3 Easy Ways to Hang Your Quilt in a Fine Art Environment
by Kristin Beck
Quilters love to share their quilts. For most, this means sharing as gifts or at show and tells in a guild setting. For some, it means exhibiting.
Exhibiting your work can be a fantastic experience for you as a maker. You’re able to reach a wider audience, gain feedback on your pieces, and in some cases, awards, ribbons, and sales.
Preparing Quilts to Exhibit
Typically in a quilt show the trusty sleeve is used and stitched on the back at the top. Pipe and drape walls are erected in an exhibition hall and the pipes slide through this sleeve.
However, opportunities arise for your quilt to exhibit in gallery spaces or fine art environments. In these situations, there are no pipes. There are either walls, which nails are hammered through to hang work, or there are hanging systems in place. With the hanging systems, a clip with a hook is used, which alleviates holes in the wall. Your piece needs to be wired for hanging like you see on a frame or canvas so it can easily hang on this clip.
How to Wire the Quilt for Hanging
How do you hang a quilt then? You go beyond the sleeve. There are three methods you can use to get the quilt ready to hang and all three employ a wooden dowel. The dowel, like the pipe, allows for the quilt to drape with the benefit of rigidity at its top. You can keep the sleeve or sew on two corner pockets. Or all three if you’d like to be ultra prepared.
1. Sleeve option 1
Sew sleeve as normal, with the sleeve shorter than width of back by at least 3/4” on either side. A wooden dowel is inserted into the sleeve just as it would with the pipe and drape. Two screw eyes are added to either end of the dowel and then one piece of hanging wire is placed through each eye (one side, then the other) and wrapped to secure.
2. Sleeve option 2
Sew sleeve as normal and in the center of the sleeve, cut a hole that is half an inch (like a button hole). A wooden dowel is inserted into the sleeve, like above. A hook is fashioned out of hanging wire and attached to the dowel through the prepared hole.
3. Corner pocket option
Take two squares of fabric and fold in half to make two triangles. Place each triangle in the left and right hand corners of the top of your quilt and sew into place. (You can also do this when you are binding the quilt.) Place one of end of dowel in left corner pocket and the other in the right. Fashion a hook out of hanging wire as you did in second sleeve option.
With these three steps, you can prepare your quilts for hanging in different environments. Every show, either quilt or fine art, will describe how the pieces should be prepared for intake. The best practice is to prepare your work to these specifications. Don’t pout about it or get lazy, just do it! After piecing, sewing, and quilting, this is a relatively small task to perform. Plus, you want to make it easy for the exhibition staff to hang your work.
Affix a label. Every artist should sign her or his work.
Take great photos. These are used for entering shows, social media and online galleries, and your archive.
Use a lint brush. Keeping your quilts lint and pet hair free is good for everyone involved.
Ready to exhibit?
Great! The next exhibit for South Florida Modern Quilt Guild members is called Marvelous Modern Minis for November / December 2019, in the Upstairs Gallery at the Coconut Creek Community Center. This space has a hanging system, which means the mini quilts should be wired for hanging. Don’t worry. You’ve got this!
Happy hanging! See you at the show.