June 23rd, 2013

Bon Jour, Mes Amis!  BDF-Paris-Eiffel Tower 2013

My wife, Sarah, and I just returned from a week and a half in Paris, France, so our blog is a little later than normal this month. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year and decided to go to the most romantic of all cities: Paris. I now understand the old saying (regarding American Doughboys or soldiers after WWI) when they said, "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm when they've seen the City of Lights?" What an amazing place! The architecture, the food, the museums and monuments, everything about it is a feast for the eyes and the senses. The exchange rate was about $1.35 to the Euro, so it wasn't too bad. Prices were what one might expect in a large urban environment like New York, London, Chicago, etc.

As a picture framer, I was enthralled and amazed by the art (and its framing) in the many museums and sites we visited, to name a few:  Musee d'Orsay, The Louvre, Musee de l'Orangerie, Versaille, Musee de Cluny and Musee de l'Armee (military history museum). I highly recommend that you spend some time in Paris. It is a treat beyond words.

Just to show you a small sample: Here is the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versaille:

Versaille Palace Hall of Mirrors

We visited it on a Monday, figuring the crowds wouldn't be so bad. Boy, were we wrong! You have never seen so many tourists in one place (outside of the Louvre!). Still, it was well worth the train ride out to visit it.     

The one thing that struck me the most, after reflecting on everything that I had seen there, is that there are no tall buildings in most of Paris. There are a few on the outskirts, but virtually nothing is taller than 6-8 stories. The streets are narrow and winding and are filled with charming shops at every turn. When someone visits Chicago, it is a very, very different experience, since most buildings are very tall in downtown Chicago. The contrast could not be more striking. Our town is just shy of two hundred years old, while Paris has been occupied for over 2000 years. Of course, ours burned down in 1871, so we had a chance to clear away much of the old and rebuild new.

Fish Fossils Framed Fabulously

I could not resist the opportunity to use a little alliteration to title this next story. A client of ours brought in some fossils of prehistoric fish that were preserved in layers of limestone, and she wanted them framed together in a shadowbox frame. It brought back memories of when my brothers and I would go fossil hunting and have shoe boxes of fossils and rocks under our beds, trading them like baseball cards.

Here's the design that our shop manager, Dana, came up with: 

Fossil Fish Shadowbox  Fossil Fish Shadowbox Detail #1






 fossil Fish Shadowbox Detail #2






 fossil Fish Shadowbox Detail #3






 Fossil Fish Shadowbox Detail #4

fossil Fish Shadowbox Detail #5







The frame is a Larson-Juhl 227517 Ansley Coffee Brown Cap 3/4" wide, made to a size 8 x 20 3/4.  The box, itself, is made from Bainbridge 4097 Camel Linen fabric.The fossils were mounted using a custom rig fabricated from piano wire and heat-shrink tubing. The piano wire is stiff enough to hold its shape when bent and the heat shrink tubing is made from polyolefin, a plastic that is archival and stable and o.k. to have come in contact with your art or items being framed. 2 wires were used in an "X" shaped configuration, with the intersection of the two being sewn down tightly to a piece of mat board cut smaller than the fossils. Then, several inches away from the intersection of each wire, each of the 4 arms were sewn down a bit looser to allow for flexing. It's a technique that we learned from James Miller, MCPF, who gave seminars at the West Coast Art and Frame Show that both Dana and I have attended (and he wrote a great book that shows some of these techniques). Our thanks to Jim for his kind guidance.

The glass used was Artglass Water White Anti-Reflective glass, so as to not obscure the details of the fossils with any reflection. We love framing stuff like this! It is challenging and fun to do.

Framing designed and executed by Dana L. Fisher, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of our client. 

"There was a crooked man and he had a crooked frame...."

No, our client is not crooked. However, his artwork was and he asked Dana, our shop manager, if she could frame it in a very unorthodox way:  With a crooked frame that mimicked the art's odd shape. Dana said she would give it a shot. Figuring out the angles to join the frame segments together was a bit challenging, but she pulled it off:

Crooked Art in Crooked Frame  Crooked Frame Detail Left










 Crooked Frame Detail Right


The frame is 17 1/4 x 23 1/8 in size and is made from Larson-Juhl 613674 Cranbrook Ebonized Walnut. It is glazed with True-Vu Optium Museum Acrylic, since we could not use glass due to the odd angles at which we would have had to cut it. Also, we wanted a glazing that was clear, anti-reflective, u/v protective and scratch resistant. Optium Museum Acrylic is all those things, though costlier than even museum glass, but well worth it.

Frame designed and executed by Dana L.Fisher, CPF

Art by Alpha Lubicz

Framed art photos shown by kind permission of Troy Klyber.

Floater Frame Inquiry and Answer

Because I had wi-fi in my Paris hotel room, I was able to answer this inquiry from a gentleman in Woodstock, Virginia, who wrote asking the following:

"When mounting a canvas work in a floater frame, is it normal to have the display edge or front of the canvas sit below the front edge of the frame or can you also have the canvas rise above the frame by, say, 1/4"? In other words, when hanging on the wall, the canvas face or front will protrude 1/4" past the front edge of the frame. To that end, is there a standard that the framing industry uses for whether the canvas should sit just below the front edge, level with the front edge, or just above the front edge of the frame?"

Here is how I answered him:  "Normally, when I specify a floater frame, I will mount the canvas either flush with the front of the floater frame or just below it. I almost never have it protrude beyond the front of the frame. The reason for this is that, when someone brushes by the frame, the canvas may be impacted in some way if it protrudes. If it is flush or, better yet, just below the front face of the frame (recessed), it will be protected. The frame would take the impact first instead of the art. There is no industry standard, just common sense.

You can, of course, have the canvas extrude from the frame. There is no right or wrong way to use the versatile floater frame. One thing I love to do is to stack another frame around the floater, covering the front face of the floater with the lip of a new, outer frame. It lets you use a frame that is, visually, more stimulating than the simple, thin-edged floater. It still allows you to show everything on the canvas face right up to the edge without losing any of it when the lip of the frame covers the outer 1/4" or so, yet gives the whole composition a more sophisticated look."

Many people take modern art and put minimalist frames on them (especially the artists), assuming that any frame will detract from the overall effect of the art. As a consequence of this way of thinking, the floater frame was developed to allow the canvas to be secured in a hangable framework with a minimum of frame showing and the fact that the front lip of the frame does not cover the canvas. In fact, most canvases are mounted in floater frames by pulling away from the inside face about 1/4"-1/2" (hence, it appears to "float" within the frame). In some cases, the art looks better in a simple floater. Still, I have seen the power of a well designed frame: It can greatly enhance the final display of the art and need not detract from it. 


The day after I published this blog, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in the playoff finals. Chicago is a big sports town and championships like this are big events. We have, coming, some new panoramic prints of the Blackhawks clinching in triple overtime in Boston and would like to suggest that if you are a big Blackhawks hockey fan, and you have ticket stubs from the Boston game or any of the playoff games, let us show you how we can frame your print, ticket stubs and any other memorabilia associated with this historic sports event. The prints will run $35 each and can be sent anywhere the US Mail or UPS goes. If you want one, framed or unframed, just email me through our Contact Us page.I will email you when the prints are in and you can call us with credit card information at that time.

Hwks Win at Boston 2013 

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