04 Mar

What’s That, A Pot Holder?

The smaller I work, the more desire I have to find ways to give the art the presence it deserves. I think quilts of all types look great as-is in lap or larger sizes. Doll quilts look great in context. But I find that many of my art quilts that are 24″x 24″ -ish or smaller just lack a “finished” look. The quilts for 12 x 12 have a sort of built in presence as they should always be displayed in groups, either by individual artist or as a group by theme. But what about all those other little pieces we make as tokens or experiments?

Creating the artwork for a specific frame is an option (scroll to the bottom of this post to see them hanging):

Many quilt/fiber artists are mounting their small works to matching sized painted canvas to give a nice depth and easy way to hang the art, or they are painting larger canvases to coordinate. I decided with my “Fairytale Forest” that since stretched canvas is just stretched fabric, then why not stretch my (dyed, stitched, beaded, and collaged) fabric directly onto stretcher bars as if it were the canvas.

This week, I finally hung some small art gifts from friends and noticed that they showcase a few more display options. Clockwise from the upper left:

Bird by Terry Grant. This one’s easy. 3-D art sits well on a shelf — even if that shelf is a shadow box. I used some museum tack to hold the little feet in place so it wouldn’t get knocked off with every breeze.

House Upon a Rock” by Deborah Boschert. This one is just a little larger than your typical fabric postcard. I bought an unprimed linen canvas and just stitched the art to it from the back in a few places. The natural linen complements so well the little pebble she’s sewn on below the house, and fits right in with the current decor aesthetic.

Art quilt by Esther Parkhurst. This one isn’t the actual piece, but a digital print of it sent to us as a holiday card by Esther’s husband and friend of my dad’s. Why not take a printed postcard, greeting card, calendar page, business card, or whatever with a favorite textile image and mat and frame it? Easy peasey lemon squeezey, as they say.

What If #9” by Jude Hill. Being nearly square, this one fit well into a square shadow box. I poked two holes in the mat where each corner of the artwork would be, and sewed it on from the back. I have one of my own pieces (Village Series #3) in a deep frame where I’ve sewn velcro to the back of the quilt and then glued the counterpart to the mat. I also have a Bundle by Sonji Hunt which arrived mounted to black foam core — perfect for popping into a shadow box (a great option for dimensional art which tends to collect a bit more dust).

It occurs to me that I also have another piece by Jude which I’ve sewn to a larger linen pillow cover (I’ll have to photograph that and share). I’m loving the decorative pillow as display venue because it’s not too far removed from the comfort of a quilt, which is, of course, the media of this art. Similarly, my mom has sewn a small bird quilt I commissioned for her from from Terry (similar to this one) to a pillow, which now resides in a place of honor on her upholstered window seat.

What do you do with your small quilt art?

9 thoughts on “What’s That, A Pot Holder?

  1. Lots of great ideas to think about. I’ve been keeping my small works in a box, but maybe framing them would give them the feel of art rather than just experiments.

  2. Do you cover the frame in glass? Some look like it, some not. I recently framed a small piece that I did in my first quilting class six years ago. And the frame maker wanted me to put it under glass which would have pressed it rather flat.

    On the other hand, I am worried about dust. And am wondering how more experienced quilters handle this.

  3. Such a lovely collection. I am so happy your enjoying the small piece I sent. All of these hanging options are excellent. Sometimes I’ve hung small pieces simply from a plastic ring on the back. If they are hung with other small pieces or in a small alcove or isolated place on the wall, I think they avoid pot holder status.

  4. In answer to Dorothee, and anyone else curious: Deborah’s piece sewn to the canvas is not under glass. Village Series #3 is not under glass because I was worried about glare — but, I think it would have been OK. The embroideries are not under glass because I really wanted to viewer to be able to see all the detail in the stitches. And yes, I wouldn’t want to squash anything. I think it ultimately comes down to personal preference, and how you want to experience the art. I am very happy with Jude’s piece and Sonji’s Bundle being under
    glass. They are very clean and because of the deep frames, not squashed at all.

  5. I haven’t made anything that needed framing – but my sister’s embroidery (cross stitch) is framed. two pieces are framed by a pro, the other one she framed herself.
    the pro didn’t use glass, but he did a wonderful job with the frame and the matte (<I mean that cardboard-thingie between the frame and the embroidery…). my sister just used a ready-made frame with glass on top, but I guess I will remove the glass from the frame. I love to see the embroidery (or the stitches/details as you say), and her work really is lovely.

    if I ever should sew something that would need framing I won’t use glass. I like to see and maybe touch what’s inside. but of course it’s a matter of taste.
    and I will ask you for advice before! 😉

  6. i am glad you did this post because i really need to do something with my small pieces as well as those from others. i love how yo have made them look so wonderful. i am inspired to do the same. thanks.

  7. what a lovely display! mine small pieces are languishing in a pile… unless they are on stretched canvas, then they get quickly hung on a wall with a push pin.. sad i know…

  8. What a wonderful collection of art beautifully displayed. I love how the pottery vase echos the colors above. I love your framed embroideries and your putting down roots series always delights me. Wishing you a great weekend. Cheers.

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