Thursday, 4 October 2018

Hanging the Old Parsonage exhibition

Our 2018 'Spectrum' exhibition in Gallery 1 at the Old Parsonage in Didsbury is a challenge to hang, partly because the ceiling is so high and the step ladders are huge, but also because the hanging system ensures that all work is hung by fishing wire from a high level picture rail, so that there are no nails or screws into the walls.

Work hung on strong, fine fishing wire (40lbs +)

Last time I was at the Old Parsonage, back in 2015, my work was in Gallery 2, which is smaller and has a much lower ceiling. Then I was working with local artist Malcolm Allum to hang the room. Malcolm had a tried and tested system to get all the work at eye level.

This year, with Anne Mackinnon, Cate Gibson and myself, we had to refine the method to hang Anne's work on 3 levels and Cate's and my work on a single or double level. I'm logging here how we did it, so we can all refer to it in future. It may be useful for you too. Fingers crossed. I've outlined the steps below:

  1. Start by measure the distance from the bottom of the picture hook to the centre point you want for your eye-level pictures.
  2. Run a piece of masking tape across the full width of a trestle table so that it is straight and even. Declare and mark one side of this as your 'centre line'.
  3. Attach a pen with a clip along the top of a chair, using masking tape and fishing line, so that it can't move and you can still access the clip end
  4. Position the chair carefully so that the distance between the centre line on the table and the inside of the clip of the pen measure exactly the same distance you decided on in point 1. Don't move the chair!
  5. Take the first work you want to hang and put it on the table, measuring it carefully so that the centre of the work is aligned to the centre line.
  6. Attach the fishing wire to one of the 'D' ring fittings on the artwork and run the wire out to the pen, through the pen clip and back to attach to the other 'D' ring fitting on the artwork
  7. Hang the artwork by hooking the fishing wire over the picture hook on the top rail. It will hang at eye level.
  8. Continue with all the other work
  9. To add higher rows, repeat this exercise but re-measure a new higher or lower centre point for step one and move the chair distance accordingly before continuing.
  10. If you happen to be out by a tiny amount on any pictures, we decided to add an extra twist or two to the wire when hanging on the top picture hooks. Not scientific this bit, but it did the trick!
Measuring the centre of an artwork to place it on the centre line 

Pen attached to the chair, artwork on the centre line

Hanging work on different levels with high ladders

We managed to get our work level and looking professional with very little effort. We'll be using 'Malcolm's system' as we called it again!!

Cracked it!

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