Sophisticated Utility - Exploring purposeful living with appreciation and intention.

Framing Patina

Jello Mold  8x10.JPG

From the moment I saw these little Jello molds in a thrift store many years ago, I just knew they were special.  What I was going to do with them I had no idea.  They just needed to belong to me.

Maybe it was the shape?  Or possibly the tarnished shades of patina?  It may also have been from a distant memory at Grandma's house?  I imagine it was all of these traits that drew me closer.

One afternoon I decided to "showcase" the little treasure with my camera.  I set up a simple white scene and started shooting.  It wasn't until I reviewed the images on my computer that it quickly became apparent this little Jello mold was perfectly majestic in it's own right.  I immediately ordered prints on cotton rag smooth matte paper and waited for the arrival.

While I was waiting for my print to arrive, I continued my journey on how to properly frame this print.  A perfectly majestic print demands an equally majestic frame!

When it comes to frames I have three criteria:

1. The frame MUST be solid wood

Over the past several months I have learned a ton about frames.  I prefer the older solid wood constructed frames and the frame details should be chosen to enhance and compliment the print.  Quite often I will discover a beautiful frame that can be torn down to it's bones without having the exact print to match it with.  Whether the frame is very ornate or simple in style, as long it is solid wood, structurally sound with strong corners and craftsmanship, it is a keeper.   

2. The frame MUST be re-used/recycled 

Although there are hundreds of online frame manufacturer options, I love the thrill of the vintage hunt.  I have trained my eye to scour thrift stores, garage sales, and antique shops to score the best options.  It is my practice to completely block out the art housed in these frames and to study the construction, confirm the size (from the back), and to determine if the frame will house the mat style and backing board I prefer.  I have pulled so many staples, points, hangers, and nails out of these gems to know a good frame from a bad one. What looks good from the front can be totally unusable upon closer inspection!  Size is also imperative as I prefer to use 16x20 and 11x14 mat sizes.  By making sure the frames's "art housing" is sized properly ensures it will become part of the collection.  Again, what looks perfect from the front can be a huge disappointment when the deconstruction begins and the size opening for the art is non-standard or wonky! 

3. The frame MUST uniquely showcase the print in both color and style

I have a pretty healthy collection of wood thrift store and vintage frames.  Some are heavy and ornate, others are simple and streamlined.  Once I have them home, they are completely torn down to the frame structure.  It is also interesting to identify the rabbet depth which determines the backing I will need to use as well as to decide whether or not the existing glazing (glass or acrylic) can be reused.  I then begin the process of matching the frame to a print and determining the best frame color finish updates (if any) needed.  It is fun to watch the prints and frames "match up" as they are seated next to each other.  I know instantly when the print/frame match meets my vision or if I need to keep hunting

The nature of my photography style lends itself perfectly to this framing scheme.  The images, when printed, tell me how the frame should be finished to create a completely new work of art.  It is the vision, the print, and the frame that all must come together for the perfect fit.

This brings me to a few final thoughts to share.  This afternoon I will be completing the framing of this little Jello mold and can't wait to show you the outcome.  This completed piece will also hold a very special place in my heart as it helped define my style and focus for a collection.

I have identified the frame color scheme I will be using for my upcoming exhibition in August 2018 and it was a delightful surprise.  Something different and perfectly fitted to my work!

The next time you are considering framing, try these hints out.  Try something different with style and color, lay your artwork next to or inside the empty from and just listen for your heart's sound of a beautiful match.

Showcase your art in any medium with a beautiful wood frame.  Take your time in the hunt, restore it from it's bare bones, and use care and patience to mat, back, and finish the piece with quality materials.  You will then feel the beauty of framing patina and having a work of art that will last for years.

If you have questions or thoughts on this subject, please leave them below in the comments.  I look forward to hearing from you and have a great rest of your day!


NEXT UP - The framed finale of the Jello print!!