Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Floating Lessons

Sometimes the only way I learn things is the hard way.  That's been my experience as my art quilts transition into a gallery environment, where presentation standards are different, and new to me.  My latest adventure is with the floating frame.  You might say I needed floating lessons.

Two respected sources affiliated with two Connecticut art galleries have suggested that I present my work differently by using something called a floating frame.  I'd never heard of a floating frame, but the folks at Jerry's Artarama showed me a couple of kinds.  I think I found what the ladies had in mind.  So I took one of my seascapes, which had been mounted on stretcher bars covered with burlap which had been handpainted blue (to give it a weatherbeaten nautical effect), took it off the burlap, and mounted it in a floating frame.  Here are before and after shots:

Eastham Low Tide, mounted on handpainted burlap fastened to stretcher bars.

The woman at the gallery where I presented this piece had a visceral aversion to the burlap and said that it wouldn't be acceptable in her gallery.  Who knew?  Well, I do, now.

So I took the burlap off the stretcher bars, took the piece off the burlap, and took the binding off the piece. Once I had it down to  its unbound self, I straightened the edges and sewed borders of black canvas on the horizontal and then the vertical sides.  The canvas border was then fastened around a purchased canvas and the whole encased in a floater frame.  Thus:

What do you think of this?  I think it's lost some of its quiltiness--it's touchable texture--but gained in painterliness.

The next one, Low Tide First Encounter Beach II,  was juried into a show at a Connecticut gallery in the summer of 2016, but when the gallery manager saw it, she sent me back to the drawing board, pointing out that the natural-color canvas on which the piece was mounted was dirty, and that the binding around parts of the quilt was crooked.

I took it off the canvas, took the binding off it, straightened the edges, added borders of black canvas around the edges, and mounted it in a floater frame.

What do you think?  Has the presentation improved?  You would have had to see it in person, I suppose, to appreciate the difference, but I understand what the gallery manager was saying, and I think it's an improvement.  

But I'd be happy to hear from my quilting friends out there about this procedure as applied to your own work.