Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Not to Hang Your Scarves

I usually think of how to hang my pieces well in advance, and try to cover as many aspects as possible, e.g. venue, angle/height/weight, colors/shapes, general appearance, cost, ease of installing/uninstalling,/transporting. I start planning and consulting Ben as soon as I have a rough idea about my "set", well before I finish weaving the pieces. But I had never ever thought of the weight of my tiny cotton scarves, and did I suffer for it. Now I remember Ben voicing concern three weeks ago.

At first I wanted it simple, a dowel with a fishing line tied to nails at each end, so I can put nails in the wall and hang them. Then Rosie made me want to hang them away from the wall. And I thought of the traffic (to the right of where Ben stands is the entrance to the cafe,) and the possibility of the scarves sliding off, so I thought of clamping the scarf between two pieces of wood and securing the sides with screws and wing nuts.

Ben used to correct me when I called them butterfly wings or Micky Mouse ears, so at least from this exercise, I learned the correct name. I thought this way I can reuse the clamps at the Refinery Art Space shop, where staff can easily unscrew the wing nuts when a piece sold. I hadn't thought of how the whole thing would be secured to the wall. At any rate, we couldn't find small, "elegant" looking wing nuts, (yeah, yeah, I know how funny this sounds now, but I was only hoping for smallish brass ones,) so we used Ben's small brass screws.

Note this method allows me to show mostly one side of the scarf by having most of the piece in front of the front wood piece, or both sides of the scarf by having some of the scarf showing at the front, with the remainder sandwiched between the two pieces of wood. I opted for the first choice, because I didn't want my hems showing.

I thought we could rest the clamp on top of two nails in the wall, but the clamp tilted forward and, once, fell when I breathed a sigh of relief! Then we tried cheap picture frame saw tooth, but the saw tooth were too large, so the clamp was too far away from wall, and once again, the scarf bowed.

Ben tried bending the saw tooth to no avail. We thought of getting L-shaped hooks to sit the clamps on, or O-shaped hooks to hang from, but I thought both options were too ugly.
In the end, we went for the no-fault option Ben had in mind when we started this discussion weeks ago; we unscrewed the clamp, nailed the back piece of to the wall, repositioned the scarf and the front piece, and screwed the brass screws back on.

They won't tilt, the scarves won't fall of, and they are away from the wall and the scarves move when people walk by.

EDIT: The second illustration is inaccurate; the scarf should have draped over the front piece of wood on the left. But I know you forgive me.

7 comments:

  1. Must be a good system because we came up with something similar for my Bradford exhibit! We call it the double-dowel system and it involves a nylon line threaded through two dowels so that one dowel is fixed and the other can slide up and down. The scarf hangs over the moving dowel which then sits on top of the fixed dowel and clamps the scarf in place. You're right, it is better with pictures.

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  2. That is really neat. Unfortunately, because I am far away from the exhibit and certainly won't be there when they hang it, I am sticking with the simple---a rod with fishing line. However, because I am creating a casing, I don't have to worry about slippage. But I really do like the away-from-the-wall look.

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  3. Cally, I can't exactly tell how you threaded the nylons, but I assume these involved tiny holes at the ends of the dowels, and the nylons tied around the bottom dowel and threaded through the top? I had thought of this kind, too, except I needed mine to not sit on top of each other, but lay horizontally.

    In fact, if you hung your cloth on the top dowel, how did you prevent it from topping over and the lower dowel popping up behind? Wouldn't the weight of the cloth pull the top dowel?

    Peg, that's the best way, leaving it to the pros.

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  4. That's about it, I think. Both dowels had fine holes drilled in the end. The line went through the hole in the top dowel, through the hole in the bottom dowel and then back through the hole in the top dowel. Of course the drawback is that you need to have something to hang the line from. I wanted something away from the wall and in one case put the dowels below a shallow shelf but also used a plain length of wood painted white and screwed to the top of the display area where it was fairly discreet. You can see the effect in my Bradford gallery pictures, although they weren't really taken with the fixings in mind! I did take a setup picture for this post.

    But that is more than enough about my dowels. I think your display looks great - I especially like the new picture I see in today's post of the whole context.

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  5. Cally, I saw your gallery pics last night, but not this post. But I kept thinking all day; how on earth did you prevent the top dowel from bowing forward, and tipping the bottom one backwards, as it were. Did you weight the dowels? Are they connected to the floor, too? Or I must be missing something entirely...

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  6. They just hang that way, honest! I think because the line goes through the bottom dowel it acts as a stabiliser - the line is effectivel horizontal at that point and the dowel hangs as if it were in a cradle. But what do I know? We took an empirical rather than a theoretical approach to the design, so I am rationalising things I know nothing about!

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