Tools of the Trade

It’s been a couple of months since my last Tools of the Trade blog post. One of the questions that comes up in my workshops is how to finish your work for presentation so I thought I would share some of the ways I present my work for exhibitions and workshops.

Tip… When deciding how to present your work, think about where and how it will be hung or stored. This will help you decide the best way to present it.

Embroidery Hoops

This is a very popular way to present your work. I use this method for my workshop samples and when I want to photograph work in progress for social media. Embroidery hoops are easy to find at your local craft shop or online and you can even paint them to add a splash of colour or blend in with your work.

I like to use the wooden hoops with brass screws by Elbesee, they are great quality and you can clean the screw with metal polish if it becomes tarnished. To finish the hoop, I cut the work into a circle and do a tacking stitch around the edge. I then gather the fabric up and secure in place with some stab stitches. You can cover the gathered fabric with some self-adhesive felt too.

Metal Rings

I really like presenting my work as a circle but I don’t always want a hoop as part of the design. On a shopping trip in Fred Aldous I found these plain metal rings which come in different sizes from 75mm to 500mm.

They give you the circular presentation and are light enough to get framed too. I use the same method as I would for finishing a hoop, cutting the work into a circle, gathering with tacking stitches and covering with a piece of matching fabric to hide all the messy edges.

Good to know… When using any metal products there is a chance it can rust. You can seal metal hoops or fastenings on an embroidery hoop with clear nail varnish.

Picture Frames

For exhibitions I always get my work professionally framed, I use Artco in Leeds. They have a great selection of frames and are able to frame all the weird and wonderful things I take them easily. My entire exhibition Archive & Other Stories in 2018 was framed by them. I like to stitch my work to good quality acid free mountboard before I take it to be framed. This ensures that the work is secure and ready to frame.

You can also buy great frames from high street shops like Wilko but be careful as the carboard mounts might not be acid free and can fade or turn yellow with time.


My work isn’t always framed, sometimes I leave work freestanding which means it’s easier to store and photograph. I’ve had work in exhibitions which is displayed in a cabinet or standing on a plinth. I’ve even displayed wall mounted work that isn’t framed which was a challenge to make sure it was secure.

You can also pick up display cases in vintage shops if you want to keep freestanding work on display and safe.

***Please note that this is just my personal observation on the techniques I use regularly, everyone has their favourites and I recommend trying lots of different types to find the best one for you. ***

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