Some parents hang kids art on the fridge. Others do this sort of thing.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Some parents hang kids art on the fridge. Others do this sort of thing.
Monday, December 14, 2009
My answer: "Items I don't have to glue."
I will avoid using adhesives if possible, though there are about a zillion situations where it is required. In all of those situations, I use the most archival and least damaging adhesive available to me.
All of the following items are mounted using adhesive-free techniques. And they all happen to be fabulous jewelry.
These are pieces of jewelry from Jordan, possibly antique.
And the same client brought in the above necklace set, also from Kenya, a gift from a Maasi with whom she studied.
And coincidently, a third client brought in this Maasi necklace a scant few days later.
I poked very small holes in key places through the mats, and then used a very fine jewelry wire to mount the items. Almost completely invisible and the item can be easily removed from framing package if ever necessary.
And FYI, my least favorite items to frame are dried flowers and taxidermy.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
One of our regulars brought in the above canvas, unframed. The client is a retired curator of one of the city's (and the World's) finest museums. In his spare time he likes to restore paintings. This one was purchased directly from the artist, Cesare Ricciardi 1892-1973, many years ago from his Pine Street studio.
The artist told our client that Philadelphia's most prominent artist, Thomas Eakins 1844-1916 (also the artist's friend and mentor), painted the hands on this particular canvas.
It is nearly impossible to prove as no photographic evidence exists of Eakins' hand touching this canvas, but if one accepts the word of my client (and I absolutely do) and the word of the artist, then this portrait is quite the jewel in my client's collection.
After studying this painting at length, I came to accept that the hands are stylistically different than the rest of this work.
But then I had an issue with the dates: Ricciardi was born in 1892, and Eakins died in 1916. Ricciardi would have been only 18-years-old in 1910, allowing for only a six year window when the two would have been artist-contemporaries.
I decided to take a field trip to view the largest collection of Eakins' portraits. (I did not have to go very far.)
There I learned that Eakins began his career in portraits later in his life, beginning in 1886. (I have subsequently learned that Ricciardi's portrait career was very early in his.) Of the Eakins collection, I found these most similar to the Ricciardi portrait that turned up in the shop.
Thomas Eakins, Portrait of Lucy Lewis, 1896
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Although I've been framing for over a decade, my work never fails to keep me interested. Sure it's great to get the big movie or corporate document jobs, but the most fascinating jobs are brought in by regular folks who want to preserve their most treasured posessions.
Above is a portrait brought in by a smart local businesswoman who really likes pugs. The framing here is just as amusing as the portrait, if I do say so myself.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This shot was snapped as I was running by with 2 frames under one arm and my camera in my free hand as I helped the Set Decorator load her van. For real.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
A Classical-Modern Framing Conundrum
FACT: the Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the greatest museums in the world. Its period rooms and incredible special exhibits always command international attention, but its modern collection, in my opinion, is unparalleled. I felt this way even during all the years I lived nearer to NYC, and was a member of the Met (whose 20th – 21st Century collection still remains inexplicably lackluster). It has been my pleasure to be a member of "The Art Museum" since the minute I moved to Philly.
Some stand-outs: (Left) Sol LeWitt, On A Blue Ceiling, Eight Geometric Figures: Circle, Trapezoid, Parallelogram, Rectangle, Square, Triangle, Right Triangle, X. And (Right) Marcel Duchamp, Etant Donnes (see the retrospective exhibit NOW!)
Occasionally, the Museum hosts tours of its frames (yay!), and I attend with bells on. A few years ago, during a tour of contemporary frames, my small group stood in the Cy Twombly gallery. The guide pointed out something that should have been obvious to me: most of the canvases in the room were too large to fit through the door. She offered no concrete explanation, but left it to us to silently ponder.
I have thought about it some: the canvases were certainly stretched in the room. I do not accept that the door was finished after canvases were in.
Canvas stretching is one of the services we offer at the shop. Usually, a client will come in with a rolled canvas and want it stretched on wooden stretcher bars and then framed. A traditional look will include a linen liner, and a more contemporary look will put the frame directly on the canvas. An ultramodern look might involve a floating frame OR a gallery-wrapped canvas.
A gallery wrap means the canvas is stretched and stapled to the back of the stretcher bars, rather than stapled to the sides, which is typical when the piece is going into a regular frame. When the canvas is stapled to the back of the bars, and the image extends onto the sides of the bars, then there is a clean, finished edge and suitable for display sans frame.
Here's a proper gallery wrap done at the shop.
My theory: Perhaps this was in the artist’s instructions….to have the stretch be as visceral (a crazy scribbly mess) as the art. However you feel about Twombly’s work, he may actually be quite thoughtful and consistent.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
The new issue of Philadelphia Home Magazine, a quarterly supplement to Philadelphia Magazine, includes a great article with designer Kevin Derrick, who is a local authority on the proper display of art. Knows his stuff. Singled us out (ok we're one of 2) as his favorite framer.
PDF of the article can be found here.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Our customers are real people…not just walking wallets ripe for the picking. Yes we make a profit on what we do, but we pride ourselves on not mugging them. It’s an industry image that we have had to struggle with ever since we opened in 1996. You know the scenario…walk in with a decent poster; get quoted well over 400 bucks for a simple frame job. Bingo…lost profits and a disillusioned consumer who probably won’t step into another frame shop for a decade. Because of this gouging behavior, thousands of potential customers have been thrown away and I have never even met them, let alone quoted them a price.
But alas, this post is not about money. No, quite the opposite.
It’s about cookies.
Delicious home-cooked-from-scratch cookies, brownies, lemon bars…anything that comes from the heart, requires a little effort, and tastes like a slice of heaven.
We love our customers (most of them anyway). We will go the extra mile for them whenever possible to show them that we value their business. The problem is, we don’t have a chart that quantifies that little something extra. Sure we could put a timer on it and ask for cold hard cash. But we are not Taxi Drivers.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. A Lady customer of ours realized that in a short three days her Wedding Anniversary was coming due. She had nothing but an old Blue Print of a Ship that her Husband had under the bed, hoping one day to frame it. She grabbed it and rushed it to us wondering if it was possible to get the job done.
Mind you, this was not some quickie dry mount with a cheap metal frame job. She wanted double matting, a fine wood frame, a good mount and quality glass. My wife was taking the order as I listened from the production room. It all sounded reasonable to me, but since I was going out of my way, I wanted something for my efforts.
I leaned out of the small room and asked, “Do you bake?”
She glanced at my wife, puzzled, and then back to me, “Uh, you mean like cookies or brownies?”
“Yes,” I responded, “I am a terrible baker and my kids love to eat ‘em. If I’m going to make you very happy in three days, could you bless me with some of your baked goods?”
She lit up with a big smile, “Absolutely, no problem, consider it done.”
In three short days, she had her husband’s present and my wife and kids had a tin full of home cooked brownies (with and without walnuts).
Now this sort of transaction pleases me in so many ways.
A] My kids have brownies
B] I’m a great cook but a terrible baker
C] The customer and I have entered into a relationship that doesn’t involve money.
D] It’s awful neighbourly.
E] It reminds me of times long past.
This brings us to our latest confectionary treat: Elaine is involved in several local groups (mostly involving mommies and/or crafts) where the subject quite often turns to art and subsequently framing. Now this is Center City Philadelphia, with a ton of fine restaurants, chefs and bakers. A few of which happen to be in these same circles. Elaine came to me with a request. Can she offer a bit of a discount to her friends in these groups?
This put my inner Ferengi into a little conflict. I thought about it for a moment…and asked,
“Do they bake?”
Monday, August 17, 2009
A client interested in conservation turned up at my door to discuss framing some Swedish stamps. He requested that they be handled only with gloves (hand oils), that they be mounted without any adhesive whatsoever, and that the stamps be floating in the framing design.
To float an item in framing terminology means to display every square micrometer of the item. Most often, items are matted, which means that an opening is cut in a mat to reveal the image. The opening is generally cut 1/8" - 1/4" smaller than the item to slightly cover the edges. This holds the item down and gives a sharp edge. Normally, items with unusual or interesting edges are floated so those characteristics can be viewed. The deckled edge of a stamp is a great example. Adhesives must be used in a float design. How else would the item stay up?
And then I remembered that my old buddy Chas had taken a class in encapsulation. A new mounting technique that is adhesive-free. Even in a float situation.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It started when dear friends/neighbors arrived at the shop with GORGEOUS oversize archival print photos.
Note the dark, ornate, Victorian frames selected. Perfect!
Detail with crazy-shape mat-opening, cut by moi!
These clients looked like nice, normal people. Who knew they had such dark, creepy sides lurking within? And what would possess them to think I could appreciate that aesthetic?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The topic of this blog came to me tonight as I was speaking with an old framing buddy. He was explaining that he had recently come through a period where he made a lot of double-sided frames for a variety of clients in a short period of time. Double-sided frames are hardly the norm...a regular shop maybe does one or two in a year, but things do tend to come in waves sometimes.
For instance, earlier this week, a client walked in off the street. She wanted to discuss a project she needed in a rush. She works in a very prestigious archive and needed to present 2 framed copies of a historical document to visiting foreign dignitaries. The document? Oh yeah, it was written and signed by George Washington.
I asked, "Do you know I framed an original George Washington letter last month?"
She claimed she was unaware.
"I can authenticate that signature for you," I said jokingly to the prestigious archivist.
Evidently my historical document humor needs work.
Anyhoo, I don't recall ever framing George Washington stuff before, and here I was being honored by framing 2 unrelated important docs in a month. Hunh.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
A Guestblog by Frugal Frames Owner, Mark Muhlig
This is a piece from my own personal collection of Comic Art. Charles Burns has been creating extremely wacky characters for years. I can remember when I first read “DogBoy” In the large format RAW comic series.
Dog Girl is pictured naked in the moonlit forest night, partaking in her treasured favorite meal…a bologna sandwich on white bread. She seems deep in thought…in the zone. I wouldn’t want to disturb her.
Generally, when people see a black and white image, they tend to think” I know, I’ll keep it simple with a white mat and a black frame…I wouldn’t want to take the attention away from the piece.” In my mind, and our store, nothing could be further from the truth. Surrounding the art isn’t framing the art.
Dog Girl required peaceful natural framing to extend the foliage around her. A nest if you will. A safe place to eat and contemplate. The art and the frame must become one unified piece.
We started with the matting. I once considered this the UGLIEST mat I had ever seen. It’s called Tamarack by Bainbridge. It kind of looks like Jackson Pollack ate way too much broccoli and then tossed it up onto a matboard. Regardless, I knew it would be perfect.
The frame took a little bit more time to get right. My wife and I went back and forth on a few different frames, finally settling on a roughly finished, brownish-green, deeply setback cube. ( an Arcadia product…very inexpensive.)
For the finishing touch, we inserted a Larson Juhl Acropolis fillet to give separation between the mat and frame. The final combination giving a feeling of bark, branches and impressionist foliage.
I consider this my best attempt so far at ‘Anti-Black and White’ framing. I think Dog Girl would agree.
Monday, July 27, 2009
- A gilded wood frame (gold, silver, pewter, copper) with architectural elements or carving detail.
- A suede mat--the texture is similar to crushed velvet and makes me think of the luxurious lining of a jewelry box
- A fillet (thin strip of moulding inside the mat)
- museum glass
I recently had a wonderfully agreeable client ;)