Oversize Framing

I came across this great post by Richard Christie on his Framemaker blog. It’s about the labor, materials and cost that goes into framing oversize works with diagrams of different techniques for each.

It’s very informative if you’ve ever tried to get something very large framed and wondered either A) why your local framer couldn’t do it or B) why it’s so damn expensive.

A Famous Framer

This interesting post from The Frame Blog outlines a framing request by William Hogarth for his painting Paul before Felix, 1748. It was given to the London Framer Gideo Gosset to frame, who was part of an extensive framing family (which is outlined on the National Portrait Gallery website).

‘… it being thus Inclin’d will make ornaments on the sides improper, so that a Frame only is necessary.  I have enquired of Mr Gosset a Frame Maker in Barwick [sic] Street about the price of one some what in the manner of the sketch below, he believes it may come to about 30 pound Guilt, to about half as much unguilt and about five pounds less if my Lord Windhams [sic] armes are omitted. Frames may be carried up to a great expense but he thinks one cannot be made in proportion to the picture for less.’ 

And even hundreds of years ago, they were still complaining about the cost of framing. Some things never change.

pookascrayon asked: Adrienne, do you know anything about canvas repair? We have a painting my mother did, and it received a nasty gash through a long story I won't bother to relate.

I have not personally repaired a torn canvas before. That’s usually a job a framer will pass on to a conservator. Many framers have a trusted conservator that they use regularly.

If you are set on DIY, depending on how crafty you are and how bad the gash is, this may be a job you could tackle yourself. It’s a pretty involved job though which involves sewing the tear and repainting the damaged areas on the front of the canvas. All in all it seems to require the expertise of a professional. The images below are from the Gainsborough Products website which sells a kit for canvas repair. 

Since a painting from your mother, if nothing else, holds sentimental value, I’d highly recommend investing in a professional fix and finding a local conservator. A good one can practically work miracles. Just make sure to find someone based on recommendations and ask to see images of their work. You wouldn’t want your painting to turn into this botched restoration effort

Hope this helps!

Adrienne

This architect may have taken the idea of a house frame a little too far. Professor Anders Wilhelmson of  Wilhelmson Arkitektor designed this housing project in Sweden, north of Helsingborg. The exteriors are made of white enamel panels with cast-aluminum gold-plated window frames. 

Although it’s definitely interesting and would be fun to see in person, I can’t imagine living in a place that looks like a gallery turned inside out. Would all your frames inside have to match the same ornate gilded frame style as you see on the exterior? 

(Source: visualtherapyonline.com)

Tools of the Trade: Canvas Stretching
Stretching a canvas is easy with some practice and it’s even easier with the right tools. The basic canvas pliers and manual staple gun will get the job done nicely (and to be honest just using your hands will work too), especially if stretching a canvas is not something you do very often.
If you’re looking to upgrade, or plan to stretch a lot of canvases, a heavy duty canvas plier with a large grip and leverage bar helps with even tension and requires less muscle. Also, an electric or pneumatic staple gun makes stapling quicker and easier. 
You can find these tools at various retailers all over the internet. Here are a few:
Canvas pliers:
Twin Brooks - Heavy Duty Canvas Pliers
Chrome Canvas Pliers
Staple Guns:
Arrow Chrome Staple Gun - Light Duty
Arrow Electric Staple Gun

Tools of the Trade: Canvas Stretching

Stretching a canvas is easy with some practice and it’s even easier with the right tools. The basic canvas pliers and manual staple gun will get the job done nicely (and to be honest just using your hands will work too), especially if stretching a canvas is not something you do very often.

If you’re looking to upgrade, or plan to stretch a lot of canvases, a heavy duty canvas plier with a large grip and leverage bar helps with even tension and requires less muscle. Also, an electric or pneumatic staple gun makes stapling quicker and easier. 

You can find these tools at various retailers all over the internet. Here are a few:

Canvas pliers:

Twin Brooks - Heavy Duty Canvas Pliers

Chrome Canvas Pliers

Staple Guns:

Arrow Chrome Staple Gun - Light Duty

Arrow Electric Staple Gun

Don’t Be Cheap - Be Smart

The easiest way to get bad service from a framer is to walk into their shop and say:

"I need a cheap frame."

Everything else you say after that becomes gibberish. It’s not that we only want to work with rich people (well, not realistically at least) but that statement implies that you have no idea what we do, what goes into it and the expertise needed to do it. Not to mention, ‘cheap’ implies poor quality and the last thing any self-respecting custom framer wants to produce is a cheap frame.

Honestly though, we’re used to calmly and politely steering this conversation into a more reasonable direction.  We will explain your options and why you may want to increase your budget…and there are some really good reasons to increase your budget (but that’s for another post).

If you are stuck to that tight budget, there are ways to get great custom aspects of your frames without the custom prices - and without insulting your local framer.

1) Know what goes into custom framing

There are many parts to a frame and a lot of steps in the process. Knowing what the framer does in the workshop will help you ask more informed questions. 

2) Learn what parts you can DIY

You may not have a mat cutter or a chop saw, but if you have some common tools at home, you may be able to put all the custom cut elements together yourself saving on the cost of labor.

3) Get multiple frames at once - maximize on bulk discounts

Most framers offer bulk discounts since using the same moulding for multiple frames of the same size saves on time and material. Ask your framer what the minimum number is for a bulk discount.

4) Know the materials

Learn the difference between regular, conservation and museum quality materials. They vary in prices and quality - know what you need and ask for it specifically. A lot of framers will make assumptions and add the cost accordingly to avoid the tedious conversation of explaining every material choice and price difference. You can ask for a break down of the materials and cost. If you’re framing some postcards to brighten your hallway, you probably don’t need premium materials. 

John Jones: A full service Bespoke Framing Company in London, England

They frame, they guild, they print, they stretch, they install. In fact, there is not much that John Jones does not do. 

John Jones has positioned themselves as the luxury brand of framing. Their website is beautiful and takes you through all of their services with pictures and videos describing their process and philosophy. My favorite area of the website is the Case Studies section which describes various projects done for different clients with pictures of the final work installed.

They boast a very prestigious client list including a number of galleries, museums and well known artists, such as David Hockney and Francis Bacon. In their studios hangs a piece gifted from Bacon on the wall. They explain framing this piece on the website:

One of our primary concerns when framing an artwork is selecting the correct protective picture glazing. This piece has been glazed with water white ultra violet light filtered frame glass. John Jones also offer a low glare coating which can reduce reflections within frame glazing. However, Bacon preferred to maintain these reflections in order to encourage the viewer to see and recognise a part of themselves within the artwork. All of these minor details combine to produce a unique framing solution, designed with the approval of the artist. (John Jones Framers)

It’s details like that which make a framer great. 

I’ve seen this image a couple times before but only in passing so I didn’t realize that the stripes down these stairs are made of painted frame moudlings. Of course this made me like it even more. So clever.

The work is called ‘Framed’ and its by Stuart Haygarth for the London Design Festival in 2010 and the stairs are in the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

The work aligns the structural architecture of staircases with the ‘right angle’ sample mouldings commonly displayed throughout the picture framing industry.

The analogy of those two shapes gave me the idea of cladding the staircase in the multitudes of mouldings available to create a work akin to 3D graffiti on a traditional staircase. Reminiscent of the yellow brick road in ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ a marble pathway clear of frames enables the viewer to walk through the installation.

-Stuart Haygarth from www.stuarthaygarth.com

It’s nice to see frame moulding used out of context. I feel like it’s a common occurrence in a frame shop to see moulding used for a multitude of things besides a frame - make-shift shelving, knick-knack boxes, rulers, strange framer tools - the list goes on. But I suppose most people don’t come by surplus frame moulding very easily…which brings me to my next discovery…

John Jones framing of London provided the moulding for Haygarth’s project. I don’t know if you’ve heard of or seen their frames, but they are beautiful…and worth their own post. Coming soon…

I’ve always had a hard time throwing away the scraps from frames - I tend to sequester them in my studio, hoping for a brilliant idea. 

The men at United Measures have found a great one, they make new toys from old scraps.

 Photos – Lucy Feagins of thedesignfiles.net

I can’t get enough of these beautifully detailed frames by Ryan Ward of United Measures in Melbourne, Australia. Maybe one day I’ll splurge on myself and buy a few for my favorite pieces.