Textiles are often wavy, and not quite square, with corners being pulled as the maker is stitching - skewed left
if done by someone right-handed, or the opposite, if left-handed. The lacing process allows for a bit more tug
and pull while mounting than stretching does, doesn't require a border to pull over the edge, and can be
used for heavy textiles like rugs, tapestries,
and quilts, for more delicate textiles, or anything in between.
In preparation for lacing, you want to clip the textile to the substrate without leaving an indelible imprint or damaging
the surface which are often delicate. For this project I used bull clips with a couple layers of post-it notes to cushion the
tight hold. Work the corners as nearly square as possible, then begin work.
I start at one corner and work my way down, grabbing the edge of this particular textile just around the ribbon, as this will
be hidden in the end under the rabbet of the frame. After looping the thread around, I'll move to the back of the piece,
carrying the thread all the way across to the opposite side, grab that edge in like fashion, and go across the back again,
grabbing the edges about a 1/2 inch apart.
The edge of the board will begin to look like this. The chosen substrate for this textile is a piece of 3/16" gator board
and the thread is of a strong, industrial variety. The weight of the thread
should be in keeping with the heft of the edge
you are lacing - a light silk may be required for a delicate silk textile with no backing, a cotton thread for a quilt patch,
or a heavier, cord-like thread for a rug or tapestry. Some pieces may fare better if they are stitched first to another
backing material, and the backing becomes the part used to lace or stretch to the substrate. A heavy tapestry or rug
may be mounted to a piece of luan or plywood, so as not to buckle under the weight.
The first path from side to side across the back will look at this. As you come to the end of each thread length,
simply tie another length onto it, thread it into your needle, and continue traveling.
After completing one direction from top to bottom, start in the other direction doing the same.
I find the whole process enjoyable and rather mindless, as long as I don't find I've pricked my finger and left a spot
of blood unknowingly behind. But if you find you do, simply use a bit of saliva on a q-tip or kleenex, and blot the spot
reaptedly switching to a clean surface, till it comes out. Whatever you do, "listen" to the fabric and work it gently
into square as best you can, tugging on the back threads here and there until you get it just right.
The completed back will look like this, and the piece will be ready to frame. You've done nothing to harm the piece,
and should anyone decades later decide to frame it differently, it can be simply cut lose.
We selected a bright lacquer, stacked frame for this piece to express the Oriental tradition, and call out the
bright colors in a contemporary setting.