This article was first published in the San Marino Tribune.
Margaret Danielak © 2010
Have you purchased so much artwork over the years that your walls are full? Are you interested in acquiring new artwork, but do not want to part with the pieces in your collection? One solution is to rotate your art to correspond with the changing seasons, and learn how to take care of and store pieces not currently on display.
As the daughter of artists with a pre-existing, and ever increasing art collection, my husband and I long ago ran out of wall space. We wondered what to do with each new piece we acquired. Then it occurred to us that we could enjoy our artwork more by storing some pieces, and then rotating in new work every three months. Now, in the summer, we hang paintings of lovely farms, koi-filled ponds and rushing rivers in our dining and living rooms. In the fall, we un-wrap and display acrylics featuring golden aspens, and then change the tablecloth and other accents around the house to fall colors. We clean, wrap and store the “summer themed” paintings until the next year. Each season we create a fresh look simply because we take some pieces out and introduce previously stored and new artwork. As an added benefit, by rotating our collection, we are able to dust each piece and then check the wall to see if natural or artificial light has caused the wall to discolor.
Below are a few tips to help you take care of your artwork as you rotate your collection:
• When displaying an art piece, keep in mind how heavy it is. Consider using weight-rated wall mount picture hangers (hooks) as they tend to minimize wall damage. Weight-rated hangers are found both online and in most hardware stores. If you are displaying sculpture, make sure the table or podium is sturdy enough for the piece. Consult with the artist about how to keep the work in place in the event of an earthquake or other accidental occurrence.
• Too much light can destroy your art. Investigate conservation framing (or reframing) utilizing UV glass and rag mats for light sensitive pieces, like watercolors. Ask your framer about new products and techniques he/she can use to protect the pieces in your collection.
• Sometimes people will spray glass covered art directly and then dust it like a table. This practice should be avoided as the fluid may seep into the cracks and cause damage to the mat and possibly, the art. Rather, use a micro fiber dust cloth to dust around the glass and the frame.
• Consider acquiring an adjustable art rack to store your framed pieces when they are not on display. This type of rack has slots wherein you may “file” your smaller sized pieces. Remember that for framed pieces, the corners will be most vulnerable to damage. Before storing, wrap each piece in clear, clean plastic, and then put corners of extra bubble wrap or cardboard corners on each corner.
• If you do not own an art rack, or you own large pieces that won’t fit into the rack, wrap each piece as described above and store in a cool, dry closet or room being sure to position the piece in hanging (display) orientation. For additional protection, “file” the piece in your closet using a sturdy cardboard art box. Another option is to wrap the piece in padded paper, like the kind currently used by furniture movers. Padded paper is easy to use and especially effective in protecting glassed pieces.
By rotating your art with the changing seasons, you will be able to care for and appreciate more of your collection over the course of the year. Most importantly, you might find space for that next, new exciting art acquisition.
Margaret Danielak is the owner of DanielakArt – A Gallery Without Walls based in Pasadena, California. Mrs. Danielak is the author of the handbook for fine artists A Gallery Without Walls: Selling Art in Alternative Venues (ArtNetwork Press) which was a featured selection of North Light Book Club. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 626-683-9922 website is www.danielakart.com