June 6th, 2010

Our blog is, like many others, a statement of opinion. I have chosen, however, to restrict my opinions to those involving picture framing, design choices and other topics that relate strictly to our mission:  To remind our current clients why they should continue to come back to us and why new and prospective framing clients should definitely check us out. Our goal is to provide you with the very best quality framing materials, the most innovative, eye-popping framing design possible and to give you the best service we can at a price we can both afford.

Special Purpose Mats

While I touched upon Signature Mats in our May blog, I'd like to mention a bit more about them here. The most common uses of signature mats seem to be for weddings, where the bride and groom have us cut a mat with 4 to 6 inch borders around an opening that will, ultimately, house a picture of them in their wedding finery. One trick that we found useful when designing them was to cut a small "V" groove around the mat opening (about 1/2" out from the opening). This prevents people from signing too close to the mat opening. Another useful technique for keeping them from signing too close to the outer edge and having the frame cover part of what they wrote is to put a frame on it, even if it is temporary and not the frame that it will, ultimately, end up in.  Signature mats look especially nice in 8 ply thick mats, which give you a very deep, dramatic bevel around the opening. 

Another specialty mat that is used a lot is one where there is a photograph or print image of some sort in the primary mat opening and an inscription appearing in a smaller or "keyhole" opening below it. We do a lot of these for corporate and non-profit clients. Usually, the inscription takes the form of either a typeset laserprinted insert, or an engraved metal plate. In the case of the former, we end up typesetting it part of the time, and part of the time clients bring them in already to go. In the case of engraved plates in brass or silver, we usually typeset what we need and then bring that to our engraver with instructions. When we get the plate back, it gets set into an opening that is usually 1/4" larger than the plate all around. The mat board the plate is attached to is, most often, the same color as the primary mat. We use silicone adhesive to adhere the plate, as most double sided tapes will dry out and let go with time. One really nice touch that we use with this sort of mat is that we run a "V" groove all around the primary opening and then have it come down and terminate in the middle of either side of the keyhole opening for the inscription.  This pulls the two openings together visually and looks great! 

So, for that "going-away-'cause-they-got-promoted" frame or whatever the occasion, let us show you how creative we can be to help you make a heartfelt statement.

The Science of Shipping Framed Art

While it is not particularly well known, we pack and ship a lot of framed art. We offer this service to our framing customers for artwork that we have framed that needs to go elsewhere. Most people who pack their own frames for shipping end up with damaged frames on the other end. Our UPS driver told us that if the package cannot tolerate a 10 foot drop off a conveyor belt, then it is not packed well enough. We took a lesson from one of our suppliers, Larson-Juhl, who would ship framed models of their newest mouldings to us for display in our store. I was so impressed with the techniques they used that I adopted them for our own use. My shipping record is pretty darn good, as a result, with very few framed items arriving with any damage.

Here is the gist of what we do: The artwork gets foam-lined, corrugated corners and then a brown kraft paper wrap to protect the finish. If it is a frame with a fragile finish, we wrap the framed art in thin, flexible foam first before paper wrapping. Then, we encapsulate this package in a tight skin of corrugated cardboard. This gets wrapped in heavy duty bubble wrap. Finally, it gets sandwiched between two pieces of corrugated the precise shape of the inside of the box we will be using. The frame is suspended in the middle of this 2 piece, corrugated sandwich to create an empty crush zone around the perimeter.  A lot of frames shipped this way go in boxes that are 18 x 24 x 4 or 24 x 30 x 5. If there is still some room in the box, we may slip additional panels of corrugated or styrofoam to fill the gaps. This may seem like overkill, but there is nothing worse than spending several hundred dollars to frame an item and then have it get trashed by UPS or FedEx when, for $20 to $30 more, you could have had it packed professionally and properly. 

We prefer to ship items that are 30 x 40 or smaller by UPS or FedEx air or ground. Much larger than that or a lot heavier than normal may require crating and shipping by Common Carrier (truck). If it can go by UPS or FedEx ground, and it is very large, it may incurr some heavy charges for Oversize Handling.

Client Links: Chase Markovich

In our "Idea Wall" section of this website, under the heading of Unusual Frame Shapes, there is a piece of art that is a montage of cat images that morph into that of a Lion when seen from a distance. Check out Chase Markovich's website to see more on this piece of work. He is a very nice guy and really talented. Go to: www.etsy.com/shop.ChaseMarkovich to check him out.

Client Links: Tracy Poyser

A client of ours, Tracy Poyser, brought in a number of stunning photographs for us to frame for her show that opened today, June 6th. Many of these shots are outdoor images taken around the world and output on metallic based paper. The results were very impressive. Tracy's show will run until June 28th at the Sunshine Gallery at Unity, located in Chicago at 1925 W. Thome Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood between Granville and Devon, just west of Ridge.To check out her website, go to:  www.tracypoyserphotoart.zenfolio.com

D-DAY Note

While many of the men and women from "The Greatest Generation" (as Tom Brokaw put it) are no longer with us, I feel it is incumbent upon those of us who benefitted from their sacrifices during the Second World War to pause and remember them on this very important day in American military history. My father and his brother both served in the Navy and Army during the war, as did nearly all my Uncles. While there is nothing great or glorious about war, there certainly is when it comes to the human spirit that gives one the strength to carry on through unimagineable adversity. Our hat is off to all of our service men and women who defended their country from the very beginning in 1776 through the present day. We owe our way of life to your strength and service. Thank you.

Contact Us

As always, if you have any questions about anything on our website, or would like to make a comment about anything appearing in this blog, simply go to the contact us form and email us. Thanks for visiting.