Friday, November 20, 2015

Those discharged sleeves...

I wrote yesterday about using dishwasher gel, which contains bleach, to discharge text on my quilt sleeves.  And realized from a couple of the comments that I had not made myself clear as to exactly where I put the ensuing fabric.

I said that I don't like labels, as customarily handled in the quilt world -- rectangles of computer-printed fabric that give lots of information about many aspects of the piece, its maker, construction, materials, inspiration and care instructions.  For some reason putting all that info on a label seems like a bad cross between the care tag on your dress and the "about me" section on your Google profile.

But I do think it's necessary to identify the quilt in a permanent manner, and what's so permanent as the hanging mechanism?  So I write my name, the title of the piece, and (usually) the year it was made on the sleeve.

Sorry, if you're walking through the quilt show and feel the urge to sneakily turn back that lower right-hand corner to read my label, you'll be disappointed.  But I'm not much on that practice either.


  1. What a relief! I am not alone in my dislike of labels. What is behind this near revulsion I wonder?

    1. With the art group that I exhibit with, everyone is required to label their artwork with name, address, title of the work, media and price. That's painters, photographers, sculptors, mix media and fiber entries. If you've ever worked on the other side, you will know that part of the reason for this is partly to help match paperwork and partly to ensure signage gets up next to the proper piece of art. It can also be good for repeat sales as the customer has everything he or she needs to contact the artist again, and also for their insurance records. There are probably other good reasons too, but truly, this is not something that happens just in the quilt world. Now, I don't always want all that information permanently on the back of my quilt (like price), so I get around that by attaching a business card to the sleeve (with the same kind of doohickey they attach tags to clothing with) and add any additional required info by hand onto it. Trust me - these "rules" often come out of the frustration of show organizers trying to keep everything straight, secure and properly returned to the owner. I think perhaps the tendency for quilters to include "extra" information like inspiration, techniques and materials grew out of finding themselves asked to supply this info on quilt show exhibit forms, and then a developing emphasis in magazines on how to make pretty labels. Personally, I like some kind of label on the back of every piece I make, whether a computer printed sewn on one or hand inked on the backing one (no flowers ;-) but I do include my logo), and I also label the back of pieces I have framed. As Kathleen says, it is important to identify artwork in a permanent manner. It doesn't have to be the life history of the artwork but I do like to add a little bit more than Kathleen. And yes, even big name artists have put labels on the back of their framed work. And down the line, galleries and auction houses are forever grateful. :-)

    2. I too will attach a paper label if a show asks me to, and I understand the convenience factor for the show organizers. But many of the most frou-frou labels come on quilts that will never see a quilt show. I agree with you 1000% that a lot comes from the magazines telling people how to make pretty labels.