It can be challenging to hang textiles in a way that is unobtrusive, conforms to conservation standards and is easy for the typical gallery customer to install when they take the artwork home. This week I tried many different methods before coming up with this simple and very satisfactory solution for hanging a series of 9x20-inch pieces. I cut a tab out of machine felt (100% wool) and hand-stitched it high on the piece using wool thread. I also put a small grommet in the tab for aesthetic reasons and to protect the hole's die cut edges — this was a small but acceptable compromise, in my opinion. Conservationists work hard not to compromise the integrity of museum-quality textiles when making display decisions — but it seems there is always some threat to integrity involved. The same applies with the work I did on my pieces where I picked up a small amount of the felted work with every stitch being careful not to allow the needle to pierce through to the front of the artwork. By making several blanket stitches around the tab, the tension was dispersed and any potential damage from gravity over time greatly minimized. Felt is also less negatively affected by needle pricks than are threads of woven fabrics. Overall, I was pleased with the hanging "hardware's" minimal impact on the artwork and, perhaps more importantly, the way the artwork lies flush with the wall.
This winter I am developing an exhibit which addresses immigration issues, oppression and silencing, borders and arbitrary boundaries, migration routes, and allowing and trusting in natural processes. This most recent piece is an 18" x 10" sculpture which will eventually be erected via wire or starch and finished with embroidered lettering on the back side. I'm carding all the wool fibers by hand in order to blend the roving and yield very subtle color shifts. More to come :)
Kim Buchheit is a designer and artist with over 25 years experience in the creative field. Her felted handiwork can be purchased here. Kim also operates her own design business, which includes a custom prints and patterns service.