“The painting isn’t finished until you label the slides,” said Gay Fay Kelly, a painter and my former business partner about 20 years ago. Artists sent slides when they entered their work in juried shows or contacted potential buyers or galleries.
In this digital age, we don’t send slides much anymore, thank goodness! So after the last decorative stitch of a wall hanging is embroidered and the last button sewn in place, when is it REALLY finished?
First, at the back of the work, I attach a 4-inch hanging sleeve. To hang the quilt, you slide a rod through the sleeve, which puts a layer of fabric between the rod and the quilt itself.
At home, I attach wire or monofilament to the ends of the rod and hang the whole assembly from a nail. If you use a wooden rod, you can install screw-eyes to the ends and hang the piece with nails through the eyelets.
I often machine-stitch the title of the work, a copyright date, and a by-line into the quilt’s backing fabric. Mama Lion’s backing fabric was too colorful and busy for successful sewn-in information, so I attached a small hand-written label. Some of my quilting friends make beautiful labels. So far, mine are plain.
My brother Van turned me on to American Textile Recycling (atrscorp.com), so now I save all fabric scraps and trimmed yarn ends for recycling. Our family has recycled for ages, and so I was glad to find a place to take old linens, clothing, shoes, and fabric scraps.
Now, part of my personal finishing routine is gathering the scraps, yarn bands, and empty plastic thread spools and other containers, and delivering them to their respective recycling sites.
Finally, it’s picture time. The west side of the house usually has bright shade that is perfect for photography. At the moment, this is my photo studio–can you see the tripod at the left? I’m working on a better way to hang the quilts. A ladder isn’t really the best.
Today’s equivalent of labeling the slides is cropping the digital photos and saving them in various formats and resolutions for print and web-sharing. When that is done, the wall hanging is truly finished.