Finishing, mounting and presenting

11 July 2016

Which is a rather cryptic title for a blog post.

But what I mean by this is how you actually present your work.

So, most of what I do is two dimensional. Sometimes, but if I am honest rarely now, I produce a 'traditional' quilt with bound edges and a hanging sleeve (there is a whole piece to be done on hanging sleeves!) but more and more, and especially because I tend to use fragile papers, my work is intended to be framed and hung behind glass.

Which of course can make the whole thing a bit pricy!

Of course for special pieces I will shell out for a commissioned frame and mount.

However, more and more, and particularly for the smaller pieces that make up the bulk of the work that I sell, I start with commercially available frames and mounts.

My go to store for these items is The Range. There is one here in Milton Keynes and one in Gosport, my real home.  (If you are interested, I have just checked the website and they are all over the UK except Northern Ireland).  Their wooden frames are, in my opinion, pretty stylish.

I always keep a huge stock of their mounts in the studio, and now when I am making a smaller piece often have the mount in mind from the get go.

 The range of sizes is limited and the colours are cream and white, but for the most part that is what I want anyway (sometimes I will paint the lip of a double mount with acrylic for added interest).

Which reminds me, The Range is pretty good for artist materials too.  It's not a specialist store but I often prefer it to Hobby Craft if I need basic acrylic paints in a hurry.

They have also got (very) basic haberdashery but no where beats IKEA for calico on the roll.

And when I started these pieces, that was what I had in mind - mounts.

But then my lovely friend Rob commented that he thought that perhaps I could try a different way of mounting this little series - showing the edges.

Now his original idea was that I should show all the layers - these are, after all, technically mini quilts. But I had not started out this way so the felt and the calico backing were rough old scraps.  So, I bottled out.

I did however keep the edges of the organza and mounted the whole piece onto rag paper.

These are really experimental sketches for 'Transformation' - the exhibition I am participating in later in the year. But this has got me thinking.

What is your solution for presenting work?


  1. Thank you Hilary for this very interesting post, you've made me think about my own ventures into needlepainting and to plan ahead instead of just diving in on any size of paper or fabric. My first effort became a cushion cover only because it didn't fit any of the frames I have. Loving how we are inspiring each other!

    1. That's the wonder of the internet isn't it. You find like minded souls, sometimes even on different continents, and make a connection. I do think it is wonderful - and as you say, inspirational.

  2. It depends. I'm still experimenting some I guess. I don't feel I can afford to pay someone to mount and frame for me so I've read up on the basics so I don't make a hash of it - always concerned about archivalness and longevity. I've only done a few under glass. I think this suggestion to place the work on top of whatever is a good idea. I've seen it done and it adds a bit of interest and even mystery. I often use stabilized fabric as if it were mat board and place the artwork on top, attaching it with different kinds of stitching. But my work is predominantly textile. What works for me might not work as well for you.

    1. I know what you mean about the longevity and light is a real killer. But if my work is still around in 100 years I will be swinging from the clouds. So in all honesty I don't get too hung up about it.

      I think I need to get back to something more textile focused in the hanging. I enjoyed rehanging my two quilter Abcission 1 and Horisons- Al zahara recently and they are paper based.

      That said I've just done a very quick sketch for a quick exhibition in central Milton Keynes ( so quick I might not get a blog post done on it) and bottled out and shoved it into a very cheap IKEA frame - and I should have left it rough around the edges and raw, but didn't plan that fro the get go so felt it would work. But then the frame doesn't either.

      Still it's just a quick sketch and it will pass muster.

      Really I need to be focused on the next exhibition and rebuilding stock as I sold so much at Open Studios ( not complaining!!!)

    2. Just another thought on the longevity bit. I didn't think much about it when my pieces were just for me or gifts. But once I started taking money for them, my conscience got the better of me. I know I would be pretty upset if I bought something that fell apart or started to show signs of acidic damage and I've always wanted to present the best product I can manage to my customers, be they few and far between. ;-) I've also been influenced by the study I did on preserving antique quilts (back when I thought I might become an appraiser), and then the reading I've done about similar issues with other artwork. Finally, having exhibited with my local art assoc and working side by side to hang exhibits with a woman with decades of experience in the art world, I picked up bits of information about framing I had no idea about, but made sense to me, quite simple and inexpensive things different from what I was already doing that made a difference. And I learned the importance of ditching the cheap acid wreaking cardboard or chipboard backing included with inexpensive frames and replacing it with heavy watercolor paper, acid free matt board or foam board. You know me - I like a neat and tidy package and I can't get what I know about the damage non-acid free paper can do to artwork and textiles out of my head.

    3. Hmm - this is all important stuff I think Sheila. Maybe I am a bit too haphazard, though when I use cheap frames I usually use handmade paper backing. Maybe I should do more research.

  3. I find framing really tricky, I often just hang my pieces using mini bull dog clips, your work looks beautifully presented

    1. Actually, my friend Jane uses bull dog clips and it looks lovely.

      I often can only envisage mine in a frame. I should be a bit more adventurous.


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