Caring for Your Art

I want you to have a long, happy life with your art.
Here’s how to treat it right.

Keep your print away from direct sunlight (which will bleach it), and humidity (which can damage it). Don’t keep your prized paper art in the bathroom.

For best archival results, frame the print with a mat, using archival mounting tape. Your friendly local art store can sell you some. If you place the print directly against glass in a frame, over time the ink on the print can adhere to the glass, leaving some of it on the glass (and not on the paper) when the two are separated.

Acrylic paintings are pretty durable, and water resistant, although not water proof. Keep them away from direct sunlight and humidity. Paintings on canvas aren’t as much of a humidity wimp as paper, but it can still damage them.

Don’t rest anything on or against the painting. Acrylic paint is very, very sticky and will grab onto paper/ink/paint with a vengeance and refuse to let go. Wrapping a painting in plastic (cling wrap) before packing it is the best way to go. You don’t want to play with that fire; you won’t win!

Don’t lean or rest the canvas part of the painting on anything. Always make sure all pressure is on the stretcher bars, because the canvas will distort and keep the shape of corners it’s laid against. You don’t want it to poke out randomly in the middle, unless you like that for some reason.

To clean acrylic paintings on canvas, use a dry, clean duster to remove any dust. Do not use dust spray or anything that could deposit something onto the painting. If you must spot clean a part of the canvas, rub it gently with a clean cloth (soft jersey like an old t-shirt is best) with a small amount of cold water on it. If needed, a little bit of clear-colored soap can be used, just be sure to gently remove the soap with the wet cloth so it doesn’t remain on the canvas. Lightly pat the canvas where you have washed with a dry clean cloth it to dry it. Remember it will want to grab onto the fabric, so you have to be gentle.

Acrylic paint is pretty durable, and water resistant, although not water proof. Keep it away from direct sunlight and humidity. Keep in mind that wood panels have the same sensitivity to water and humidity that wood does.

Don’t put anything against the painting. Acrylic paint is very, very sticky and will grab onto paper/ink/paint with a vengeance and refuse to let go. Wrapping a wood panel painting in plastic (cling wrap) before packing it is the best way to go. You don’t want to play with that fire; you won’t win!

I like to hang my wood panels with two nails in the wall, which lets them be flush against the wall and is secure and easy to hang. A jagged tooth hanger can be added to the back if you have your heart set on it, just make sure you set the painting on saran wrap on a flat surface to protect the front of the painting while you add it.

If you need to clean an acrylic painting on wood panel, use a clean duster to dust the painting. Do not use any dusting sprays. If you need to remove dirt from the painting, you can use a wet cloth (preferably soft jersey, like an old t-shirt) to remove dirt from an area. Remember you are applying water to wood, which is not great for the wood. Work gently on a small spot, using only as much water as is necessary. Immediately dry the area once cleaned with the dry part of the cloth.

Keep your paper artwork away from direct sunlight (which will bleach it), and humidity (which will damage it). Never keep it in the bathroom.

For best archival results, frame the art with a mat, using archival mounting tape. Your friendly local art store can sell you some. Handle the paper very carefully, as you can easily put a little accidental fold into the paper, and that damages the art. Never place the art directly against glass in a frame, as it will damage the artwork.

If you have the piece professionally framed, I suggest going to an art gallery/store, rather than an arts and crafts store. It will cost more, but they are a lot less likely to damage the art while working with it.

Keep your fiber artwork away from direct sunlight (which will bleach it), and humidity (which will damage it). Never keep it in the bathroom.

If the fiber art is small enough to fit in a shadow box, that is the ideal way to frame it. Smashing it into a flat frame will lose a lot of what makes it special, and will damage the art.

Use short dressmaker pins (with the tiny metal head) to gently pin the piece down to the shadowbox inside backing. Use only as many pins as are necessary to properly hold it in place on all sides, angling the pins so they fully go into the backing. Do not stretch the fabric tight, just gently pin it down while properly spread out. Because the metal heads are tiny, you may not notice them at all when you looked at the framed art.

The best way to clean a fiber piece is usually to shake it gently upside down to remove the dust. If you cannot get the dust out of fissures that way, use a clean duster, and do not use any dusting spray.

If you need to spot clean any small fiber artworks I have created and want to make sure you’re doing it right, feel free to contact me with information on what piece you have and what types of fiber it is, and I’ll be happy to let you know the best way to clean your art. It also helps to know which series it’s a part of. It’s always better to make sure you know what you’re doing before you start. You can’t go back and change what you’ve done if you have damaged the art.

Keep your fiber artwork away from direct sunlight (which will bleach it), and humidity (which will damage it). Never keep it in the bathroom.

Large fiber art may be affixed to a wall using aluminum push pins, or, if there is a sleeve, a rod, or a curtain rod. Depending on the piece, it may be meant to be steamed to remove the wrinkles prior to installation (I will say so in the product description if that is the case). At the end of the day, it’s your piece to display how you want. If you want it to have wrinkles, you can choose to not steam it.

Depending on its size, you may be able to clean the piece by gently shaking it upside down. You can also use a clean duster without any spray to remove the dust on your artwork. Putting the art in the washing machine is not advised; at best, it will make the piece not as vivid and damage it. At worst, it could make the piece shrink, fall apart, remove or move around dye, or ravel greatly, as frayed edges and delicate stitches are often a part of fiber artworks. Art usually is not designed to go in washing machines. If you need to spot clean your artwork in an area that you know is color fast (color in that area won’t be changed if exposed to water), gently use a soft cloth (like an old t-shirt) with a bit of water and a bit of soap to spot clean. Like with cleaning your carpet, blotting is better than wiping. Work in as small of an area as possible and do as little as possible to keep it in good shape. Let the spot air dry.

If you need to spot clean any small fiber artworks I have created and want to make sure you’re doing it right, feel free to contact me with information on what piece you have and a photo or what type(s) of fiber it is, and I’ll be happy to let you know the best way to clean your art. It’s always better to make sure you know what you’re doing before you start. You can’t go back and change what you’ve done if you have damaged the art.

The good news is that I’m a stickler when it comes to trying to making sure things are archival and durable. I tend to over-engineer art, doing things like making the seams stronger than necessary by using very small machine stitching, so they don’t fall apart quickly if damaged.