Walker Display System

By Kevan Rupp Lunney

Convenient alternative for hanging your artwork

The Walker System, by Walker Display, Inc., allows galleries to hang art without pounding nails in the walls, thus eliminating the need to spackle and paint between exhibitions. Some venues want to save time and labor; others have plaster walls. You can download a catalog and price list with pictures of the various components available for the Walker System at www.walkerdisplay.com.

How does the Walker System work?
The system starts with a strip of molding attached to the gallery wall near the ceiling. Adjustable rods or cables have a hooked sleeve at the top that allows them to hang from the molding. The rods can slide left or right along the molding, and they can be removed just by lifting the hook off the edge.

To hang the work from the rods, there are a variety of hooks and holders that attach to the rods or cables and can be adjusted to the desired height. Some support wires on picture frames, some are trays that hold open or closed books. Every venue seems to have different mounting hardware. My local library has a simple upturned hook that tends to slip down the rod and drop the artwork, so tape is wrapped around the pole. (See the Walker Display catalog for specific information on all the available hardware options.)

Why is this a problem for quilters? Many of the older models of mounting hardware don’t support our typical horizontal rods or slats well. The quilts may tilt or fall off.

Walker Display’s Textile System provides a solution with two installation options. The first involves hook and loop tape (Velcro®). The Walker System Q-Bar (see below) has the hook side of the Velcro already attached, and you attach a length of the loop side to the back of your work. The Q-Bar can be attached to wall brackets or to the rod-and-molding system. Walker says this is “the preferred textile-hanging technique, since it does not interfere with other uses of the textile.”

The second method can be used with the traditional sleeve that many quilts already have. Walker sells fixedor adjustable-length S-rods which can be slipped through the sleeve and hung from wall brackets or from the rod-and-molding system.

There is a third method that can be used with the cables and does not require purchasing an additional Q-Bar or sleeve rod, although you do have to make your own slat (see sidebar).

If the venue is unable to order the Textile System in time, there is an alternative. Use an expanding curtain rod—one possibility is the Continental rod by Kirsch (www.kirsch.com).

Leave spaces in your hanging sleeve to expose the horizontal quilt rod. The Continental rod is white and is very sturdy for very thin metal. Two pieces nest and telescope to adjustable lengths—very handy and economical. They are flat but have a C shape. The top lip of the ‘C’ sits on the top edge of the hook assembly very well. The Continental rod is designed to hold a curtain or valance about 6˝ from the wall, so it comes with a plastic elbow that fits into each end and then into another metal piece that attaches at right angles to attach to the wall. The plastic elbow is small enough to be used as an end cap to cover the sharp metal edges.

Large quilts require a Walker System vertical rod at each end so that the artwork doesn’t tip and the weight is supported. This is true of wired paintings as well.

In preparing an art quilt for this hanging method, there must be sufficient space in the opening of the sleeve to have some play to move the hook left to right. For quilts 36˝ wide or smaller, one space of 8 inches in the center will suffice. Bigger pieces will need two spaces, each 8 inches wide. Divide your quilt width into thirds and put the spaces in the sleeve in the center of the outer thirds. For example, for a 60˝ quilt, the sleeve would be measured as 6˝+ 8˝ space + 6˝ = 20˝ for the left third, 20˝ for the center third, and 6˝+ 8˝ space + 6˝ = 20˝ for the right third (see Figure 1).

The next time you encounter a gallery or museum that uses the Walker System, feel confident that your art quilts can hang beautifully.