Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dog Girl

in Glorious Living Color

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.

This here is Dog Girl.

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

Family & Community

I love framing vintage family photos, and anyone who has ever framed with me in the past knows my design style on these types of images. If I have my druthers and the client is agreeable, vintage family photos would be framed with ALL of the following components:

  • 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 ;)

After these framing packages were designed with the client, an order for materials was placed with our distributor. I was informed that top mat of the uppermost design was discontinued and there was no more to be had at the manufacturers! The client and I spent a lot of time choosing that color, and felt it important not just to the design of this piece, but to coordinate with other framed treasures in her home's entry.

What to do? I went to the framing community for help. Did you know there is an online social network just for framers? Yep. It's called The Grumble and it's pretty much like Framing Myspace. (There's a similar thing for knitters, too--you can find me at either place, user name: supereight.) I asked if anyone out there had a piece of that color left in the small size I needed, and lo, Lori from Gallery of Framing in OH responded to my query and shipped the same day.
The framing world is very small and remarkably supportive. I did not know Lori, she didn't owe me any favors, but she helped me out and in short order. In the past I have even asked for help from a shop competing in my own market and received it. I really am very proud to be a part of this industry.

Friday, July 3, 2009


The art here is a very limited edition c-print from the vault of Baron Wolman, Rolling Stone photographer from 1967-1970. It's a great image of Janis Joplin--she's decked out in opulent fabrics from across the globe, more glam than I've ever seen her, yet such a fresh-faced, young, happy smile--a real innocence about her. Wolman was famous for his informal portraits.

The customer purchased the photo directly from the photographer, who remembered a sweet detail about the shoot: Janis was nervously humming the whole time.

Great materials are used in the framing of this piece: A shimmery navy shantung silk mat (grain running vertically, of course!) 3TS/4B, a champagne gold large beaded fillet to echo the eclectic textiles and motifs in the photograph, and a classic extruded museum frame in an identical finish to the fillet. Glazed with Museum glass from TruView.

And once again, I have given you the gift of a large format upload, just click to enlarge.