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220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604
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Ketubah (Wedding Contract) #1

When our clients came to us to frame some items, after their weding, they brought with a ketubah. For those that don't know what this is, it is a "wedding contract" that is part of all weddings in the Jewish faith. While a bit of an anachronism, it hearkens back to a time when families arranged weddings for their offspring, rather than rely upon the haphazard random dating process that might not maximize the value to each wedding partner. As Tina Turner sang, "What's love got to do with it?" Regardless of the motives and history of the Ketubah, they are still in vogue, today, and no two seem to be alike. They are, usually, very beautiful and artfully created. We have chosen to show you how we framed a number of them in this section of the Framescape Gallery.

This ketubah had a number of color elements in it, like purple, green and gold leaf, which we used to design the ideal mat and frame composition.
For the frame, we selected Larson-Juhl's Musee watergilded moulding L615630, along with the matching fillet to go around the opening between the two mat layers. The fillet used is the L105192 Musee, in a 23 karat gold leaf finish. A fillet is a wooden strip, part of which slips underneath the mat next to it, which ends up framing the mat opening, like a frame-within-a-frame. The end result is rich and dramatic and (if we do say so) well worth the extra cost.

As regards the term "watergilded", that refers to a frame that has been covered in very thin sheets of 23 karat gold leaf. Watergilded frames are among the most beautiful frames that one can buy, since real gold never tarnishes and the leafing is nearly transparent, allowing the bole or tinted gesso under the leaf to show through a bit. The gold leaf looks outstanding next to the rich, olive-green suede mat we selected. Watergilded frames cost more than plain "gold colored" metal leaf frames, but you truly do get what you pay for in the end.

The upper mat is Crescent 7190 Moorman Olive Green Suede, and the bottom mat is Crescent 1661 Majestic Purple. We put an overall mat width of 3 1/4" on the composition, with the finished mat size been 22 1/4 x 25 1/2". The purple mat, on the bottom layer, only shows 1/4". Fillets work really well when you can sandwich them between 2 or 3 mat layers. We do this, partly, because of the archival nature of framing important paper objects, balanced against the fact that fillets are wood and contain an acid-bearing structure called Lignin. It can degrade artwork when the artwork comes in direct contact with the wood. Hence, you have the need to make sure the fillet does not sit directly on the artwork and has an acid-free mat board buffer in-between.

The glass we used is the Tru-Vue Museum Glass, which is optically coated to nearly eliminate reflection and glare and has a 99% u/v filter built in. It slows down the fading process from sunlight and direct fluorescent light. You should consider using the very best, premium products when designing framing for objects such as your Ketubah, since you want the document to last, like your marriage, for all time.

Framing designed and executed by Brian D. Flax, CPF
Photo credits: Brian D. Flax, CPF
Images shown by kind permission of our client, KS.