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Old December 26th, 2015, 10:05 PM   #14
Marla Mallett
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 9

Thanks, Steve, for your information. Most of us tend to not give much thought to accurate color rendition, unless we’re trying to produce reasonable photos of our pieces.

Although fading and degradation of our textiles and rugs should be an obvious concern, few collectors seem to give this much serious thought. It is about all I can do to convince my customers to keep their pieces away from sunlight. It is amazing how often folks write to me about needing a kilim for their "sunroom."

A few years ago I had a 19th century silk Indian embroidery hanging in my upstairs gallery in an area that got perhaps an hour of late afternoon sunlight. I wouldn’t have put a favorite piece in that spot and it was a textile I didn’t really like much. It was a difficult place to hang anything, so I wasn’t eager to rotate it. After a few months' time the colors didn’t seem to have been affected, but I was surprised to find that the silk had degraded so severely that it literally fell apart in shreds when one touched it. One friend has his favorite kimono—a delicate sheer hand painted piece--hanging across a south window and I can’t seem to convince him this isn’t a good idea.

One particularly bad experience with fading involved a weaving of my own, for which I had dyed most of the wool yarns with good quality contemporary acid dyes. This weaving had won a purchase award in a local exhibition, and it then hung for a few years in a stairwell of our Atlanta Civic Auditorium. At one point they decided to move it to another spot, and so brought it to me to devise a different hanging mechanism. Well, I hadn’t seen the piece for perhaps five or six years, and I was shocked: The colors had changed drastically—nearly all faded significantly. To me it looked dreadful, and I felt humiliated that it had been hanging in public view for so long. The lighting in that space was provided by fluorescents.

Other examples of fading that I routinely see: fade lines on textiles that have been sitting folded in stacks. For example, I frequently come across black tomesode kimonos with faded fold lines just an inch or so wide—the only part that was exposed. I’ve come across tapestries and embroideries with the same kind of localized disfiguration.

So please, folks, be forewarned.


Last edited by Marla Mallett; December 27th, 2015 at 01:12 AM.
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