My finished pieces are usually framed behind glass. This protects them from moisture, dust and handling. This is because my method doesn’t create strong ‘felt’ as you would see in wearable items or felt hangings, but rather I leave the fibres a bit looser where required. I find that leaves more texture and depth and is more effective for a picture but it does mean they need to be framed rather than left open.
Framing is pretty standard, similar to framing a print or art on paper. The only difference is the frame needs to be deep enough to accomodate the depth of the piece and the fibre should not be pressed against the glass. The depth of the finished fibre piece is usually around 5mm but can vary. Your framer should have plenty of standard options for frames that are deep enough.
Open or Closed
The piece is attached to a backing mount (matt) with tiny plastic tags (similar to the tags you see on clothes labels) and then framed as normal. You can choose if you want to leave the edges visible and use a framing slip (this keeps the fibre away from the glass) or include a window mount in front of the piece for straight edges. I have used both methods depending on the piece and the client’s preference.
It is worth spending the time getting the right frame for your piece. The frame not only protects the work but the right frame can complement the piece and bring out the colours and textures.
Framing does not have to be expensive. My experience has taught me that off-the-shelf ‘High Street’ frames do not last beyond a year or two. Yes, they’re usually as cheap as £5-£15 but there is a reason for that. The corners tend to splay apart after a while and the paint easily chips and dents. Bespoke framing can be an affordable option if you find a good bespoke framer who can suggest options for your budget.
If you use a High Street framing shop ask if you can meet and talk to the framer about your needs. Many of these shops are chains, so the framers isn’t in store and the staff aren’t always as knowledgeable or motivated to suggest cost effective options. I’d also suggest asking the artist to advise you on framing choices beforehand as well as asking the shop to give you options according to your budget. The artist should have an idea of reasonable framing budget from their experience of framing their work.
If you’re local to me in UK (Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire) I recommend using Kate Herbert at Well Hung Framing in Watchfield https://wellhungframing.co/ . She frames all my gallery work and taught me most of what I’ve talked about above!
If you’re considering commissioning a fibre piece, note that I price these unframed to keep the price down and can arrange framing at cost if you’re local. Guide prices are on my website www.fifteen2.co.uk under shop/commissions.
If you’re further away I ship the unframed piece either flat (mounted) or rolled, depending on size, ready for it to be framed by your local framer. This saves shipping heavy and fragile frames and leaves you the choice of framing style.
Hope that helps!