Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You're Dead to Me, Gramercy!

alt title: The Job That Killed Its Framer
I titled this piece and wrote crazy stuff in this space two weeks ago, but pulled it almost immediately. Dear Me-in-the-future: Do not blog while exhausted and beginning a second beer.

An extraordinary job came through the shop two weeks ago: 9 giant abstract oils for a major hotel. They were painted on solid wood and were sooo HEAVY and also still wet(!). But that's neither here nor there. The job was particularly difficult because of a highly unusual stack (stacked frames are 2 or more mouldings fastened together to create a wider or deeper moulding) with a very sensitive finish. The moulding style is Gramercy from Larson-Juhl, and it is modern, simple, inexpensive, and really great-looking. (However it scratches so easily one need only think about it too long from an adjoining room to cause damage.) It is available in silver and black and I have some of it hanging in my own home if you need an endorsement to proceed with your order.

Gramercy black

framed oils

completed order awaiting pick-up

stack side view

This stack is difficult because it bevels a square moulding inward and is then attached to the back of another square moulding. The result, I have to say, was beautiful in a way I hadn't expected. It is really attentive to the depth of the art and the look from all sides. Fitting these was probably one of the biggest challenges of my career, and I wasn't even the one who had to cut the frames (thanks, Mark!).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fillet Frenzy

This glorious image was emailed to me by a client so I could view my finished framing in situ. I often wonder how some projects will be displayed and this is perfection.

Here is the piece in the shop:

The customer brought me his own frame which I believe he said was a flea market find. The art is tiny...maybe 4"x6." He asked for a neutral mat, and then we started to look at fillets. Fillets are thin strips of moulding that fit under the mat as in this case, or can be fitted to enhance frame mouldings, see lower right. Fillets create a museum-style look to just about anything. So, he was talking my language. And then, when I figured that the image and frame sizes were set, and the placement of the art could either be centered or have a weighted bottom (top and sides mat exposures are equal, bottom is heavier), the client actually finished my sentence for me in favor of the weighted bottom. And we were in love (in strictly a framer/client way)!

A weighted bottom is typical of galleries and museums and homes where someone within has gone to art school. I have read many reasons why this is done, one of them involves the way art used to be hung, salon style (ala The Barnes) and angled away from the wall from the top, so a mat with a weighted bottom would create a visual illusion of it being even all the way around. Now art is typically hung gallery style, one piece every few feet at eye-level, but the weighted bottom remains to give the art sort of a pedestal to sit on.

And now to see the piece in situ, among his amazing mouldings and hung at just the proper height (eye level from the chair), I love him even more. Come back anytime, beautiful stranger!

Here are some more recent fillet jobs. These two each have double fillets! Double the fun!

And this last one is just lovely in a gilded frame and suede mat.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't do it, Martha

Don't get me wrong, I like Martha Stewart. I can even admit that I am a subscriber to her magazine (I especially love her Halloween issues!). And you know what else? The lady knows framing. I have seen her on various programs doing framing projects, and noted her obvious education. However, (and I know this is hardly current), her magazine published a series of framing projects last year that still has me rattled. Oh, the framing is sound--but the look and techniques are so antiquated!

The project detailed the proper execution of french lines, a practice that has barely been seen professionally since the 80s (and really tricky to do perfectly!), printed mats (yuck!), and paper wrapped hexagonal shapes to emulate old-timey scrapbooks (the complete opposite of contemporary framing!).
I realize Martha has the power and influence to set trends and break convention, but this is my turf, lady, and I will have to offer these services if your little vignettes catch on! So far so's been a few months since the projects were published and clients have not clamored to my door demanding french lines, but when they do, I'm sending Martha the bill for my Rapidographs, posh European gouache, and pain relievers.