piecing fabric together gives a seam line, which makes an edge, even when the fabrics are close in color and value.

The clarity of edges in textiles tends to pull the textile toward something I think of as “good design” such as can be seen in magazine ads and hard-edged abstract art. This clarity has a certain appeal –it’s clean, not mushy, not sentimental. Clarity has a sureness of feel about it (which is probably why it’s so popular in advertisements). It’s also good for a certain kind of whimsicality, of child-like sensibility. The “faux representational” look in textile art often derives from its clear, often hard, edges.

Arabesque, 40″ x 40″, hand-dyed cottons and silk hanks, appliqued and machine quilted

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