Need Help Please

I went to the SAQA website today to post a plea on my Visioning page and while I’m there I am currently deleting 478 emails in my inbox.  Do you know how long that takes doing 20 at a time?  It’s taking a while.  So I decided while I’m doing that I will post a blog post here and ask for YOUR help too!

I have my first solo show in October this year.  I have a series of small (5″ x 7″-ish) works I will be mounting on deep 12″ x 12″ canvases.  I will be painting the canvases before I mount the fiber work.  I personally did not wish to paint the canvases a solid, flat color, but rather wanted to  do swipes of color that had movement, feeling that this was more in line with the fiber work.  But now my question is: what are others going to like?  I really want to sell at this show and am now wondering which method will make the work more sell-able.  Here is how the canvas looks at this point.  Sort of wispy, worn, like the side of an old barn.  But is this what people will want? Eeek!  I really need help with this.  And I know people can only give me their opinion and in the end, I still have to make the choice.  But I still want to hear from you.  And I will ponder any suggestions anyone has to make too.

And if you need a little distance….


  1. Sharon Roth says

    Kathy, you and I both know that you can’t please everyone. I personally love the brushed effect on the canvas and think it fits beautifully with your fiber work. Just sayin’ 😀
    And, oh, yes, congratulations on your one-woman show!!! Hope you’ll post details as it gets closer.

  2. I agree with Sharon (who is wise.) Please yourself. The wispy effect looks wonderful to me. A solid canvas might look wonderful to someone else. If you have a lot of pieces you can do both, I suppose.

    Excited to learn of your show. Congrats!

  3. hmmmm… let me check my crystal ball. Nope. Nuttin’. sorry haha… BUT, if you ever do figure out what people are going to buy, please do tell me right away!

    I’m joking of course Kathy, but only partly. You know as well as I do people are finicky, fickle and flabbergasting and if they love your work it won’t matter. I do like what you’ve got going here but there may be some that would like a less active background. So I would just offer many different kinds. Let your creativity flow… it always does. 😉

    OH and SO PROUD OF YOU TO HAVE A ONE WOMAN SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I really like that you’ve used a blue similar to what’s in the quilt instead of something really dark like black. However, I find the swipes too wide and a little distracting, not really wispy at all. My eye keeps getting drawn out to the edges instead of into the center. I would make it more mottled and supportive.

  5. Your art is very beautiful and very interesting, but I think it looks lost in the wide framing; perhaps darker shades of the colors would set off the art more so that the visual impact would be less about the frame.
    I saw online at the Japan Quilt Festival 2011 smaller-sized fiber works in actual frames – some with mats, and some just slender frames, and think that looks very finished for display. A link with a few close-up photos (when scrolled down to about the twentieth photo) is, and other pictures can be seen at
    and I hope this is of interest to you. I always follow your blog on Planet Textile and am amazed at all you create.

  6. Oops, that second link was supposed to be
    by Be*mused

  7. love the concept of a more ‘interesting’ background – i.e. not flat, solid colour.
    But I agree with Sheila, a mottled (sponged, maybe?) effect would be better.
    Best wishes for your exhibition!

    Marcie in Australia

  8. Wow! Thanks everyone for commenting. I so appreciate it. Today, my thinking is this: I think I’m going to go for a quiet, unobtrusive background (not turquoise), and just let the small piece do all the work….of course, this could all change tomorrow! Thanks again…you all had great comments and food for my thought.

  9. Will the pieces be mounted in a permanent way, or will they be removable? If permanent, I would think a more solid background would be better as not to compete with your beautiful work.

  10. Sharon Eley says

    I LOVE the center image and agree that too much “texture” will take away from the BEAUTIFUL center piece. Maybe more of a “tone on tone”. Just in case you haven’t seen it, Cloth, Paper and Scissors has free patterns and directions on their site to download. I have seen image backgrounds on “Art Journal Ideas -5 Art Journaling Techniques” where maybe one color blends into the other but there is no texture, just the blending of colors, tone on tone. Go to Then go under freebees. Then chose “5 Art Journaling Techniques” Go to page 18-19. That’s probably more than you wanted but it may help. The suggestions of others were great! If you used acrylic you can just gesso over it and repaint it. A suggestion that Marilyn Hughey Phillis used was to place construction paper under your artwork just for color ideas before painting a background. Then, paint it the color that you choose without wasting paint. Just a thought to pass on.

  11. I agree that the frame takes away from your beautiful work. I kept looking at this when you first posted it and couldn’t decide what the problem was. I love the frame but it does draw my eyes to it and not your art. Congrats on your show. Where is it?

  12. Thanks for that tip, Sharon, I will look up what you are referring to in that e-book. I often print those out and keep them in a big folder.

    Hi Lynda, I do think you are right about the color and movement moves the eye away from the fiber piece. I couldn’t decide whether to simply use the canvas a a “frame” or to make the canvas an extension of the piece. I have decided now: it is just going to be the “frame”. I don’t want to extend it out. The little pieces have plenty going on in them and I think the “frame” in a cool gray-white will give the eye a good resting place.
    The show is in New Harmony at the Women’s Institute and Gallery…starts October 28, I believe and reception is November 19.

    Thanks, everyone for your comments, thoughts, and help with this!

  13. Mary Schaeffer says

    The frame for an art piece IMHO needs to either be minimalistic (like the black skinny ones) or it needs to complement the art piece it encloses. If you don’t have whispy stuff on the art piece, then doing the frame whispy destroys the unity of the piece and its frame. If the art piece (center) is geometric, then the frame should either be plain or have a few lines – not wavy if there is nothing wavy in the center. If the center is organic, then the frame should have only a hint of an organic design.
    The main object is for the frame to NOT detract from the center but to complement it. There needs to be a smooth transition from frame to center. You don’t want the eye to see the frame as a discordant element. The eye should move immediately to the focal point of the center and follow the movement pattern you have designed. The eye will pick up the frame but it should not stay there.
    Am I making sense here? I hope so.

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