ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Importance of Good Presentation

Since I make fairly large quilts, I don't often frame or mount them. In fact, until recently I was a bit of a hold-out on the whole framing and mounting issue. Quilts are textiles after all, I said, so why do they have to conform to the same standards as paintings in order to be considered art? Do sculptors frame their work? No! The first time I walked into a gallery show of art quilts in the US I felt as though I had come home! Many of these shows, in fact, do not even accept framed work!
Over the last several years, however, I have come to realize the importance of an appropriate frame or mount for small works. This gives them presence and ensures that no one mistakes them for potholders. This past week was surely a lesson for me on the importance of a good framing job. Since I prefer to work large, I sometimes don't take my small works seriously, but when my friend Meredith Filshie saw "Meditation", the small work pictured above, she wanted to own it. A deal was made and the work became hers. Recently my local fibre arts group, Out of the Box, hung a small show during the show of the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild. I was scrambling about with teaching and deadlines and didn't really have any new small pieces to contribute. Meredith offered to submit the work she had purchased. While I had put the work in a small cheap frame, Meredith saw that there was greater potential. She took the piece to a professional framer and that changed everything. My little piece "Meditation" won Viewer's Choice in our show (meaning it received more votes from viewers than any other piece in the show). I think half the prize goes to Meredith for realizing the importance of a good framing job and making it happen.


  1. After one trip to a professional framer, I realized that I had to learn how to do it myself. So I did. The problem then becomes where to store them until the next show. Frames take up a lot of room if you have a lot of smaller work.

  2. I frame (have professionally framed) quite a few of my pieces to give them a finished, more important presence. As you said, this keeps them from being mistaken for potholders! I think it is safe to say I frame everything smaller than about 11 x 14.


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