Roughness reflects an artistic intention. Without the intention, roughness will be airbrushed away and replaced with something lacking in depth.
The stunning work of quilters such as Mary Lee Bendolph stems in part from her operating within constraints—what materials are available—but much more from her artistic choices.
For instance, she surely has the skills to make her quilts perfectly rectilinear, but doing so would deprive these quilts of their magic, which relies on what architect Christopher Alexander might term their roughness.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Alexander believes that . . .
“Things which have real life always have a certain ease, a morphological roughness. This is not an accidental property.”
“The seemingly rough arrangement is more precise because it comes from a much more careful guarding of the essential centers of the design.”
Christopher Alexander, Book One, The Nature of Order, p. 210, 211
One of Bendolph’s artistic strengths is her valorization of roughness. She intends it and understands its necessity. Craftspeople, painters, writers, music producers, and filmmakers might learn from her work if they wish to produce work of similar depth, so overflowing with life.
Thank you for reading.