Caring for your Felted Fibre Artwork

It’s only natural that, when we have spent our hard-earned cash on something, we want to look after it carefully.  To make sure it lasts and stays looking as amazing as it did when we first fell in love with it.  I think that this is particularly the case with something like an artwork - we bought it because we had an emotional response to it.  This means that we have made an emotional investment as well as a financial one.  

Many people are a little shy of purchasing fibre art because they have no idea how to look after it, but it’s really no more tricky than any painting.  There are a few basic principals around positioning and caring for artwork that apply no matter what the medium.

 Felted artwork isn't any more difficult to care for than other painted mediums.

Felted artwork isn't any more difficult to care for than other painted mediums.

Positioning

Firstly, it is advisable to hang ANY artwork away from direct sunlight.  That being said, it is often impossible to completely eliminate residual UV light.  All artworks by Caroline Burton are given an extra layer of protection from UV light.  Original felted artworks are framed and protected either by UV protective glass, or by a UV protective surface treatment.  This surface treatment penetrates the fibres, so that repeat treatment will not be necessary, however it does not alter the look or feel of the artwork.

The certificate of authenticity on the reverse of the individual artwork will detail the type of protection provided.   

If you are serious about collecting and protecting art, you may want to go a step further and consider applying a UV protective film to your windows.  This would have the additional benefit of giving an extra layer of protection for your soft furnishings.  

Hands Off!

Felt is an inherently tactile medium - the surface textures intrigue and fascinate.  That’s one of the things that drew you to your new artwork in the first place, after all.  BUT even the cleanest of hands will leave a residue of natural oils and, over time, this will build up with constant handling.  While the UV protective surface treatment that your fibre art has received does also help to protect it from stains, if you want to avoid the expense of specialist cleaning, it’s best to avoid handling.  In my studio, I like to have a felted item, such as a bowl , that I can direct inquisitive art enthusiasts to if they want to explore the textural qualities in more detail.  

 Some examples of felted bowls that you can invite your art-admiring friends to explore.  You can get your hands on these  here

Some examples of felted bowls that you can invite your art-admiring friends to explore.  You can get your hands on these here

It is also a good idea to hang your artwork in an area where it is not easily accessible to touch.  Maybe with a piece of furniture below it.

Cleaning

As with any artwork, over time, dust may build up on the surface, particularly if it has sculptural elements.  This is easily removed in one of 3 ways:

  • Gently running over the surface with a lint roller

  • Using a feather duster

  • Using your vacuum cleaner.  For this method, hold a  piece of loosely woven fabric (such as gauze) over the surface of the artwork and, using the lowest setting on your vacuum cleaner and with one of the hand tools attached, carefully work your way over the surface of your artwork.  

If (heaven forbid) your artwork becomes marked or stained, it is recommended that you contact a textiles cleaning specialist.  Let them know that the artwork has been treated with Microseal, which should make their job considerably more straight forward.  

Moths?

It's happened to most of us at some stage - we pull our favourite wool sweater out of the wardrobe as the weather starts to cool off, only to find that it's been made a meal of.  The good news, with regard to artwork is that it is made to hang on the wall, where it will be in the light for a fair amount of the time.  Once the issue of UV light is addressed (see previous points), the light is a good thing because moths do NOT like it and will therefore not be a problem.  

So, armed with a little information, I hope that you can now sit back, relax and enjoy your fibre art.