There is an interesting difference of opinion between those of us who create textile and fiber art when it comes to presenting our work. On one side we have artists like Moy Mackay who mat, frame, and put their fiber art behind glass for presenting the final piece. Then there are artists like Jan Waller, who presents her felt paintings mounted on canvas, but unrestrained by frame or glass.
(photo of Moy Mackay felt painting from my home)
(photo of Jan Waller paintings from Seasons on St. Croix gallery)
Again, the question is to frame or not to frame. Part of the answer lies in the end process of the felting and part of the answer is the artists personal choice.
I have had the great privilege of taking workshops with both of these artists, and process is greatly at work for their choices: Jan creates her work by fully felting the pieces before determining they are finished to her liking, while Moy prefers to just lightly felt her work so that the textures she creates with the small pieces of silks and other non-felting fibers is still very evident, and doing so means the piece is more delicate and needs the protection of the glass. Because, in part, of their choices in process, they’ve made their choices in presentation.
I don’t believe that either of them is wrong. And I love both of these artists for their abilities to capture beauty in the form of wool and other fibers.
For myself, part of the allure of felt art and fiber art in general is the ability to not only see the fibers but also the ability to touch the finished pieces. Fiber art, for me, captures all of my senses, while working and in the finished pieces. And, again for me, feeling the fibers adds a layer of experience in the art that you don’t get from a framed piece behind glass.
So as you create your own fiber art, keep in mind the process you choose and how firmly you felt the piece will have an impact on how you present your art to the world.