Being part of the creative process from beginning to end is what most artists live for. This is just one of the reasons many artists choose to stretch their own canvas—an art form in itself. Besides the sense of accomplishment that comes with crafting your own piece of canvas, doing it yourself offers a number of other noteworthy benefits including:
•Flexibility: you get the choose the quality, size, and texture of the canvas, which means you have a wider range of options
•Craftsmanship: you control how well the piece is put together
•Cost-effectiveness: un-stretched canvas is (much) less expensive than pre-stretched to ship
•Space Savings: un-stretched canvas requires less storage space
So, just how easy is it to stretch your own canvas? Well, it depends on how you go about it. While many artists have mastered the traditional method with success, there are several newer, easier ways to stretch your own canvas that might be worth a try. One method is by machine.
While canvas stretching machine can be quite expensive for a novice or student, if you are a prolific artist that cranks out paintings like Stephen King cranks out books, it might be well worth the investment. However, remember that sense of accomplishment we talked about earlier? A machine won’t offer much of that. The good news is, you can still achieve machine-like precision by stretching your canvas manually.
Fredrix Canvas developed a new method with their “stretch it yourself kit.” Using a stretching “clever lever” instead of pliers allows you to stretch one whole side at time. It cuts the stretch time to a fraction of what it takes for traditional stretching. One artist claims that “it only takes me 10 minutes to do what used to take me an hour.”
According to James Bernstein, Conservator and Co-Director of Conservation for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1975 to 1989, all you have to do is the opposite of what you were taught in art school. Bernstein calls his method “almost heretical,” because “traditionally you start from the centers and you start tacking and you stretch out to the corners. My premise is just the opposite,” he says. “Start from the corners of the canvas and work your way towards the middle.”
If you’re considering stretching your own canvas, choose the method that works best for you. But no matter which method you choose—traditional, by machine or non-traditional, always start with high quality canvas and tools like the ones in Fredrix’s new Pro Dixie Canvas Kit. The kit comes with canvas, stretcher bars, corner and cross braces, instructions, link to videos and more.
Learn more about Fredrix’s Pro Dixie Canvas Kit here and start stretching your own canvas today!