ANTIQUE CHINESE SILKS
The intricacies of custom framing and the steps of artisanship taken to ensure the best design and safety of a piece, always amaze me. Today’s project feature showcases our talented team and the art of framing. Two things I love to write about!
Antiques and delicate items often come to our shoppes. Each piece has a story, specific needs and a desire to be salvaged. All of this must be considered as we work on a custom design with our clients.
These fragile antique Chinese silk needleworks needed our help. One piece was a panel and the other a stole that would have been worn around the neck. The material for both had dry rot and moth eaten spots, and the stole required additional repair and re-attachment of the metallic thread on the leaf border. These factors determine how we tackle a project.
Deciding that we had to sew these amazing and frail pieces to mat boards with fine thread, our Framin’ Maven cut complementary colors of conservation mat boards to size and then planned the layout.
“Once I decide on the best place to do the stitches, I draw a faint pencil mark as a guide, and then punch my holes along this line using my fine needle awl.”
Heather knows that a custom framer must understand textures and colors when determining even thread choice. She sewed the pieces to the mats with near invisible stitches using thread that matched the items instead of using “invisible” thread, as it would have been too shiny for this project.
Laying out a design takes consideration. We have to look at the whole project, understand the materials, maintain the integrity of the piece and help convey our client’s story. As a custom framer we can ‘mask’ parts of a piece that a client might rather not include in a display. In this case, though, our client felt that the stole’s wear and tear contribute to the history and wonder of the item and will be admired as it gets passed down through the family.
We chose a beautiful silver molding from Larson Juhl to handcraft the frame for the panel and a more antique-finished molding from Fotiou for the stole. Both of these precious works use conservation glass floated up to protect them for many years and generations to enjoy.
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