The Care and Feeding of Textile Work
This is taken from an enclosure I’ve developed to include with purchases of my works. I have several slightly different versions, depending on the type of work involved. This is the one aimed at caring for unframed wall hangings.
Art quilts, by their very nature, are not intended for heavy use as bed coverings or as blankets under which to snuggle.
They should ideally be hung on rods inserted through the hanging sleeve or sleeves (if more than one sleeve is provided, use more than one support).
Textile pieces (or any art work, for that matter) should not be hung in direct sunlight. Sunlight will cause fabrics to fade and eventually deteriorate.
Dirt will also destroy the fibres. Art quilts should NOT be washed in a washing machine or dried in the drier.
To clean an art quilt, the best option is to contact a specialist in textiles and conservation. Usually local museums have the names of such people.
If you still wish to clean the quilt yourself, the best method is to remove the dust through suction:
- using two layers of fine screen and a device used for vacuuming out sewing machines
- lay the quilt flat
- lay the two layers of screen over the quilt
- attach the vacuum attachment to the vacuum
- vacuum the quilt through the screen
For stains or additional cleaning, contact a professional conservator or a dry cleaner who specialises in textile preservation.
To store a flexible piece when not in use, roll it, making sure it faces out (this keeps the wrinkles on the back). Secure gently with cloth ties. Store in a cloth bag. Keep in a dry, dark, dust-free location. Check periodically to ensure that it is free from dust, and mould.
Stiffer pieces should be stored flat, in a cloth bag.
May you enjoy your textile art for many, many years to come!
For more information on displaying and hanging textile works, try visiting this marvelous page, written by conservator Marla Mallett.