You have bought a prized piece of art for your home or business but the frame you decide upon will make a huge difference in how that piece will look on the wall. Framing can complement the piece and make it stand out from its surroundings. It enhances the piece to suit one’s personal style. Take an oil painting from the gallery and it will look completely different in your home or office, so a new frame would be needed to match its new environment. It sounds easy but it can be overwhelming when you look at the vast choices for frames. But what can you do to ensure your artwork is going to look its best? This article will give you the basics and point you in the right direction.
Framing is an art
Choosing the right frame begins with choosing the right frame designer. There are a lot of technical aspects to proper framing, but there is room for creativity as well. That’s where experience comes in. You need to be able to trust the person framing your prized possession and great frame designers are ones that use their eyes and their ears. “ A great frame designer cares about what the client wants and is able to translate what they want into what they receive,” says Carol LaMarche, also a certified professional framer and co-owner of Picture This! Framing & Gallery. “It’s all about personal taste. We can frame a picture a number of different ways and have it look good but what a great frame designer needs to be thinking about is will it look great in the space it’s going to be hanging in.”
Listening to the client is important and keeping those communication lines open is vital for the client. Choosing the right frame requires you to be comfortable having a conversation with the design person and speaking up if it something that doesn’t suit your taste.
There are certain basic rules of framing that you should be aware of, like oil paintings don’t get mats or glass but watercolours will. A good framer can educate you on some of those guidelines and steer you away from those common mistakes and even the uncommon ones that people make like choosing certain colours or styles. Sometimes, however, there arises times where rules may not work for the client and it’s up to a frame designer to find a solution that works for everyone. “We had a client who bought an oil painting and it was pretty valuable. She was hanging it in her home and she had very active family,” explains Carol. “She wanted her oil painting behind glass. She was concerned about what her kids were going to do and wanted to make sure the painting was protected. We solved the problem by covering it in a technically appropriate way with acrylic. It was safely framed and safe from her kids. In that case we solved her problem for her and that is what we do.”
Understanding the process
The technical skill needed to properly frame a piece of art or memorabilia is extensive. Certified professional picture framers take professional training and are tested on their knowledge. Of course, as a client, you won’t need to know all the little details and changes in technology that goes on in the industry. But understanding the process that goes into finding the ideal frame can be helpful. “We’ve seen so many pictures frames over the years that we can visualize where it’s going, however a client who hasn’t done it before can’t visualize it so we walk them through the whole process until they’re comfortable with their choice.”
Getting an eye for other art
Learning that process and understanding the different mats and glass that can be used will make you appreciate other art too. Seeing something in the wrong frame can lead you to making a choice about a piece of art that otherwise you might have liked. Visualizing the art in a frame that suits your taste may lead you to view the artwork in a different way. “We can teach them what to look for,” says Carol. “Then when they are looking elsewhere they will be aware of what they are looking at.”
When you start looking at art from the perspective of the frame designer it will add to your art shopping experience. As you see more and more art, you will see that art and frames are very personal. Your taste is unique to you and that should be reflected in the frame you choose. Finding your ideal frame means learning about yourself and what it is you like. Even after doing it for 35 years Carol and the other framers and designers at Picture This! Framing & gallery are still learning. “We’re learning all the time,” says Carol. “Anybody that loves what they do likes to learn and pass it on. We attend seminars, discover new techniques, see what’s new, meet leaders in our industry and learn. Learning can be fun.”
If you are looking to gain more knowledge about framing, Carol hosts a seminar for the casual art fan called What’s in a Frame? The 2 hour seminar includes a little bit of history of frames and goes into more detail about what goes into making an ideal frame. “We try to make the technical parts really fun,” says Carol. “The goal of the seminar is “This is what we do and this is why we do it.” So if someone is out somewhere else they know what to look for. The choice is so wide and it lets people know that choice is available to them.”
In the end, finding the ideal frame is different for each person. What is important is finding the right frame design specialist, learning the process in deciding how a frame can enhance your art and then using that knowledge to work with a frame designer on getting the most from your art.