The Art of Hanging Your Art

The Art of Hanging Your Art
by Bruce Baker

Courtesy of Handmade Business

There is often no display method that is more effective for showing your work than hanging it. It generally takes less display equipment and cost to hang work. It requires less set-up time, not to mention that hanging displays have many advantages over work that is resting on a shelf or table. Certainly, not all work is appropriate for hanging, but I have seen some displays that hang work with amazing results. The biggest obstacle to overcome when designing a hanging display is thinking outside the box.

The Art of Hanging Your Art When most people think about employing a display that hangs their work, they think that they need solid walls, but this is truly not the case. All that is required to hang your work is a piece of wood that extends from the floor up to the top of your wall frame. You can attach it to the cross piece of your display or outdoor canopy using sturdy cable ties, or you can hold it in place with hook-and-loop or similar touch fasteners. In front of these wooden uprights, once you get them in place, you can attach your fabric or matchstick blind wall treatment. Once your faux walls are up (in front of your wall struts), you can drill screws through the fabric or blind material. Drywall screws work the best, and from these screws you can hang your art. You can hang all manner of art, from clothing to pottery to wooden articles to greeting cards. If you exhibit at outdoor shows, it may be necessary to stake the upright wooden standard to the ground for additional stability.

Beyond the easy set-up and low capitol expenditure, there are several good reasons for employing hanging displays. Hanging your work allows you to take maximum advantage of the space you are already paying for at a show. Many artists discount the space above them (at eye level and higher) and focus only on the tabletop height.

Things that you hang in space become surprising and often unexpected, such as mugs spinning in the breeze suspended on monofilament. When you create a visual experience for shoppers, they will likely step into it. A mug display would work best if there were 9 to 12 mugs hanging at eye level (or just above) with another 12 to 24 on a shelf below. The hanging mugs would draw attention and pull the customers off the aisle and into the booth, which is a must for the sale to happen. Most likely, they would buy the mugs that were on the shelves. However, if there is any type of hardware that makes it easy to remove a mug from the monofilament quickly, they are also likely to buy a mug that is hanging. Fishing swivels and other hardware make it easy to remove the string from an item without being too distracting from your work.

Hanging displays result in movement, either turning or swinging, depending on how you suspend the work (with one line or two lines), and hanging items in a display invites the touch response. Movement is very alluring; through people touching the work and through the work blowing in the wind, you will see a lot more people noticing the work you hang up. Items that hang get noticed more readily, and they also make people want to touch the work. Items that hang simply invite more touch responses than items that are resting on a plane. When people touch your work, they are more likely to buy it! Hang work in your display whenever you can. Of course, suspending work in your booth might not be the only way you display, but using a combination of merchandising techniques creates interest, movement, and a variety of planes. C34K_2.jpg

The Art of Hanging Your Art In the photograph of the hanging mittens, the unexpected use of dimensional space creates a fun and whimsical display. You can still feel them, try them on, and compare colors and patterns with a minimum of display material.

With the wooden utensils display, the wall fabric showcases the delicate laser-cut patterns in these cherry pieces and gives them the more serious gallery look they need. The wooden utensils have hook-and-loop adhesive dots on the back, and this is why the utensils are sticking to a wall. This makes it very easy for a customer to touch a pair without too much help from the person selling the art.

One of the most functional methods of display for very little cost is the use of balloons to feature handmade hats. Balloons are intrinsically fun and light-hearted, and this use of them is quite brave and wonderful. The display of scarves creates an opening inside the booth that could be used to house a mirror for customers to try the scarves on. Certainly, there are items that are not appropriate to hang, but I encourage you to push the limits of your mind. So many items can create an amazing space, particularly if you hang them on multiple levels. You will find that many people will touch or heft things that are hanging. When they are finished touching the work, the objects stay in motion for a few minutes, inviting the next person to come along and repeat the process again.

Monofilament is readily available wherever fishing tackle is sold. It comes in different strengths, which are capable of supporting various amounts of weight, from a few pounds (a nearly invisible line) to nearly 100 pounds (deep-sea fishing line, which is more visible). At outdoor shows, it is possible, if the booth spaces are far apart, to hang work on three sides of a canopy, thus literally creating the walls with your merchandise.

In this way, customers can approach your booth from all sides inside the booth and outside the booth. I once saw a wind chime booth that was created this way; it attracted a lot of attention. The booth had a high sales volume, as so many people were standing around ringing the chimes, because there was so much space to accommodate the customers. Keep in mind that this would only work if there were at least 10 feet between the booths on all sides. Hanging items is a great and innovative way to create aisle appeal, which will draw customers in.

Remember, customers do not buy from the aisle; they only purchase when they have been drawn into the booth and become engaged with the work.
The Art of Hanging Your Art

Of course, you can employ other merchandising methods along with suspending your merchandise. The more creative and exciting these displays are, the more attention they will attract. If people are responding to your work by playing with it, or calling over friends so that they can share the experience together, the more items you will sell. Use the suspension of your work as a way to get customers’ attention and to draw them into your display. Remember to be creative and clever for customers to notice you.