Do you have a little extra wall space just begging for something dramatic and different to display? Is there a forgotten fabric treasure packed away in an old truck, folded in tissue in a bottom drawer, or stored in a storage box?
An antique quilt, a coverlet, a Navaho saddle blanket, a flag from WWI all had descended through our family for generations. We wanted to get them out of the armoires and linen closets and use them for art in our home. We also felt that this would give our children a sense of history and appreciation for our family heritage. The idea is, our favorite family fabric artworks will be handed down for generations to come.
We soon found that we were faced with the problem of “how to hang them” on the wall. Our immediate find was that we weren’t the only ones looking for ways to hang precious clothes. When it came to the presentation of these artworks we found many improper, makeshift displays, all of which compromised the beauty and longevity of the piece.
According to a recent survey, there are more than 22 million quilts and textile/fabric art pieces made every year in the United States. There has been much popularity today surrounding the making and reserving of these new or vintage textiles. A poplar way of honoring these art pieces is by displaying them as an art piece in your home. We need a displaying system that is “fabric-friendly” and “worked like magic”!
There are many interesting and creative ways of displaying and preserving your fabric treasures. Old or new clothing, jewelry, hats, gloves, uniforms, quilts, tapestry, coverlets can transform easily into pieces of art. Precious fabric items of long ago – especially quilts, coverlets and tapestries – are recognized important cultural artifacts of social history.
They represent a visual record of the home owner’s experience with the physical, emotional, social and political passages of their life and the livers of their ancestors.
Storing your quilts and textiles safely is also important. Keep your pieces in clean, white cotton bags such as pillowcases, allowing the fibers to breathe. Folding the textiles may create ridges and uneven streaks that will ruin your precious cloths. Make sure your treasured textiles will survive the test of time and be available for future generations in the 21st century and beyond. Read this guide to learn more about how to clean old quilt.
Use the quilt to be cabinet ‘soft’ door
Decorating your home with fabric artwork is a wonderful way to warm up a room.
While installing the quilt to your cabinet, you will need to finish the inside channel (where the textile is displayed) just as you would the outside of the unit to protect the quilt (Read more of my tips here). You can paint the unit to match your walls or woodwork, you can stain and polyurathaine it or cover it in fabric…
Decorate a room around a themed quilt
Heirloom textiles that are descending through families encourage a sense of history and appreciation for family heritage. Sharing the maker’s history with children and grandchildren on their visits reinforces the value of tradition and rituals within families and enriches a child’s self esteem.
Make your quilt the theme of the room – A room that is beautifully decorated with favorite heirloom cloth pieces; a quilt, several christening dresses, a baby hat and booties …and Grandmothers’ wedding dress and beaded purse – how inspiring!
Mix the old quilt with modern elements
Combining old and new creates a room for relaxing and reflecting. The varying in lengths and width creates a wonderful collage effect.
Pay attention also to light source. Spotlights with adjustable angles gives a perfect presentation and focal point to any room. While installed in a bedroom the quilt spotlight can also act as a reading light /display combination for over a bed. For reference, the lights in this image are using Halogen bulbs, 40 watt, they reflect the light downward so the whole textile becomes illuminated.
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Display a quilt on a bedroom wall as headboard
Hang the quilt behind a bed makes an ideal headboard.
This setup also provides an ideal resolution for covering unattractive walls.
For displaying your precious cloths, you need proper air circulation in order for the fabric to breathe and remain mildew fee. It is recommended that the fabric hang one or more inches from the wall. Certainly don’t pierce the textile with foreign objects such as nails or thumb tacks or add glue tabs in order to display it. It is also wise to keep quilts away from direct sunlight. The top of the textile must be protected from an accumulation of dust and dirt.
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Decorate a bed with a quilt
Comfort is key to any well balanced bedroom.
Hanging fabric artwork can establish an intimate, cozy feel on a wall. However, avoiding damage or modification to the cloth fibers and the wall surface is a constant struggle for many consumers and designers. If you have that concern and cannot find a good hanging solution, then consider cover your bed with a quilt.
Use the quilt as room divider
Quilt makes a soft, elegant and interesting room divider!
Interior decorators and crafters have long struggled to find a way to display fabric artworks.
One decorating problem is hanging artwork made of cloth – quilt made by your grandmother, a small hanging you found at a craft show- and not destroying it in the process.
The trick is to hang cloth pieces so tension is absolutely even across the top. Quilters and fiber artists usually sew “sleeves” on the back of the item along the top and fit a rod through it.
Drape the quilt across tables
Decorating your dining home with fabric art is a wonderful way to warm up a room and enjoy your precious textile. If it is a table you use frequently then make sure you are not displaying a delicate old quilt, or you can frame the old quilt in shadowbox then put it at the center of the tables.
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Sprawl the quilt over couches
Because of the effort that goes into making quilts, you can never be too careful about how you display them. This is probably the best way to “treats the quilts gently”. Sprawl the quilt over spare couches or the back of a vintage chair, take the quilt away if someone needs to sit on it ( Or make it clear that couch/chair is for your quilt so no one will sit on it).
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