Over the years, this author has experienced presenting embroidery projects in different ways to make the most of the type and style of the embroidery. Embroidery used for special occasions can be presented to reflect the interior of the home in which it will be displayed or can take on the shape or style of the embroidery. The ideas below work well, and it's worthwhile looking at different framing options since many may not immediately be obvious, though doing this will open up avenues which are very creative indeed.
Antique frames and vignettes
When working in miniature one of the most creative ways to present this type of work is to use oval frames from a Victorian era. Look through antique fairs and try to get many different frames at good prices. Although not the traditional manner of displaying embroidery, these make a wonderful exhibition of works which are created in miniature.
Pictures of faces, children, animals and items such as this can be worked using pattern creators on the computer which generate color codes so that the work looks as authentic as possible to original photographs. The work is stretched across a piece of plywood so that it is completely flat when placed in the oval frame. It should have glass to protect it, and a backing to cover up where the fabric has been stapled to the board which keeps it in shape. These are finished with a small hook so that they can be wall mounted. These are easy to purchase within a craft store.
For Celtic knotwork presentation, one idea which worked particularly well was to have a carpenter prepare a round frame, into which the embroidery was slotted. The surface of the wood was flat although a rebate was made for the picture to slot into. The Celtic knotwork was worked with a golden thread outline to give it a certain richness, and to finish the frame, that same Celtic knotwork was added in acrylic paints and finished and lined with a black outlining paint, so that the overall presentation was suited to an event which was special. In this case, it was to celebrate moving into a French home, and was a very pretty way to present the embroidery.
A fire screen decoration uses embroidery in a very useful and functional way. If your canvas is large enough, you can create an image reminiscent of the past, and incorporate this into a modern fire screen framework, which is them placed on two feet. These are relatively easy to make and are of course removed when the fire is lit. As a decorative item in the home, the benefit of these is that when the fire is not being used, it creates a focal point within the room, which enhances the overall look and feel of the room in which it is placed.
If you look in an art shop for the different photo frames available, often you can make the embroidery look more formal if you choose a cardboard vignette which picks up one of the colors from the embroidered image. The frame itself can also use colors which are in the picture, to bring the whole picture into being a great image for the wall. Those embroidered samplers which show the letters of the alphabet can be given an antique look very easily, by painting the frame in a color which goes with the embroidery, and then wiping the paint while it is still wet, thus creating a shabby chic look. To add richness add gold leaf or simply edge the frame in gold paint, using a very delicate brush so as not to overstate the presentation.
Pin cushions and stools
These make great areas to present embroidery. For pin cushions, if you find a very old pin cushion, you can update it by stretching the new embroidery over it, and making sure that the fabric used for the base of the pin cushion discreetly hides all the folded fabric from the embroidery. Similarly piano stools or small upholstered stools can have embroidery added very nicely indeed. Stretch the embroidery over the existing cover, and turn up the edges neatly so they are tucked inside the fabric edge which exists on the stool. Buy some upholstery pins with brass heads and pin the embroidery neatly in place to create a stunningly traditional look.
Embroidery takes a lot of time to produce, and often the manner in which it is presented is lacking. What this means is that those who look at it are not seeing it at its best. For the invested time, make sure that the presentation is top class and imaginative enough to draw the eye toward the work of the needlewoman. By doing this, these become timeless classics which really do fit the bill as being heirlooms in the future.