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220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604
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What's New At Flax: Recently Completed Framing Projects

In our 76+ years in business, we have worked on a lot of interesting projects. Some of the projects, shown here, are simple and yet quite beautiful. Others are way more complex but incredibly interesting. Looking for inspiration? You've found it! These projects are ones we have finished in the recent past. ( Note: for a more comprehensive look at a wide range of projects completed over the years, check out our Framescape Gallery.)

Colorful Canvases Creatively Framed

3 Stacked floater frames with canvasesEven with Optium Museum (anti-reflective) acrylic in place, the photo picks up fluorescent lights directly over the work table. Lighting in any space with framed items on the wall needs to be considered when first hanging the art. Most people do not have overhead fluorescent lighting in their homes. It is more prevalent in offices, retail environments and warehouses.

A client brought in three, 11 1/2 x 11 1/2"  canvases already stretched on 1 1/2" deep stretchers. They all appeared to be part of a larger painting. Our shop manager, Dana, designed something very lovely and novel for them. First, she chose an AMPF #6505, 2" deep white floater frame. Floater frames are different from regular frames in that they do not have a lip that overlaps the artwork. In fact, floaters look more interesting when you leave a gap or pull-away surrounding the canvas. It looks, then, like it is "floating" within the frame.

One of three stacked floater frames with canvas
2 of 3 stacked floater frames
3 of 3 stacked floater frames

The client had another requirement, though. They wanted the surface of the canvases to be protected by a glazing, like glass or acrylic. What Dana ended up doing was cutting a piece of Tru-Vue Optium Museum Acrylic  (the plexiglass version of Museum Glass, which is anti-reflective and nearly invisible) to the outside dimension of the floater frame (13 3/4 x 13 3/4") and let it sit directly atop the 1/2" wide front face. That still left an air space between the Optium and the canvas face (the frame is 2" deep to start with). Then, to secure the acrylic in place, she built an AMPF #3127 Purple "Carnivale" series frame with an inside dimension a tiny bit larger than the footprint of the floater. The purple frame was slipped down over the edge of the floater and locked the Optium in place. To secure the purple frame, Dana used Fletcher Multi-Points, which are shaped like two little spikes attached to a square with a round hole in the middle. The spikes anchored to the white floater (see photo) and then the purple frame was held in place by a screw that was put in place through the hole in the Multi-point hardware. The outside dimension of the AMPF Purple frame is 15 9/16" x 15 9/16". This is an unconventional combination of a floater frame and a traditional frame, but the end result was stunning and worked really well. Here are some detail shots:

Detail showing overhang of stacked outer frameAbove image showing overhang of outer stacked purple frame

Detail showing Multi-point attachement of outer frameAbove image showing Multi-point anchoring both frames together

Detail showing pullaway of canvas within floater frameAbove image showing pull-away between outside of canvas, inside face of floater frame.
Also, part of the floater frame's front face is exposed within overlap of outer purple frame.

Photos by Brian Flax
Images shown courtesy of D. MacSweeny

Right Angle Picture Frame

right angle frame

Our clients had a very unusual request: they wanted a frame to cover up an electrical breaker panel in their apartment and were looking for a frame that could turn an inside corner (a right angle frame). They brought in some vintage wallpaper that they bought (I think from Decorator Hardware) that they wanted us to mount and frame.  Dana, our shop manager, came up with the solution. First, she took 2 sheets of Mighty Core (a rigid, 1/4" thick, foam-center board with a plastic surface, similar to Gatorboard but much less expensive) and cut them to 48 x 58. Then, she mitered the right edge of one and the left edge of another and glued them together into a right angle. The two joined sheets of Mighty Core were coated with a special wet-mount glue called Miracle Muck (similar to Acrylic Polymer Gloss Medium) and let it dry. Then, she coated the back of the wallpaper with the same glue and let it dry. Finally, she applied the wallpaper to the right angle construct of Mighty Core and ironed the paper in place with a tacking iron (with assistance from Kelly Spruth, CPF, one of our framing team). To frame it, she constructed a Nurre Caxton Floater Frame (this one has a finish that resembles concrete). Cutting the frame segments to join at right angles in two different planes was challenging, but her deep experience with chopping and joining frames helped her to figure it out. After the frame was built, the mounted wallpaper construct was screwed in place with shallow screws that would not pierce the front of the Mighty Core. After adding a pair of heavy duty D-Rings, the frame was ready to go. The clients picked it up in a cargo van and installed it themselves. The photo shown is the finished product hanging in its new home, taken by our clients. Even the kitten approves. Our thanks to the Micele's for sharing the photo of the installed frame. Very cool!

Photo credit: Dawn Micele

Oversize Canvas, Double Framed

Gerbaud double-framed canvas
Gerbaud home alt. view
Framer holding completed framing project
closeup of double framed canvas
Earlier, this year, (before Covid-19 hit the fan), we designed and framed a client's canvas to hang in their apartment. They were kind enough to send us photos of the framing project once it was hung on the wall. It turned out great and looks sensational! What was most unusual about it was the way we framed it. The canvas was framed with a traditionally shaped, gold-leafed frame, the type which has a lip on it and comes up right over the edge of the canvas. Then, we put it into a contemporary "floater" frame with some pull-away all around it. The gold accent looks wonderful next to all the bright colors and the floater frame adds some drama and "gravitas" to the whole composition. Usually, we select one type of frame or the other and not both. In this case, the client specified a desire to incorporate both styles in precious metal colors. Great choice!

In-home photos by Ms. Millhaus
In-shop photos by Brian Flax

Missing Andy Warhol Collage

Andy Warhol Framed collageSide View of Stolen Warhol homage frame
When the Art Institute of Chicago hosted an exhibition, in  Fall, 2019, of Andy Warhol's original art, they teamed up with a local merchant association to run a contest among the retail stores and hotels along Michigan Avenue, and near environs, to see who could come up with the most creative window display that spoke to the "Warhol Esthetic". Naturally, we accepted the challenge and our framing team acquired postcards and other images of Warhol's work to incorporate into the presentation. We framed a piece of 1/4" black opaque plexiglass, on the surface of which were attached plexiglass platforms of varying heights using aluminum standoffs to support each. The overall size was about 24 x 48" in size, surrounded by a hot pink metal frame. The first photo is the only one taken directly of the frame. The larger, bottom one, was accidentally taken of it while photographing a Rocco Navigato  "Boul Mich" framed print. This photo, actually, shows it off pretty well.

To make a long story short, it was stolen on Saturday, May 30th, 2020, when people who were, ostensibly, part of the BLM Protest crowd, broke into our frame shop and looted it. If you run across it, we are offering a monetary reward for its return and any information you can supply that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrator. If the perpetrator returns it, himself, we will take it back with no questions asked. Interesting note:  We have the break in on video from a security camera next door to our shop. A tall, white, male (in his 20's), with a black face covering walked off with it. It is tragic that people, like that, took advantage of the chaos that accompanied the very righteous protest movement.