Arose / Arrow

linen, unbleached linen and wool

Yesterday I delivered this tapestry to its new home! It is the result of months of discussing, designing and weaving, and
I have been reflecting on the final stages of my process, and the point at which I hand over a work to someone else.

Back in art school I read a particularly impenetrable essay by Benjamin Buchloh on one of my favourite artists, Gabriel Orozco.
In it, he talks about our relationship to objects in the 20th and 21st centuries. This quote stood out to me:

“Objects were now defined as utterly ephemeral, merely performing their temporary assignment to generate exchange value. As their lifespan became increasingly controlled by the newly invented temporality of planned obsolescence, all objects and materials were rapidly transformed into a deluge of detritus.”
- Benjamin Buchloh

I think often about the “deluge of detritus”- the sheer mass of objects that we have cluttering up our lives. Although my work is the furthest thing from mass-produced and disposable, I feel a responsibility to make sure that when I put something out into the world, it is going to last. The process of finishing and framing a tapestry properly is very long, slow, arduous and frequently boring. It is definitely not one of my favourite parts of my job, but I am learning to embrace it. It is a chance for me to be purposeful, to take responsibility, to say goodbye knowing that I have done my work well.

On to the practical stuff! I am very far from an expert and still learning and tweaking my process all the time,
but when it comes to tapestry framing, here is what I do.

1 - I took the tapestry off the loom, braiding the loose warp ends as I did so.
Bulldog clips are your friend here!

2 - I wove in all the ends- I prefer to do this once the piece is taken off the loom, as it's easier to get the needle through the weft (and you can do it while watching TV)

3 - I chose my board and backing. Here I used white linen and Daler Rowney mount-board. I would recommend choosing a backing that complements the colours and materials of your tapestry. In this case, the backing matched the white linen weft I had used. You should also choose a sturdy material- I used two layers of linen to be on the safe side.

4 - I stitched the loose warp ends onto the back of the tapestry, using a technique very similar to hemstitching.

5 - I positioned the tapestry onto the backing, pinned it in place, and then sewed the tapestry onto the backing
along the top and bottom.

6 - I positioned the linen and tapestry on the mount-board and fixed it in place using bulldog clips and clothes pegs.

7 - I used Copydex glue to stick the linen onto the back of the mount-board, starting with the top, then the bottom, then either side. I made sure the linen was stretched tightly and evenly as I did so. Copydex is ideal for fabric, although bear in mind it does not dry clear and will show through lighter material.

8 - As a final touch I glued a large sheet of paper over the back of mountboard, covering the edges of the linen, and covered the edges of the paper using brown paper tape.

The tapestry is now ready to be framed! At this stage, you can take it to a framers and have them frame it for you. I personally prefer to frame my pieces myself as that way I can be certain that there are no loose ends or bits of lint left anywhere. Framing is the point where my inner perfectionist really has a chance to shine and/or make my life a misery.

For this piece I ordered an oak box frame from Picture Frames Express. These guys are brilliant and very reasonably priced- if you're UK-based I highly recommend them! They got my frame made up for me and delivered in the space of 4 days.

And here we have it, the finished piece! Shortly after taking this photo I wrapped it up and traveled north across London to the home of its new owner. As always its hard to part with a weaving you've spent so many hours on, but I will be back to visit!

posted 18th August 2016

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