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Mary Corbet

writer and founder

 

I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Just Another Pic on the Wall

 

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Last November, Needle ‘n Thread moved into our new working studio in a commercial building in downtown St. Marys, Kansas. I wrote about that here and here.

Evaluating our first four months, I’d say we’ve settled in pretty well! We’ve become much more work-efficient in this space, because we have a better layout and we have more room.

Mostly, though, I think that we work better because we’re in a working environment rather than a residential environment. It makes a Huge Difference in the mindset when coming to work, getting into the work day, and carrying through the work day with focus.

Needle 'n Thread Studio - Picture Wall

We have one wall in the front of the studio that is blessedly free from directly sunlight, and I decided to turn this wall into our Picture Wall – a gallery of sorts, where I’ll hang finished embroidery bits and pieces as I frame them.

Some of the pieces are full-fledged projects. Some will be small samples that I worked to demonstrate something on the website. If I frame everything, that wall would end up full from floor to ceiling! So that’s not the intention. I just want a gallery of favorite pieces and delightful things that we expand to fill a reasonable space as we have the opportunity.

I’ve added two pieces to the wall recently.

One of the newest additions to the wall is the piece above, Fantasia in Silk, which you can read about here. It’s back from France, and I’m happy to add it to the wall! It’s been hanging out with the folks at Au Ver a Soie for the past few years. I’m planning on doing something with this project, and I like to have the original on hand while developing plans for it.

Needle 'n Thread Studio - Picture Wall

This is the second newest addition – a very treasured piece of embroidery from Trish Burr.

I was not sure if I wanted to frame it in this heavy of a frame, but I loved the warm wood with this piece. Nothing else suited quite so well, and while I probably would have chosen a thinner frame, the heavier frame grew on me the more I looked at it.

I’ve got the word out to my thrift shopping family and friends that I’m in the market for smallish frames. If they’re out and about and they see something, they text me a picture and I let them know if they should grab it for me.

We look for small-to-medium frames (they might have other art in them) that are in good condition – no rot, splinters, breakage, splitting, or anything like that. I don’t normally go for photo frames, which are not really deep enough to accommodate embroidery, although sometimes they are. I clean them up, sometimes I buy new glass if I’m going to use glass (it depends on the piece), sometimes I’ll have a mat cut, and then I frame everything myself.

Needle 'n Thread Studio - Picture Wall

It is so much more cost effective to frame your own work! Especially if you can find a pre-made frame that gives you the finished look you want, even if you need a custom mat cut or a new piece of glass, it’s much less expensive to do all the assembly yourself!

And, frankly, I think doing the actual framing work yourself is safer for your embroidery. Unless you have a really dedicated framer who understands framing needlework, a botched job can be an expensive disappointment that may not necessarily be repairable.

Framing is a good skill to learn!

I’ve written a very detailed account on how I frame pieces of embroidery, in a two part article about reframing a botched job from a professional frame shop. You can find the first part of the article here and the second part here.

Needle 'n Thread Studio - Picture Wall

Right now, I’m on the hunt for sizes and shapes of frames similar to the blank spaces in the photo above. It’s hard to find (at thrift shops) nice oval frames or round frames that will work with embroidery, so if I really want oval and round, I might have to fork out for them. We’ll see! Oval and round frames can be pricey, so I may find that a custom cut mat that fits in a standard square or rectangular frame might just do the trick after all!

So that’s my gallery wall in the studio. We’ll see if it expands further during this next four months!

Our next big improvement (if you want to call it that) is the addition of … yes… blackout curtains. We are constantly pestered by the south / west sun, and as the days warm up, it’s clear that the older single-pane windows (which are somewhat tinted) and the lack of an awning are going to be problematic this summer.

The solar shades we have are great for mornings and late afternoons, but they don’t reduce enough of the heat from the sun midday to make the space in the front of the building comfortable enough to work. And once the space heats up, it doesn’t cool down until night time. We’re already experiencing that on sunny days when the temperatures hit 60+ degrees right now. I’m afraid that, when the temperature crawls up towards 90 and 100 degrees, it won’t be a good environment for working. Plus, when we have the air conditioning on, the energy loss would be ridiculous.

The landlord isn’t planning to update the exterior of the building now until the end of summer (which probably means next spring or next summer … or whenever), so I’ve decided blackout curtains that can be adjusted at different times of the day are the most economically efficient way of handling the sun problem. We’ve also tested them for noise reduction, which is a great bonus. So I’m looking forward to getting those up!

So that’s the plan! And that’s the four-month studio update!

Hope your week is off to a great start! I am hoping to share some Snippet updates by the end of this week. Yay!

 
 

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(12) Comments

  1. Just a thought Mary… if you are in need of frames for a particular size at a very reasonable price and you can choose your frame style/thickness I highly recommend Franken Frames. https://frankenframes.com/ They even cut glass and mats now. Maybe not as cheap as thrifted frames, but still a good deal if you need something “special” and can frame it yourself. Very good frames (nice corners, etc.) and great customer service. They bend over backwards to make things right.

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  2. Thanks for this! It is so applicable to me right now as I have been ‘learning’ (read: experimenting after researching) to frame and mat my embroidery projects. We just had a community yard sale and I picked up some good small frames as well as a mat cutter.

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  3. I was extremely fortunate to take a textile tour of Paris last spring and I saw your piece when we visited Au Ver a Soie. I recognized it right away, and it opened up the opportunity for me to speak with our guide about our shared admiration for your work and your generous teaching.

    Thank you for all that you do for all of us.

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  4. Oh, I sooooo hope to see Fantasia in Silk as a project with a pattern available! I fell in love with it when you first posted about it wya back when.

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  5. Enjoying the updates on your new studio as well as learning about the thought you are putting into each decision. Loving the gallery wall – the perfect addition and sounds like you have worked out the perfect place for it.
    Love the frame for the Trish Burr piece. The weight of the frame is just right for the size and somewhat paler color of the piece. Draws your attention without overwhelming the needlework itself. Good luck on your frame hunt — looking forward to seeing future additions.

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  6. I would really love to see a close-up of your Secret Garden Hummingbirds now that they are framed. I have read that series over twice, and enjoyed it greatly, but when it finished, they weren’t framed.

    It’s a beautiful wall of art. Love it!

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  7. The gallery wall is lovely. I totally agree learning to frame your own needlework is well worth the time. My take is – even if I don’t do it perfectly, at least I didn’t pay $$$ to have it done no better than my efforts or worse – my work damaged or ruined.
    I’m glad the official business location is working well, not only the space itself, but for Anna & your “time to attend to business” attitudes when you walk in. Too bad about the heat and lack of an awning, I love being able to see outside and have natural light while I work. Or while I don’t work for that matter.
    Speaking of buildings – how’s the work on your home going?

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  8. Window film for fading (and heat). Gila titanium sold at Home Depot works great. Block UV and heat, but doesn’t reduce light too much. DIY application, cut to fit and removes easily without damage.

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