August 24th, 2013

Follow-Up on Canvas Installation

Installed Houtin Canvases 

As mentioned in a previous blog, our shop manager, Dana Fisher, received a commission by Bernard Derroitte of Armstrong Fine Art to stretch three large canvases that had original drawings on translucent paper adhered to them. The drawings, by Francois Houtin, were sold to the art dealer's client on the Chicago Gold Coast and needed to be stretched and installed. The catch: The canvases had to fit into pre-built niches in the wall, had to fit snugly, and had to be inserted straight-in to the recesses in which they would reside. This meant that we could not use wire, d-rings or french cleats. Short of gluing them to the wall or putting long screws in through the face of the canvases, how could we do this? After putting our heads together, Dana and I figured out that we could Velcro them to the wall, using a 3M product called Dual-Lock. It is a super heavy-duty Velcro product that has a hook-like element on both halves of the equation. With enough Dual-Lock, you could velcro a small boy to the wall!

Dana attached this Dual-Lock velcro to the back of the canvas (it has pressure-sensitive adhesive on it) and used heavy staples to keep it in place. Then, she did the same thing to the wall niches and inserted the canvases into the niches. Pushing on the stretcher bars on the perimeter, the velcro locked the canvases in place! Simple and elegant, a real life-saver.

Below are some photos of the canvases after stretching them, still at our shop:

Houtin Canvases after stretching  Houtin Canvas Drawing Detail

Houtin Canvas Stretching Detail






  The main canvas, in the middle, was 92 1/4" wide, 73 1/8" tall. The canvas on the left side was 38 7/8 x 73 1/8 and the one on the right was 38 7/8 x 73 1/4". Dana had to measure the niches very carefully and many times to make sure that the canvases would fit with little gapping. Fortunately, the niches were pretty square.

While not shown, the back of the large, main canvas panel has corner braces and a cross brace on the back to keep the canvas square and unwarping.

All canvases were stretched on heavy-duty stretchers. One of the difficulties was that Dana needed to stretch them taught, but not so tightly that the tissue drawings would start to tear. She has had a lot of experience with linen-backed drawings of the late artist Montanna Morrison, who would adhere paper art to linen canvas, have it stretched, then go back and paint the edges of the "gallery wrap."

All in all, she did an outstanding job and the client was thrilled. 

Photos taken by Dana Fisher, CPF and Brian Flax, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of B. Derroitte and D. Cavanagh.


U. of Wisconsin Football Jersey Framing

Our client, Nathan Kipp, is a real sports fan. We have framed a number of jerseys for him and other sports memorabilia. He brought in a University of Wisconsin football jersey signed by Lukas Wilson, who played for the Badgers while in college and who, now, is on the Seattle Seahawks. The jersey was to be a wedding gift to a close friend, so we designed a shadowbox that would show it off to its best advantage. Here are some images of what we did:

Lukas Wilson U of W Jersey  Wilson Jersey Frame corner detail








 Wilson UofW Jersey Left Detail



Wilson UofW Jersey Detail- Right 




 The canvas had the arms folded in and sewn down onto Crescent 7522 Moorman Black Linen mat board. The inside of the frame is also lined with the same mat board. The frame is Studio Moulding 43021 "Array" moulding that is matte black with exposed red edges for accents. Glass used is True-Vu Conservation Clear u/v filtering glass. The autographs, in marker, tend to fade if you do not protect them from ultra-violet radiation. The glass size or inside of the frame size is 32 x 34. While the jersey could have been framed with the arms straight out, it would have greatly increased the size of the frame and, consequently, the cost.

Photos and all framing by Brian D. Flax, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of Nathan Kipp.

Korean War Veteran's Medals 2-Sided Frame

While the Korean War lasted only a little longer than the US involvement in WWI, its distinction was that it ended in a truce, but no armistice. While the truce has held for over 60 years, North and South Korea have eyed each other warily during that time. The contrast between the two Koreas could not be more striking. Having said all that, we must not forget the service and sacrifice of the US soldiers who served there. One of our clients brought in the service medals and ribbons belonging to a family member who served there. She wanted to be able to see both sides of the Korea Service Medal, so Dana designed a mat that had a circular pocket in it that would allow a mat on the front and back to show the two faces of the medal, both sides being under glass. Anti-reflective, u/v filtering Artglass UV WW was used to allow maximum visibility and protection.  The mat was a black suede by Crescent, #5506 Night Sky. The simple, contemporary frame is a Studio 27245 Opus Matte Black with Gold lip element. Glass size was 6 3/8 x 5 1/2". Check it out:

Shizas Korean War 21-sided Frame  Rear detail of Shizas Korean War Frame










Verso view of Korean War Medal  Front detail of Shizas Korean War Medal






Ribbons Detail of Korean War decorations  The glass was held in place, on the back, using glued-in black acrylic 1/8" square spacers. The openings in the mats were cut slightly smaller than the medal's diameter and a sink mat is sandwiched between the two black suede mats. The sink mat holds the medallion in place.

Framing designed by Dana L. Fisher, CPF

Framing executed by Julie Kotulak

Photos by Brian D. Flax, CPF


Exhibition: The Ninth Floor by Jessica Dimmock

An award winning photographer, Jessica Dimmock photographed "a hidden archipelago of lower Manhattan's underground economy: an upscale apartment, two cocaine-filled parties, the owner of an escort service operating from a fancy hotel room...and much more. The exhibition is taking place at the Roosevelt University Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Opening reception and Photographer's talk is September 12, 5-8 p.m. The exhibition runs from September 12 to December 14th, 2013. Mike Ensdorf, the curator, brought this exhibition to our attention and we helped with the framing cost for promotional consideration. The bulk of the support is from the College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University with generous financial assistance from Susan B. Rubnitz. For more information, you can call (312) 341-6458 or go to their website:

Retirement Framing: Chicago Alderman Richard Mell

We got a call from the office of one of our regular framing clients, Chicago Alderman Edward Burke, regarding a colleague who was retiring and to whom they wanted to give a framed retirement gift: Dick Mell. Alderman Mell has been a long time fixture in Chicago politics and has several distinctions, aside from a long and illustrious career: He is the father-in-law of the now-jailed Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. That aside, the photograph shown in the shadowbox frame below is a famous newspaper photo showing him standing on his desk in the Chicago City Council during the Council Revolt against our late mayor Harold Washington. As the late Mayor Richard J. Daley once said, "Politics Ain't Beanbag......"

Ald. Mell Frame

Ald. Mell Frame Inscription Plate  Aldermanic Signatures Detail






Aldermanic Signatures Detail #2  The frame is a Gemini G-3800 coffee cap with silver edges made to size 29 x 24. The shadowbox is Crescent 1613 Very White, signed in gold paint markers by the current Alderman of the Chicago City Council. The glass is Artglass Water White Anti-Reflective glass. The silver plate with black engraving was done by Scott Kurtz of United Crystal Co. and Engravers.

 Frame designed and executed by Dana L. Fisher, CPF

 Photos by Brian D. Flax, CPF

 Images shown by kind permission of Alderman Burke's office.

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