Finish it! – Editor’s Scraps

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

 

Feeling stretched? Too much to do or lacking inspiration? Choose one of your big goals--you know, that one you keep wishing for and thinking you should be working on--and finish it. Set aside your excuses. Work extra hours. Burn the candle at both ends and get it done.

Like magic, the energy produced on the high satisfaction of accomplishment will have you bursting with creativity and productivity. You might just finish ten more things....or start a whole new company like I just did.Starburst

After way too long, I finally published that novel that I just couldn't seem to say 'done' to. When I pushed the final button to release it, I thought I would drop dead with exhaustion. Instead, I found myself in a whirlwind of new creation, logos and branding, giving my energy to help other authors sell their work, and looking to future possibilities in a way I haven't looked up in years.

Do it for yourself and feel energized!

-Sheri J. Kennedy, Editor

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

The Laurel Tree Framing and Gallery incorporated this sign into their window display to draw in business and make people think of all the things they have at home to bring in. The sign and images within it also promote framing even to those who do not read the sign.photo 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angie Masterson of The Laurel Tree Framing and Gallery beautifully incorporated a fillet in this frame design - not inside the mat like you'd expect, but on the outside of the floated art. Unique, different, unexpected and striking.

photo 2a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Angie used the red linen mat as a spacer and build up to accommodate the floated art. A simple yet elegant touch as an alternative to regular spacers.

photo 2b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Angie creatively used scrap moulding to build display trays. I am always visually stimulated here, and amazed with their merchandising skills. An art in itself!

photo3a

photo3b

Meet Our New Treasurer, Kim Rene-Weiser

Hi!  My name is Kim Rene-Weiser and I am the new Treasurer for our EPFG and I’m really excited to be part of such a blossoming organization!  I thought I should take a few minutes and introduce myself to you all since I am new to the guild.Kim Rene-Weiser

I grew up in a frame shop that my parents owned back in the 80‚Äôs called the Frame Up on South Hill in Puyallup, WA.¬† I started framing at age 14, but became an ‚Äúofficial framer‚ÄĚ at 16.¬† I loved my position and continued to work for The Frame Up after my parents sold it to a great new owner for another 10 years.¬† I have since framed off and on for another 15 years or so.¬† I took breaks from framing in my life to work as a legal secretary, orthotics technician, and speech language pathologist assistant, only to come full circle back to framing! My past framing positions include working for Artco and managing the frame shop inside So Many Crafts.¬† I also took breaks from framing to earn an associate‚Äôs degree and two bachelor‚Äôs degrees in totally different fields‚Ķ..I am addicted to school!

My immediate desires are to take some framing classes to hone my skills and to become a certified picture framer through the PPFA, as well as improve my design skills by stepping out of the box.  I have the best mentors possible here at the Frame Makers that’s for sure!  I am married, have five kiddos and our first grandbaby on the way.  My immediate personal desire is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with my middle daughter next summer……

I look forward to meeting everyone at our upcoming events and here on the EPFG newsletter blog!

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out Kim's new Monthly Product Review Column!

The Future is Now! – Go Green

Relevant articles from the archives, full of creative nutrients to be re-purposed and reused to grow your business and help you thrive.

This Go Green is so inspirational! It shows forward-thinking members of the EPFG achieved what they set out to do. Everything that Past President Frank Larson, CPF mentions in his article is happening in the EPFG today. PLEASE JOIN US! Benefit from the networks that are here and the instant information and ongoing exchange of ideas. Speak up about your dreams for our future. Our founders' future is now! Enjoy what they have built for us...Thanks to them all, and especially to former editor, Jodi Norton for this month's feature.

October 1993 Newsletter

Oval Top Mat- Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.  However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.  This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day.  We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch. However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch. This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day. We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 The Oval Top Mat

This is not an opening shape that will transform every design in you shop.  You will likely use it from time to time, but its real importance is as an illustration of how surprises become useful.106 Oval Top Final

Start with the idea of a round top opening.  There are a couple of ready-made ideas in every computerized mat cutter template library.  One template has a curve along the top, but the top corners are angles.  The shape with a semicircular top is intriguing because the top and sides blend as one continuous cut, but it would crop so much less of the image if the top was flat like a half oval.  Sad to say, there is no parameter to alter the shape of the top.  One possibility to make this shape is to join an oval to the top of a rectangle, but it requires the drawing program if you want to make a double mat.  So the idea languishes.

The Surprise

Every CMC program has a template that allows you to change the shape of each corner separately.¬† In the Wizard program it is called the Quad template.¬† Change the top two corners to ovals and leave the bottom two corners rectangular.¬† Now make its height smaller and you will see the shape of the oval at the top become more flat while the vertical lines of all the layers of the sides blend smoothly into the oval top ‚Äď the exact effect we are looking for.¬† The height of the opening is now too small, but that is easily enough corrected by joining it with an additional rectangle.¬† The best news is that we will not need the drawing program for any of these changes.

Step By Step

Begin with a rectangular opening.  Make it the correct final size, adjust the borders, and specify the number of layers you need for the design.  This example is three layers just to illustrate how nicely this idea works no matter the number of layers.101 Initial Design

The hints here will be specific to the Wizard program, but every CMC program will have similar tools and features along the way ‚Äď both to aid the process and to beware of as we make alterations.¬† As an example of something to beware of, make sure Dynamic Outsides is inactive as you continue.¬† Dynamic Outsides is a tool that adjusts the outside size as the opening size changes.¬† Throughout this project, we want the outside size to remain constant.

Reduce the height of the opening.  The best way to do this is to drag the handle at the bottom center of the opening up.  This way, the top and the sides remain in their proper positions with respect to the borders.  Stop when you are pleased with the shape of the oval at the top. 102 Oval Shaped Top

If You Must Measure

So often, the oval portion of the opening will need to be a specific height.¬† Measure the picture to see exactly where the oval must stop.¬† Make the height twice this measurement.¬† (The top half of the shape will be oval ‚Äď the size you need it to be, and the bottom half of the opening will be rectangular.)¬† In this illustration, the total Height of the oval top shape is 4.25 inches.¬† That means that the height of the oval top is 2.125 inches.¬† After entering numbers into the Height field, make sure that the top is snapped to the top of the border lines.¬† Make sure that the sides are still snapped to the border lines, too.

Making the Opening Size Correct

The oval top may look nice, but the overall opening is no longer the correct size.  We will join an additional rectangular opening to the shortened oval top opening and the final size will be correct once more.103 Copied Opening

There are a few ways to add another opening, but the easiest way is to Copy and Paste the existing opening.  The shape and height will not be correct, but the width and the sizes of the reveals of each of the layers will be correct. 104 Second Opening in Place

Change the shape of this duplicate opening to a rectangle.  Snap its bottom to the bottom border line.  Snap its sides to the side border lines.  Change the height of this rectangle so that its top overlaps the bottom of the oval top opening.  Make sure that the openings overlap sufficiently to include all the layers.  But make sure that none of the rectangular opening overlaps onto the oval portion of the oval top opening.

Joining the Two Openings

Every CMC program has its own way to join overlapping openings.  In MatDesigner, select both openings.  Click the Advanced tab at the top and click the Group Selection button at the left.  You will see the perimeter of the joined oval top ready to cut. 105 Grouped

Troubleshooting

It is possible that there would be some anomalies with the joined shape.  There might be some wiggles at the sides because the two openings were not precisely snapped into place or they were not the exact same width.  There might be a stripe across the middle because the bottom rectangular opening did not overlap far enough onto the oval top opening.  To correct any of these troubles, look under the Advanced tab again.  The Group Selection button has become the Ungroup Selection button.  Click it to take the openings apart and you will be able to rectify the troubles.

After you have used this procedure a few times, you will see places where you will want to do certain things another way.  For example, you may not see any advantage to copy and paste to duplicate the opening and you will use another way to add the rectangular opening.  You may like the idea of guides as alignment tools better than the borders.  You may be comfortable enough with the drawing program to make all these alterations.  Some feel that the drawing program is accurate and direct, while the procedure in the design program seems like a prescribed formula.  No matter your assessment of each individual step, we all have ideas for shapes we would like to use.  Now we know that if we do not see them in the template library, there is bound to be another way.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Maxim Wood Glue Blue Label – Kim Rene-Weiser’s Monthly Review

Kim's Montly Review Header

Maxim Wood Glue ‚Äď Blue Label

Glue

 

Maxim wood glue - blue label, is a water based PVA-type glue that is initially white but dries clear.  It has a one-minute set time, takes 15 minutes to strong bond and 24 hours for that permanence we’re all looking for. It doesn't leave a thick glue line and is also stainable.  It’s great for very small mouldings, fillets, and things that need to be glued fast.  As far as price, it is comparable to Cornerweld.

 

 

Publication2

Maxim wood glue also comes with a red label that has a slower set time (5 minutes) but same terrific bond strength. ¬†I read a post in ‚ÄúThe Grumble‚ÄĚ that it was discontinued but I know we at the Frame Makers have recently ordered it from a local supplier, so check your catalogs.

 

In terms of performance, Maxim Blue is excellent!  I’ve had particularly great results when joining fillets, which as we all know can be difficult. Yet it has also worked great with ANY size frame. I have been easily able to turn or pick up the fillet/frame after only a minute (although I feel more comfortable waiting two minutes) before I start working with it. With Cornerweld I have not been able to accomplish anything that quickly.  I love the fact that it dries clear as I’m fairly generous with my glue.  My only advice is if you’re having a busy day up at the counter, put off using it as this glue sets so quickly, it seals off the wood.   The red label Maxim glue would be a much better choice on those crazy days!

I highly recommend Maxim Wood Glue ‚Äď blue label as do many other picture framers.¬† Cabinet makers recommend it as well!

The World on the Head of a Pin – Editor’s Scraps

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

Since you're reading this on a blog, you may be internet savvy and try all the latest trends. But there's one I'll encourage you not to miss, or to look at it in a different way.

Pinterest is a fountain of inspiration. It took me all of a minute to sign up and gain easy access to more images than this collage artist could have dreamed of. Whether you stop in for Design ideas, A much needed Laugh, For a momentary Get-Away or Ideas for Picture Framing, it is well worth the visit.

When you sign in, images are presented to you by interests you choose. There's an efficient search by keyword. When you pin something it tells you another place it's pinned, and you can go there for more related images. It's fast and easy to see fabulous things.

The world can indeed fit on the head of a pin! For momentary eye candy when you need a break or to create project bulletin boards for serious design inspiration...Give yourself a whirlwind of artwork directed by you!

Here are some samples of fun things I've Pinned:      Enjoy!              -Sheri J. Kennedy

DESIGN

Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A GOOD LAUGH & CREATIVE IDEA

Humor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BREATHTAKING TRIP TO CHINA IN AN INSTANT

Take you Away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A FUN AND INSPIRING FRAMING PROJECT

Framing ideas

Two Opening Shapes – Practical Mat Decoration

One More Thing - final

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch. However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch. This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day. We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

One Template - Two Opening Shapes

There are surprises in every template library.  The exercise here is that one template can take on several entirely different faces.  This exercise uses the Wizard software.  Other computerized mat cutter design programs will not work exactly the same, but you will certainly encounter opportunities to adjust settings and completely transform the shape.  Though you will likely not be able to make both these particular shapes with just a single template, you may be attracted enough by these to explore what it takes to create them in the program you use.

Kobe Corners

We all have comments on these Asian style corners.  Perhaps we feel they are overused.  Perhaps we feel they are another era’s interpretation of the Asian style.  A more objective criticism of the typical design is that the corner could be more dramatic.  The point at the intersection of the two arcs is normally a right angle.  What if we could make it a little more pointed?  We might choose to use it now simply because it is more exciting.

The method is not exactly direct.¬† It involves an unlikely template shape ‚Äď 314, the Camelback Flare.¬† When you examine the default shape, there is no hint that this could be accomplished, but a look at the table of parameters offers a clue.103

The four parameters at the top are set to zero and the bottom three parameters will fashion our particular shape.  Side Flare and Top and Bottom Flare are set to negative values to turn the curves inward.  Both fields are set to identical values (however, some experimenting may be warranted to see some of the possibilities when the values are different).  The greater their absolute value, the softer the curve.

The Blend Distance parameter controls how quickly the curves join the straight sides.  This parameter can be thought of as a Radius control, within certain limits.  Click the plus and minus buttons watch the intersection become more pointed.  Remember that if you hold the Alt key, the value will change by 0.01 inch (0.2mm in metric) per click.

You will see shapes that will cut nicely, and you will see shapes that are out of the question.  Before you proceed to the next steps, make a test cut to see that the point is, indeed, to your liking, and to make sure that the curves, the points, and the transitions cut to your standards.

Decorative shapes are more effective as double mats.¬† There is something magic about the outline created by the eighth inch of contrast around an interesting shape.¬† However, add a second layer in the normal fashion with this template and your heart will sink.¬† There is an impossible-to-cut artifact left over from the Chamfer parameter.¬† Try, but no parameter settings will eliminate the diagonal lines at the corners.¬† (You could change the mat to the Mixed template ‚Äď where you are able to adjust the parameters of each layer separately.¬† There will be no diagonal line, but the inner reveal will never be parallel all around the opening.)104

Making a double mat with this shape will require PathTrace.  In MatDesigner, make the opening two layers, adjust the reveal width, and ignore the diagonal line.

Send the design to PathTrace.

Explode the outer layer.

Break the intersections of the curves at each corner.

Join the segments to complete the new shape.

(You can try to join the curves without breaking the intersections, but in many cases, the curves change their shapes.)

Set the bevels and cut the mat.

 

Flared Corners

There is not so much historical precedent for flared corners in matting, but it adds interest, weight, and a slight touch of quirkiness to the shape.201

Begin with a two layer opening.¬† Change the template to 314 ‚Äď again.¬† Set the first four parameters to zero.¬† We will be working with the bottom three parameters ‚Äď again.202

Enter very small decimal fractions into the Flare parameters.  In this example, the Side Flare is set to 0.1 inch and the Top and Bottom Flare is set to 0.02 inch.  Leave the Blend Distance set to 0.75 inch for now.

You will see the remnants of the chamfer at the corners of the top layer ‚Äď again ‚Äď even though the Chamfer parameter is set to zero.¬† The good news is that there is a way to remove the chamfers without the drawing program.¬† In fact, this method will lead us to some wonderful design possibilities.203

Change the template to 106 Mixed.  You will see the chamfer on the top layer disappear, but the reveal will no longer be parallel all around.  The fact is, the shape looks hopeless at this moment.  The Mixed template, however, will allow you to set the parameters for each layer can be set individually so that you can craft the flares just how you want them.  (The more obvious use for the Mixed template is to set each layer to a different template shape.  This ability to set the parameters independently, though, proves itself to be equally important in so many design situations.)204

Adjust the parameters for each layer until the flare at the corner is pleasing.  Zoom in for a closer look as you make fine adjustments.  Remember the Alt key as you click the plus and minus buttons.

In this illustration, the parameter settings are as follows:

Top Layer:

Blend Distance = 1.05 inch

Side Flare = 0.19 inch

Top and Bottom Flare = 0.02 inch

Bottom Layer:

Blend Distance = 0.85 inch

Side Flare = 0.07 inch

Top and Bottom Flare = 0.01 inch

Flared corners lend themselves to variation.  Use the Blend Distance to join the curves to the sides smoothly or abruptly.  The eighth inch reveal of the inner mat will transform as you experiment with both dramatically tapering flares and perfectly parallel flares at the corners.  For a more conservative attitude, set the Top and Bottom Flare to zero.

No matter how much you are taken with the shapes you see on the screen, make a test cut.  Severe angles do not always look as nice when they are cut as they look on the screen.  Make sure the reveal looks as you intend with both layers assembled.  Save the promising designs in a convenient folder so that you can return to them quickly.205

Your assignment now is yet another variation.  Imagine if you would use this design more often if the flared corners were only on the bottom.  This is easy to do this with some programs, but with the Wizard software, it is a PathTrace alteration.  The procedure is not so different from the exercise to refine the outer layer’s shape in the previous example.  Explode the circuits, Delete the curves at the top, Join the remaining segments, Close the circuits, and Set the bevels.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Flying Solo – Editor’s Scraps

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

Flying Solo It's what we work toward and dream of--being our own boss and no longer having anyone tell us what to do. It's the symbol of freedom and achievement, right? Maybe. But not if we really want to succeed in business, or in life.

Flying solo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently heard Rachel Dexheimer speak on the Deadly Sins of Dying Businesses. I'm not much for negatives, but this one resonated with me. Never fly solo! She suggested creating your personal board of directors for guidance and support.

When I bought my business, I was an excellent framer, had some corporate experience, a B.A. degree and was 30 years old. I didn't need anyone. I had learned from others' mistakes and was already successful. I was sure I could thrive on my own.

Looking back, I see my view was narrow and it kept my business small. My vision has widened and there has been so much growth since I reached beyond myself. One of my richest resources is my fellow members of the EPFG.

Relationships with others like myself reveal working ideas, expose money-wasters, connect me to better suppliers, and help with everything from accounting to where best to recycle scrap. You too can see what is already working and implement it in your own way.

More importantly, these colleagues give you encouragement when you're struggling and a reality check when you're investing too much in a pie in the sky. You can get some of these things from your business neighbors and  friends, but none will understand in the way other framers and art sellers will relate to you.

Whoever you decide to reach out to or bring into your circle, it is vital to connect! Internet info is useful, but there's so much more to be learned in even a short conversation with another person who's been there. And it's good for the soul.

-Sheri J. Kennedy, Editor

Go Green! EPFG’s Finest Tips

Publication1 (2)Relevant articles from the archives, full of creative nutrients to be re-purposed and reused to grow your business and help you thrive. This month's article gives a glimpse back at our history and the emerging use of heat-mounting techniques for fabric and the early use of pre-coated boards for mounting.  Then as now, using creativity and keeping up on new techniques is vital to our industry and each business' success.

headerGo Green!

Thanks to 1994 Editor, Jodi Norton, CPF

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

Incorporating asymmetrical shapes, lines, and angles can be a fun and creative approach to your matting.  CMC's sure come in handy, but these designs can be cut on your table top cutters as well.  Some framers tell me they forget that they have the ability to do such things, so I hope to inspire you to think outside the box.

Design by Molly Boone-Jones, Seattle Custom Framing

Design by Molly Boone-Jones, Seattle Custom Framing

Design by Anna Johnson, Tacoma Framemakers

Design by Anna Johnson, Tacoma Framemakers

Design by Karol Priebe, U-Frame-It Ballard

Design by Karol Priebe, U-Frame-It Ballard

Design by Anna Johnson, Tacoma Framemakers

Design by Anna Johnson, Tacoma Framemakers

Design by Sheri Wright, Fourth Corner Frames

Design by Sheri Wright, Fourth Corner Frames

Revitalize Your Year!

There's still time to join our 2013-14 year.  Join or Renew by May 15th.

dscn2097Our board is established with officers who have some experience under their belts now. This year's board is fired up to organize, create and revive our educational and networking programming.

It was evident by participation that the traditions of the guild needed to evolve and include more social media options, but the internet will never replace the benefits of getting together and sharing experiences and knowledge. The bonds that are created by events--actually getting to know other framers, gallery owners, and people in your own profession--are valuable gems.

The guild is about education, but it is also about inspiration. There is a spark created by learning in classes together, socializing together, and sharing one on one. Framing contests inspire through challenge and camaraderie  and they set the creative ideas alight with new techniques or old ones applied in new ways displayed for all to enjoy.

This year the guild will reignite that spark. And it's available at the reduced rate that was offered last year, ONLY $40 for the year!

Renew your membership NOW BY CLICKING HERE and get caught up in the forward momentum!

Drop Shadows-Practical Mat Decoration

One More Thing - final

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch. However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch. This column will focus on decorative ideas for matting you might use every day. We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

Drop Shadows

Mats made with letters.  They come into fashion, then they go out of fashion.  Some folks love them, others hate them.  But there is something we can all agree on.  These openings for snapshots that look like letters need some help to look their best.  We imagine ways to dress them up because otherwise, they are just shapes lined up in a row.  One dramatic typography device is the drop shadow.

Lettermat

 

We can do this with any computerized mat cutter program.¬† We will make two layer letters ‚Äď which, itself, is one of the ways we imagine for dressing up the letters.¬† The letters on the bottom layer will be shaped as normal.¬† The letters for the top layer will expose the letters on the bottom layer, plus there will be an offset copy of the letters merged to create a shadow along the bottom and at the left.

The Initial Design

Design the caption.¬† The letters here are 2¬ĺ inches wide 4 inches high.¬† Space the letters a little farther apart than normal ‚Äď probably 5/8 inch. Remember that we will be adding elements between the letters.

MD 001

 

To make the caption more interesting, the first letter here is larger than the others.¬† In this example, the E is 3 inches wide and 5¬Ĺ inches high.¬† This is a nice typographical touch we can use when the customer‚Äôs pictures allow it.

Snap a guide to the left side of the caption and to the top.  These are the red lines in the illustration.  They are snap points we will need later.

Copy the caption and paste it into the design.  The first illustration shows both copies of the caption.

Making the Top Layer

Snap the new copy of the caption exactly on top of the original caption using the red guides.

MD 002

 

Move one copy about a quarter inch to the left and a quarter inch down.  With most programs, you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard.  In the Wizard program, each click moves an item a sixteenth of an inch.  In this example, the copy was moved 4 clicks to the left and 5 clicks down.  You will decide the size and direction of the shadows for every specific design.

The design might look pretty good to you right now, but looks do not tell the entire story.

MD 003

 

Merge the two copies.  It will look strange, but have faith.  This will be the top layer of the letters.

Making the Bottom Layer

Paste again, and another copy of the caption will appear.  Snap this new copy into place so that its left is against the vertical guide, and its top is against the horizontal guide.  This will be the bottom layer of the letters.

MD 004

 

The design would be finished, but right now, everything will cut on one layer.

Setting the Bevels Correctly

Send the design to the drawing program.  In Wizard, it is PathTrace.  Set the bevels so that the ordinary letters cut on the bottom layer, and the merged letters cut on the top layer.

PT 001

In this illustration, the dark blue lines are the circuits set to cut on the top layer.  The faint blue lines are the circuits set to cut on the bottom layer.

A Small Alteration

Before we cut this particular caption, it is instructive to examine it more closely.  Be aware that there will always be a few corrections whenever we make artistic changes to letters.

PT 002

At the bottom of the R, the diagonal stroke and its shadow create a thin tendril of matboard that will certainly not survive the cutting process.

The drawing tools necessary to remove it are pretty simple.  First explode the offending circuit.  Exploding separates a closed circuit into its various pieces.  The gray lines represent the exploded circuit.

PT 003

Join the segments across the bottom of the R, leaving out the diagonal line that created the impossibly thin area.

The white lines show the corrected section at the bottom of the R.  You can still see the gray lines that were left out.

Join the remainder of the segments, set the bevel, and cut the design.

There is an immutable tradition in picture framing of concentric parallel borders of accent colors around openings.  But why not consider drop shadows accenting openings, too?

Openings

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me Time! – Editor’s Scraps

Editor's Scraps header

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. Here's something I've learned:

It's age old advice, but it can't be said enough. Take some time out for you.

different-3

If there's one thing I learned being a business owner and picture framer it's obsession and the subsequent burnout. I also learned a major trick around it. Artist dates!

Whether you're a framer or a financial principle in your business, your role is creative. Business takes personal energy at every level, and if you're not feeling good, your business will show the suffering.

So, get out your calendar. Yes, right now. You have time to read this, you have time to do this. Quick, I promise.

Pick a date this month. Easy, right?

Think of something you and only you would like to do that day.

Write it on the day.

Do it!

Now, close your calendar and open some notes you can brainstorm on. Quick, remember?

Write down 10 things you'd like to do that you haven't got around to. Not cleaning the garage, unless that makes you go, 'Ahhhhhh....'. Fun things...relaxing things....social things. If you can't think of 10, go back to your calendar now and write down a date this week to spend an hour remembering things you enjoy and write at least 10 down at that time.

Next, immediately open your calendar and assign one to a day on each month. Doesn't matter if it will work out or if other people have it free, just put it there.

Now when you have time--maybe now, maybe at your next break or after work tonight--take a look at the one for this month. Make the calls to clear the time, or clear it for another day and write that down right away. Keep that date.

When you review your calendar heading into next month, stop and clear the time you assigned for your next Artist date or reassign it right away. Keep that date.

Have some fun! Let you be you! The time you spend will be more than made up at the shop or office, and everything you do will be a little finer.

-Sheri J. Kennedy, Editor

 

Join and Renew

There's still time to join our 2013-14 year.  Renew by April 30th.

Our board is established with officers who have some experience under their belts now. This year's board is fired up to organize, create and revive our educational and networking programming.

It was evident by participation that the traditions of the guild needed to evolve and include more social media options, but the internet will never replace the benefits of getting together and sharing experiences and knowledge. The bonds that are created by events--actually getting to know other framers, gallery owners, and people in your own profession--are valuable gems.

The guild is about education, but it is also about inspiration. There is a spark created by learning in classes together, socializing together, and sharing one on one. Framing contests inspire through challenge and camaraderie  and they set the creative ideas alight with new techniques or old ones applied in new ways displayed for all to enjoy.

This year the guild will reignite that spark. And it's available at the reduced rate that was offered last year, ONLY $40 for the year!

Renew your membership NOW BY CLICKING HERE and get caught up in the forward momentum! 

Stop, Look and Listen

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. In the same way small bits of knowledge I have gleaned from being a past framer/shop owner and by being part of the EPFG or small facts I come upon are often valuable to share. Here's something I've learned:

Stop, Look and Listen was a slogan in my childhood. I think it had to do with avoiding getting squished when you crossed the street or railroad tracks or something. I'm going to use it for something a little less drastic, but it might help keep your business--or you as a designer--from being just a bump on the road.

Some friends and I were talking yesterday about how crazy it is that people spend so much on wedding designers that create an experience, albeit lovely, that's just like the one for all their other clients and cater it to each only by adding a different color.

When you're looking to a design professional, you expect they will keep you within trend and 'taste', but when you pay top dollar, aren't you really hoping for that personal touch? Hoping they'll relate to you?

I know from experience that it's easy to fall into a design rut in a frame shop. You find what works easily, you have pet frame samples or you just get burnt out and aren't fully tuned in. Some designers would defend that repetition creates a signature style their clients seek. Don't worry, no matter what you create, your personal flair will always show through. It is custom, by your hand. It's always yours. So try to focus on making it theirs.

Reach out and refresh yourself by adding some of their creativity. Take your clients from 'Nice' to 'It's better than I could've imagined'.

Stop. Take a look at your recent work. Is it cookie cutter? Uninspired? Are you always choosing the same solution?

Look. The easiest way to get a spark beyond the artwork and your tried and true designs is to really see the client in front of you. They wear their favored color palette. Their haircut, nails and shoes will tell you if they like crisp or organic lines. Whether they're adventurous or like to play it safe. You can often see if they want to impress their friends or have something that sings especially to them.

Listen. This is not routine for them. It's special. Try to take a breath when a client walks in and make some time for conversation. They will tell you their goal for their design either directly or by the worry they express about what they are not sure of. Is it a memento? A showpiece? Something to finish off a room of matching decor except that darn blank wall? Maybe they know the artist or have a group who gave it to them and waiting to get the mat signed could mean the world to them. Suggest it.

This isn't new...It's out of the juicy scraps. It works. Watch your designs come to life, and with them, the energy of your thrilled clients and your rejuvenated self.

-Sheri J. Kennedy, Editor

 

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

Unlikely Parameters and their Uses

We have all played with the parameter settings on the templates of the computerized mat cutter just to see the possible variations.  We have discovered that there is no internal check that tells us when we have designed something impossible to cut.  We have entered outrageous values in the parameters and watched with amusement as the shapes turned into something like this first illustration.

 

This is template 405 in the Wizard program.  Look to see its intended shape, but this is what you get if you enter 2.75 into the Radius parameter and -1.5 into the Notch Width.  Fascinating though it may be, it is not an opening shape to consider.  But before you dismiss the idea of unlikely parameters, do a little more experimentation and you will see some practical applications.

 

These ideas were designed and tested using the Wizard software.  Every computerized mat cutter design program has similar settings and functions.  You will be able to design openings, grooves, and pen lines exactly like these no matter which system you have.

 

Corners for Grooves

When you look at the standard parameter settings for this template, it is the familiar elongated double offset corner.  When you enter negative values into the parameters, it turns into this geometric design.  It cannot be used as an opening shape, but it can be cut as a V-Groove.

 

The Plat Length parameter is set to -0.24 inch and the Plat Width parameter is set to -0.37 inch.  These settings have been tested.  Make sure the V-Groove is set to cut a little less than a sixteenth wide, and the pattern will cut very nicely.

Groove width is important because the two outer vertical lines are only 0.13 inch apart.  If the groove is wider, the space between the two lines will all but disappear.  The internal square formed by the lines of the groove is about as small as you would dare, too.  It is only 0.24 inch on a side.  Begin with these settings to see how your machine cuts this pattern. Then change them a few hundredths of an inch to your liking.

 

Combination for Pen Lines

We want the details for V-Groove decoration to be as delicate as possible.¬† It is no different for pen lines except that the details for pen lines can be ‚Äď and should be ‚Äď shockingly small.

 

There are two lines in this design.  The inner line is shaped with template 614.  Its normal use is to include a spike pointing into the picture at each corner.  The parameter settings form the typical spike, but they are very small.  The Height parameter is set to 0.11 inch and the Width parameter is set to 0.07 inch.

The outer line is 0.04 inch away from the inner line.  It is shaped with template 408.  There are two semicircles at each corner of this template.  The parameters move them around and change their size.  Setting the Notch Width parameter to zero moves the semicircles all the way to corners.  Setting the Radius parameter to -0.09 inch draws the semicircles to the inside of the rectangle rather than to the outside.  The semicircles cross over each other to create an interesting pattern at the corners.  With the added elements of the inner line, the corner design appears to be far more intricate than just two lines.

Just as the V-Groove width setting was important in the previous example, the pen width is important here as we work with such small details.¬† This design will work fine with a 0.5mm or even a 0.7mm pen.¬† If you have a more broad tip ‚Äď 1mm tips are common ‚Äď the details may appear indistinct.

 

Changing the Design to Use it Again

In order to make all this designing and experimentation pay off, we need to use the results again and again - and we need to design the next mat quickly.  In every computerized mat cutter design program, grooves and pen lines can be attached to an opening.  Then as you change the opening size, the ornaments will automatically resize, too.  Change the opening size, adjust the borders, and the mat is ready to cut.  There is even a field where you are able to adjust the spacing with the opening.  Then save them to an Ideas folder where you and your customers can browse through them to be inspired.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Blog is Not a Dirty Word

There is a scrap cabinet in every frame shop I know. Why? Because leftovers are often gems and full of profitable inspiration. In the same way small bits of knowledge I have gleaned from being a past framer/shop owner and by being part of the EPFG or small facts I come upon are often valuable to share. Here's something I've learned:

Blogs are not scary or strange. They are like Facebook pages with more capability for sharing information. They're like websites that are accessible for comments and much more dynamic and fun.

I have been blogging as a writer and artist for over a year. What does that have to do with your framing business? I have over 100 followers and, more importantly, I've met and talked with many people who are interested in what I do and what I'm interested in. We share ideas. Learn from each other. Encourage each other.

I have also been publishing on this blog for about a year. That's right. You're reading a blog right now. Not so bad, huh? But there hasn't been much interaction here. It's a great resource that you're missing.

I'm encouraging you not to be scared to sign up and sign in. You won't be spammed.  You will get replies to your comments. You will probably learn stuff, be encouraged, and even have fun!

Sign up, Sign in and Join the Conversation!

-Sheri J. Kennedy, Editor

Comings and Goings

News on our EPFG Officers and What to Expect Next

The 2012-2013 was a year of transition. That was expected with nearly a complete rollover of the board and a new set of officers. The new officers tried on their shoes and only some decided to continue their journey in them.

Just prior to the January board meeting, the officers were asked to state their intent for the coming year. We received two resignations:

From our President:

Family and work life have got well on beyond my time to devote to the guild, as such I need to resign as president.

Jerry Martin

And our Treasurer:

Hi everyone,

I thought that I could do it all, turns out that I'm just a mortal.

With everything that I have going on in my life, the what still feels recent purchase of FrameWright (June, 2011) and the remodeling of my home. I just don't have the time or energy to devote to the Guild.

So I'm going to need to withdraw as Treasurer of the EPFG.

Sincerely,

Ken Stodola

The EPFG would like to thank them for their year's service. Their willingness to step up when the guild was in crisis held us together to regroup and revitalize. It allowed the guild to carry on and reach into a new future.

A new president was nominated and has been approved by the board.

Rami Alhakeem enthusiastically accepted the position of 2013-2014 President.

Jennifer Patterson, with revitalized energy agreed to continue in the position of Vice-President for the 2013-2014 year. She also accepted the role of temporary Treasurer.

Stacia Harvey renewed her commitment to serve as the 2013-2014 Secretary.

If you're interested in joining the board or applying for position of Treasurer, please click here to inquire.

A full update of board members and advisors will be announced in March along with information about renewing your membership for the new year. 

Editor's note: As a reporter at the meeting, I was refreshed by the energy and commitment of this year's officers as they have begun to gel together, and I'm looking forward to the coming year with the EPFG!

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

Anna Johnson of Tacoma Framemakers, brings her artistic talents to her framing designs by painting her bevels with acrylic paint.  This not only enhances the matting, but incorporates the matting into the design itself. It's a beautiful alternative for eliminating the white bevel of a mat without resorting to a reverse bevel.

Rami Alhakeem of Tacoma Framemakers steams out a small dent in this stained wood moulding. Since the dent was found after the piece was finished, he used a mat scrap for a protective barrier to the art, and folded a slightly dampened paper towel and ever so lightly applied a hot iron to that area. The hot steam "re-fluffed" or reactivated the wood fibers. This process should be limited to stained woods and only after a test is done on a scrap of the same moulding. This is a similar process to touching up a dented mat with a lightly moistened Q-Tip.

 

Co-op Ad Update – Round 2

A fantastic idea has been brought to the guild by a fellow framer.  This is not an official guild project, but we are happy to bring our interested members together through the guild’s communication tools.

Here’s a further update on the Co-op Advertising Opportunity.  You  can see prior articles here, here, here and here and the original article here.

We are gearing up for our second run of the framer's Group Advertisement in the Seattle Times, with a few new participants and a new sponsor. We need to wean ourselves off the reliance on sponsors (or I need help in getting them!).  So we have decided that with a minor edit to our back page layout, we can list 24 business names rather than 19. Many framers commented that with this smaller collection of names, we look like an exclusive special group.

Fransicso Smith of The Framery, who has also worked in the printing industry, reminded me that a basic rule of advertising is that the average person needs to see or hear something 6 times before it sinks in and becomes part of their collective psyche, so he committed right away to another run. His enthusiasm is really special and appreciated. He told me, "they might not use me next week, or next month, but now they now I'm here!"

Another framer wished me luck on my venture. I want to correct that thought -- this is not my venture.  It is an idea and call to action by a framer for all framers. I just happen to be the voice for this group. This is for you, so please call me and get involved. Jennifer Patterson 206-715-2145

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 

A Drawing Lesson
A while ago, there was a column about decorative accent shapes peeking from between the layers of the mat.  The examples used the templates to construct the accents.  If this idea piqued your interest, it probably did not take long for you to dream up a few more artistic ideas for these accents - ideas that could not be accomplished using the template library alone.

 

We will go through the steps for drawing a simple accent added to the middle layer of a triple mat.  The explanations of the steps will use the Wizard software.  With other software, the functions may have different names, but the sequence of steps will be the same no matter which drawing program your system uses.

 

The design begins with a triple mat.  The inner reveal is 3/8 inch wide and the middle reveal is 1/8 inch.  Send the design to the drawing program.

 

Drawing the Curved Shape

The illustration here shows a zoomed-in view of the left side of the mat.  The blue vertical lines are the sides of the three layers of the opening.  The gray items are the things we have drawn.

 

Draw a curve to be the top half of the intruding shape.  This curve can be an arc or some other type of curve.  The curve in this example is an arc.

 

Draw a horizontal line near the bottom of the curve where you imagine the shape’s center line to be.  This will be the mirror axis.  Mirror functions work in different ways in different programs, but it is almost always handy to have a reference line.

 

Mirror the curve across the horizontal line and you will see the shape.  If you do not like how the shape looks, remember that you can move the control points of the curve to refine it.  You can move the entire curve and the horizontal line, too.  Make sure that after all the refinements, the two final curves are mirrors of each other, though.

 

In this illustration, we have the two final curves and the horizontal mirror axis.

 

Integrating the Shape into the Side of the Mat

The side of the middle mat layer will be broken and the shape will emerge from the broken spot.

 

Draw the curve that will separate the vertical cut of the mat from the accent shape.  The junction of the curves is hidden under the top mat.  The separation should be about an eighth inch wide.

 

Mirror this new curve across the horizontal line onto the bottom of the element.

 

Break the vertical side of the middle mat layer so that there is an open spot for the decorative accent.

 

This illustration shows all of these steps completed.  Notice that all the curves we have drawn extend farther than necessary.  They will be nicely trimmed in the next step.

 

 

Finishing the Decorative Accent

Join the segments of the decorative element.  In most programs, joining will automatically trim the curves and lines to their proper length.

 

This would be a good time to zoom out and make sure that the vertical positioning of the accent is to your liking.

 

This would also be a good time to cut this design.¬† Make sure the accent shape is a nice size for the picture.¬† Make sure the separation between the vertical side of the mat and the accent are wide enough that the vertical cut does not nick the bevel around the accent.¬† Make sure that the joints of the curves are nicely hidden under the top layer of the mat ‚Äď if, indeed, that is how you intend the design to be.

 

Finishing the Mat Layer

Join the two vertical line segments to the decorative accent.  This will create a new complete left side for the middle layer that includes the accent shape.

 

Draw a vertical center line at the midpoint of any of the horizontal lines of the opening.

 

Mirror the new left side of the middle layer across the vertical center line onto the right side of the mat.

 

Join the top, bottom, and two side segments to complete the new middle layer.

 

In this illustration, the black shape is the new middle layer.  All that remains is to give the new middle layer its cutting instructions.  Every program will have its own procedure for this.  In PathTrace, these functions are under the Set Bevels tab.

 

 

Decorative cutting takes many forms but this idea of a break in the side of the opening where an accent shape protrudes may prove to be one of the nicest understated touches you can add.  You will master the drawing fairly quickly and you will find design ideas to adapt in many places.

 

Now look closely at the photograph of the finished picture.  The ends of the straight vertical  cuts curve slightly into the picture.  You have all the information you need to add this variation.  Then start work on new decorative elements from your own inspirations.

 

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

Molly Boone-Jones at Seattle Custom Framing has created dynamic store displays using inexpensive posters. Rather than framing them as such, she first had them laminated and mounted using ProLam.  Not needing mats (the united inches are much smaller this way) or glass, she was able to put more value in the design by using larger impact framing.  Although it looks more expensive, this method inevitably works out be a lower retail price than a design using matting, a high-grade glass, and a much simpler frame with less impact.

These cute images are simple greeting cards. Molly took advantage of her computerized mat cutter and plethora of scraps, and created these adorable miniature framed items.

Co-op Advertising Update

A fantastic idea has been brought to the guild by a fellow framer.  This is not an official guild project, but we are happy to bring our interested members together through the guild’s communication tools.

Here’s a further update on the Co-op Advertising Opportunity.  You  can see prior articles here, here and here and the original article here.

Our group advertisement finally came to fruition, and has now run twice with great success. Once we found professional quality photographs to use, the new mock up was taken to framers for approval. A wonderful collaboration took place with many framers joining in brainstorming sessions to re-write the copy so that it read true to us. According to Advertising 101, the average person needs to see or hear something 6 times before it becomes part of their collective psyche. This is why when a new product gets launched - we see or hear its commercial repeatedly in the first few days of its launch. In keeping with this thought, we to hope to run this ad at least 4 more times. Many have said if this rate of success continues, it would be nice to occasionally run this ad throughout the year. The general consensus is to keep the overall look of this ad the same for consistency and recognition, but it would be nice to include new photos of favorite framing jobs done by the participants.

Substantial sponsorship made this ad possible. A huge thank you to Framer's Inventory and Jayeness Moulding for their considerable contribution. Also a special thank you Designer Moulding, National Glass, Omega Moulding, ProLam, and Universal Arquati for their contribution in making this venture possible. In order to give others a chance to shine, I hope/ need to get additional and alternative sponsorship for future runs.

If you'd like to hear more of this process, wish to participate either as an advertiser or sponsor, please contact Jennifer Patterson. JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com (206) 715-2134. The price of the ad is based on the number of zip codes receiving the newspaper.

I also wish to recognize The Seattle Times for their large part in the creation of this ad. They went above and beyond the call of duty in creating the first draft from scratch both in its copy and design. This is not something they normally do - most advertisers are large corporations with their own art department. But as The Seattle Times is also a family owned local business, they wanted to help support small business owners. The Seattle Times is now in their 117th year, employing 4th and 5th generation family members, and said this was an exciting project to be a part of as they have never seen this type of collaborative advertising effort done before. So hooray for us for doing something groundbreaking and which really seems to be paying off.

 

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas for matting you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

Painted Inner Mats

There are lots of reasons you might want to paint on matboard, but the idea of painted work in picture framing brings with it such a traditional aura.  Couple this with some of the complicated procedures to keep the edges tidy and it is easy to understand why most framers dismiss the thought of painting.

 

The innermost layer of this triple mat has a painted pattern. The glaze was sponged onto green matboard. Then a lighter powder was rubbed into the unprotected areas to create the pattern.

The examples point a different way, though.  Not only are there no complicated auxiliary procedures, but this idea may lead you to use painted effects with a wider range of pictures.  One of the layers of the mat was painted and the cutting defines the edges of the painted work.  There are no special skills beyond normal mat cutting.  Both of these examples have decorative cutting, but the idea of using painted matboard as an inner layer is equally effective with rectangles as it is with these shaped openings.

 

The floating panel of this open groove is tethered into the outer mat by the decorative ribbons at the corners. With or without this decorative cutting, showing painted work through open grooves is a great effect.

Any painting technique can be used here, but this painting recipe is as simple as it can be.  It is a three step resist effect.  First, the matboard was colored with pastel powder.  Then a pattern of clear glaze (Elmer’s glue thinned with a little water) was sponged on in a pattern.  When the glaze dries, the powder underneath it will be protected.  Rub away some of the unprotected pastel powder with a tissue.  The effect is a two color pattern.

 

The matboard was rubbed with colored powder made by shaving a pastel. A pattern of glaze is being sponged on with a torn paper towel. The glaze is Elmer’s glue thinned with water. It will dry and protect the color underneath it. The unprotected areas can then be colored differently to create a pattern.

There are several variations.  In the example with the patterned green inner mat, the glaze was sponged onto plain matboard.  After the glaze dried, a lighter powder was rubbed into the unprotected areas.

 

The glaze is now dry and the unprotected powder is being rubbed with a tissue to make it lighter. The result is a two color pattern. Use an eraser to remove more of the unprotected powder for a more dramatic contrast.

Perhaps the picture needs a rustic pattern to make it look its best.  Perhaps you are tired of such flat colors on every piece.  We are all artistic and thoughts cross our minds about painted embellishments, but we are concerned about the time it will take.  Ideas as simple as this will help you get started on a new creative path.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you. I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments. A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then. I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

I get an annual holiday cross-stitch from my mother and am fortunate to have enough to decorate my entire home during the holidays, so am surrounded by her love. It's been fun to see my framing progression over the years - plus the new mouldings and trends. Honestly one of the greatest gifts I've been able to give back to my mother is to frame these pieces right away. This way she knows that I appreciate them and she gets to brag to her stitching friends what I've done to her work. This reindeer is my 2012 gift. Two different designs pre-loaded in a CMC were used; the squares were added for fun - separate mat pieces were placed underneath to allow some color to peek through.

It was suggested in a marketing class that effective means of letting your business exterior do advertising for you is a great way to let the public know exactly what you do. Our brains recognize objects so much faster and easier than we can read and comprehend what's been read. When finding Catherine De Witt Framing in Freeland, WA, on Whidbey Island for the first time, I knew just where she was from blocks away!


I was immediately charmed by everything I saw. Thank you to Catherine for letting me catalog her beautiful shop to share with you. My oh my has she created a unique and pleasurable experience for her customers. The wall holding her gold samples was made to cover up a support pole. Not only does it create a nice back-drop to her design table, it utilizes her floor space effectively to do more selling for her.


Catherine had these display panels made just for her. They were made by a local metal smith, but we agreed that the same thing could be accomplished very affordably with wood and drywall. They create for her a lovely window display, and yes again - more sample display space.

As you can see, she groups her samples by type, and has a gallery piece or pieces worked into every section. Some are her's showing off that section's type of moulding, most are for sale turing her into a fantastic gallery as well.
This simple,easy and affordably made divider not only breaks up her sections, but again makes great use of her floor space earning dollars from more store square footage, and of course creates extra sample display space.


Speaking as someone who has awful handwriting, and acknowledging that a lot of us are guilty of not pricing our wall displays, I was quite impressed with the originality of how Catherine accomplished this. She uses barrier paper scrap, but mat scrap would do. Ruled first with pencil to keep her lines straight, she writes out by hand information about the art, artist, price and framing style, rules a border then trims to size. So effective and easy - and a great way to use up scrap.
Another picture of the interior of this frame shop. The spin rack was also hand made. I won't say it again - but you know all the great things it accomplishes! Most wall sections are different colors. An effective way to let people see how art and mouldings work against different colors, and to create such an incredible visual experience and atmosphere for her customers.

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Vice-President’s Corner

The art, displays and framing jobs that are out in the open in your shops are fleeting, and it is only by chance that I get to see most of what I do. So I encourage and invite you again to send me your own photos to share with others. Go ahead and show off or teach us something you’ve cleverly done or how you’ve problem solved. The objective of the Guild's newsletter is to be educational. There are a lot of new frame shop owners out there with whom we should and can share our experiences. The better all of us are - the better we promote custom picture framing as a whole. We never know what's going to come across our tables, and half of custom framing is problem solving. One of my favorite things about being a framer was that even after many years, I saw something new every day and was always learning. Please send me your pictures and comments, or give me a call to have me come to see you, and I’ll take pictures for you. Working on the Step Up Your Game column has been really fun, and I want this to keep going. With a surplus of material, I can feature more than one topic per month, and our new newsletter format makes it really easy to do so. Thanks for sharing!  JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas for matting you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 

Appliquéd Shapes

Look at the way decoration is applied in architecture or furniture design.  A picture framer may become envious at the way elements seem to be added at will.  Certainly that is not the case, but there are a few freedoms picture framers do not have.  First, our viewers came to look at the picture, not our work.  As a result, anything we add must first help the viewer focus on the picture.  Second, architects work on a much larger scale and small details are relatively easy to construct and apply.  For a picture framer, small details are far smaller and therefore they require untold amounts of patience and skill.

We can be inspired by what we see, though, and it can light the way to a different direction than we normally see in matting.  The first two examples show a typical triple mat with small shapes of matboard glued onto the wide middle layer.  The squares in the first example are quiet little additions reminiscent of arts and crafts details.  The triangles in the second mat are not radically different, but they point to possibilities for these appliqués being more colorful and edging beyond the boundaries of the mat.

The third example shows triangular appliqu√©s as part of corner elements.¬† The top layer of the mat has arrow point corners ‚Äď a pretty common geometric corner treatment.¬† The triangles are symmetrical across the corners and extend well into the innermost layer of the mat.

Notice the full view of the picture. The triangles at the top are larger than the triangles at the bottom.  This is contrary to the norm, as we strive to create a sense of weight with decoration.  But with a quirky picture like this, perhaps we can adopt a more unconventional approach to the placement of the elements, too.

Picture framers snap at chances to use bright colors.¬† You have noticed that these examples show instances of brash color, but think of the opportunity of these appliqu√©s to simply change the topography of the mat.¬† Just the addition of the appliqu√© shapes as texture will add interest ‚Äď without a change of color.

 

There are no curves in any of these examples.  All of these designs are possible using a manual mat cutter.  In fact, once you see how naturally the manual mat cutter cuts the small squares in the first example, these little squares may become an obsession.  Shouldn’t every framer have an obsession?

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you.  I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments.  A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then.  I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

Artist Laurie  Potter, who also works at Fourth Corner Frames in Bellingham, created these custom pieces of art to utilize their scrap pieces of Optium Museum Plexi - "when you spend so much on this type of glazing, you want to use every inch!", said owner Sheri Wright.   The collection was absolutely captivating.  The second photo was taken with a business card to give you scale.

As part of an Edgar Allen Poe theme, Ravens made their presence well known. Not only were they present in original art in the form of paintings, drawings and sculpture, but Sheri also downloaded public domain images of ravens off the internet and framed them in some of her ready-mades as a way to merchandise her display to an even higher level.

Everything together was fun, energetic, captivating, and elegant. Everything you'd want for your opening show and art walk.

One of my nick names in my youth was "Miss Matching", so I totally got a kick out of these CUTE ready mades matching the art they neighbored. They were also such a fun way to utilize scrap from different colors of the same profiled moulding.
To give Sheri one more kudos - yes, she did type the poem "The Raven" and printed in on the scroll you see in the background, complete with burned antiqued edges.

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 

Switching Techniques

Here is the premise ‚Äď given any decorative technique, there is a way to make it work with most any picture.¬† Perhaps this is a surprise because we have subconsciously pigeonholed nearly every technique as exclusively modern or traditional or rustic or elegant.

Decorative Cutting

The first example shows a cute snapshot adorned with some decorative cutting designed to bring a smile to anyone’s face.  It is logical that we have come to think of decorative cutting as appropriate for only modern things.  The arrangement here is asymmetrical, the heart is rotated, and the effect is quite informal.

How would we make decorative cutting look good with a traditional piece?  One look at this old print and we know we will need to change everything.  The motifs echo traditional ornaments from architecture.  In fact, their placement and symmetry is also meant to recall how classical architectural elements are used to confer a sense of weight and stability.  The colors are somber and the mat is just a single layer.

The biggest problem with execution is designing a motif that will look authentic and nicely detailed when it is cut small.  Contrast this with the heart in the previous example.  Make it a little larger, give the mat another layer, add another color, and the effect is even more whimsical.

Colored Panels

The second exercise begins with the traditional print.  The standard treatment would be a single mat with a colored panel.  This example also includes a pen line just to complete the traditional package.

What are the possibilities for making the snapshot look good with a colored panel?¬† First ‚Äď change the color.¬† Next ‚Äď eliminate the pen line.¬† Note that there is a slight blush of red at the sides of the panel.¬† The effect is not nearly as sentimental as the treatment with the heart cutout, but it is still a unique treatment and it is another option that would make a mother smile.

We all have our favorite techniques ‚Äď the ones we have mastered and the ones that we can do quickly.¬† Couple this with the fact that there is a limit to how much time anyone can spend developing a new technique.¬† It is a comfort to know that by varying the details, one technique can be adapted for a wide variety of styles.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Step Up Your Game

 

Julie's Frame Gallery put this project together on the cheap - wanting to use only what they had in stock as this was a donation piece. Not having any gold fillet on hand but still wanting the piece to look spectacular, they created the same look by stitching and running a gold thread around the border. I thought how beautiful this would look around my Mom's Christmas cross-stitches, framed heirlooms, birth announcements, etc. A cheap, easy v-groove, ruled line, or enhancement!

I should have taken a before picture, but what happened at Framer vs. Framer was there was no more room to hang samples - so I made some for her! I took down her fillets from a display rounder and put them on these Mighty Core panels - hanging them with a plant hook; also creating a wonderful cover for her catalog library.  A win/win for everyone!  The new line of samples is hung on the rounder, and Lori has her fillets hanging where they are out in the open, and her customers can ask about them more readily in their design process. The custom fit of the panels looks great as well. Having display space is a constant battle, for sure. I know all of us reps see and have great ideas on how to overcome this obstacle. We are also at your disposal,  We can help you with an idea or help you implement an idea of your own. Give us a call!

Co-op Advertising Update

A fantastic idea has been brought to the guild by a fellow framer.  This is not an official guild project, but we are happy to bring our interested members together through the guild’s communication tools.

Here’s a further update on the Co-op Advertising Opportunity.  You  can see prior articles here and here and the original article here.  Right now we have 18 framers, 2 service related participants, and 13 sponsor shares involved in the project. The sponsors won’t be listed in the ad, but they are putting money behind this to support independent framers. The  total per participant currently is about $140 for each time the ad is run. Payment is up front 2 weeks prior to running.

We are still open and interested in bringing in more participants. If you have fellow framers or suppliers that you think might want to participate,  please contact them or ask Jennifer to do so. The more people involved the lower your price.

 

Most members agree that a minimum of 4 - 6 runs will be required to get the most exposure with this ad. After a rest we can run again if we are interested. Originally we can run consecutive weeks, or every other week. The group as a whole will need to agree on the first set of runs as the ad price will depend on this. Meaning we all have to agree to say, 4 runs at this price, then if people decide to jump in or out, the ad will need to be re-created and a new price will result.

As a reminder, you will receive for your money, in addition to exposure to thousands reading the Sunday Times, additional loose copies to hand out or use as you wish, and also a digital file of the ad to use as your own email campaign, website and/or Facebook ad.  So this investment can get a LOT of additional mileage.

 

In regards to the above files for the ad, looking at them with 2 other framers, the following were our snap judgements or criticisms. If you want to share thoughts or ideas we will welcome them.  You can put them in as comments on this article or send them to Jennifer at Jayeness.

Here’s what we saw initially:

-It's negative, rather than playing up what we CAN do, it's negative about our competition.

-The colors are garish - the frame in the upper-right is not a custom frame - being a closed corner metal leafed old fashioned style like you'd find in a mass-produced ready-made. Gold frames in general are out of date

-the girl holding the frame in too young to be perceived as a professional framer and the frame she is holding is boring.

-The guy at the desk is showing black samples and white mats. Boring and un-creative - what all we framers strive not to be.

-The frame bordering the top of the page showing the man is again old fashioned and tired.

Now on to good news. Assuming all agree we need a second draft, a participating member who once worked in advertising has stepped up and offered his services free of charge in creating a second draft. He has worked on both regional and national advertising campaigns.

We want to be able to include photos of great frame jobs‚ÄĒthe type of job we want to advertise. We have a professional photographer who has volunteered to take pictures of these for us. Please give Jennifer a call if you have a frame job to suggest as a model for the ad.

Here’s the contact information if you’re interested in the project, have questions or feedback to give:

Jennifer Patterson

JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

206-715-2134

Classified Ads

Frame Shop consolidating to one location. The following Items are for sale.  Please contact Rene' at: lrbauer2004@yahoo.com

 

Corner Sample Towers: (15) Total all rotate, excellent condition - $150.00 (each)

12 - Split level

3 - Straight

Design Tables - Front of House Counter: (2) They have glass top's and shelves under for storage. 72" L x 36" W, x 33" H - $150.00 (each)

Bag Storage - Dispenser Unit: Holds (3-4 rolls of Bags depending on size) 44" L x 10.25" W x 70" H - $200.00

Flat Files: White - $125.00

Flat Files: (2) Tan & Gray = $200.00 each

Storage-Work Table: Pine and plywood solid - 40" L x 44-3/4" W x 36" H - $80.00

Greeting Counter: Brown veneer with Elk motif on front 70" L x 36" W x 36" H - $600.00

Mat Storage Unit: four separate Units with casters. 23-5/8" - 24" x L 42" W x 39-1/2" H - $200.00 (all four)

Table: 60" L x 42" W x 28-1/2" H - $30.00

Book Shelf: - $20.00

Dry Mount Table: Pine and plywood solid, on casters - 8'1" L x 49" W x 35" H - $75.00

Bookshelf: white - 8'1" L x 12" D x 4' H - $75.00

Practical Mat Decoration

Sometimes our mental image of a decorated mat includes frills and swirls and patterns on every square inch.¬† However impressive this may seem, a better idea is to add just a small touch.¬† This column will focus on decorative ideas you might use every day.¬† We all have skills and we should use them regularly ‚Äď to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 

 

V-Groove Ornaments

V-Grooves have been a benchmark of craftsmanship for framers for decades.  They are applicable in contemporary settings to add a shadow around a picture, and for traditional pieces they echo the look of a ruled line.  Typically, grooves have remained rectangular.

 

Ornamentation with V-Grooves entered the scene with the computerized mat cutter.  It would be natural to shape the V-Groove with decorative corners, just as we so often do with opening shapes.  But we discovered an unusual thing in the drawing program.  We can set a line segment to cut as a V-Groove.  The groove ornaments in these illustrations are examples of this idea.  There is rhythm and structure when we add these vertical linear elements along the sides, rather than just adding corner decoration.

The first example begins with a rectangular V-Groove surrounding the picture.  The decorative groove elements are vertical lines along the sides and short connective horizontal grooves.  Though there are only straight lines in this groove ornament, the time and precision required to cut these on a manual mat cutter may illustrate that this is an idea most practical with a computerized mat cutter.

The second example shows how curved groove elements open a world of possibilities.  These particular curves are just dramatic enough to create a feeling of weight at the bottom.  Imagine how you would invent curves that would be more subtle or truly grandiose.

 

In this illustration, the light gray layer is an inlay and there is a groove cut at the junction of the two colors.  You will decide if the extra effort of the inlay is worthwhile.  Some believe that when the gray and cream colors are on the same level, the look is more authentic.  Others believe that this effect is only evident on close inspection and that a three layer mat looks just as good and it is far less effort.

 

Whether the groove ornaments are straight lines or curves, they are drawn using the drawing program.  Experiment with the complexity of the curves, and the height and the spacing of the lines at the sides.  Remember that one reason customers have such affection for grooves is that they are nearly always understated.  This understatement offers us cover for the decoration we add.  The groove elements can be brimming with flair while the picture is still dominant.

Brian Wolf has been a picture framing educator since 1979, specializing in decorative matting techniques. He is the artistry ambassador for Wizard International, Inc. Contact him at WizardU@wizardint.com.

Brian’s column is sponsored by Wizard. www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335.

Vice-President’s Corner

In these busy trying times, many of you have smaller staffs than you’re used to, and the budget to attend trade shows and festivals might be hard to come by.   BUT there is an affordable wealth of information which you can access each and every month - a trade magazine. I've heard too many times "hmmm, I don't receive them anymore - they just quit coming" PLEASE renew! At just $20 a year or so, it's a bargain for great ideas, and tremendous advice.

OK I admit that I used to just go through the pictures intending to go back and read cover to cover but not always accomplishing that task. In the recent few years though, I have made it a point to read every word, and I find myself getting really pumped up and excited. There have been some fantastic articles on overcoming price objections, difficult clients, design tricks, merchandising, and installations. Who can't use some advice or new ideas in these categories?

Gone are the tear-out subscription post cards, replaced with subscription information printed within the magazine. To receive Picture Framing Magazine, call TOLL FREE 1-888-238-0049, or email at pfm@starrcorp.com. Check out their website www.pictureframingmagazine.com.  You can also access information on Décor Magazine at www.decormagazine.com .

My employer, Jayeness Moulding, receives monthly a handful of magazines to hand out. You are welcome to stop by to pick up a free issue, or please call me to grab one for you. If we run out one month, I will put you on priority for the following month. You can reach me at 206-715-2134. JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com.

The main lecturers for our industry who give seminars at conferences and trade shows submit articles for us to read - no traveling or vacation time needed.  Publications are struggling in this web-based age, so let's support our trade mags to keep them around for us.

Step Up Your Game

As a sales rep and a true custom framer at heart, I enjoy seeing the creative designs and problem solving exhibited by you.  I wanted to post a "brag column" allowing framers to show off proud accomplishments.  A focus of this guild is education, and through the photos posted monthly in this feature, I wish to get our creative juices flowing and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or even a new pup and old trick every now and then.  I promise to always have a camera with me, plus invite you to email your own photos to me at JenniferJPatterson1@yahoo.com

 

This is Fransico, owner of The Framery in Seattle. I complimented him on this day for "dressing up" for work. I know it's easy to wear grubbies when you do your own production work, but he noticed that when he dresses nicely, he attracts higher end clients. I also love how he uses every space possible for merchandising. He's created extra walls for such purposes. The samples being divided up from just one large sample wall is a nice touch as well, allowing for lots of choices without an overwhelming look . He's created a nice experience for the client and helps to lure in passers-by.

 

The following pictures were taken at Northwest Art & Frame. Nielsen Bainbridge has recently promoted these mini-hanging brackets - I believe they are around $3 each. What a great way to utilize scrap and showcase your design abilities and promote framing. As a sales rep - I especially love that these brackets allow you to hang display pieces on your sample wall without needing to take down any chevrons.

Gilded Corner – Tribute

For the past several years, Charles Douglas has faithfully delivered intriguing, informative articles on gilding to the EPFG's newsletter.  He is stepping back from writing for us, at least for a time, in order to free up his time to work with students and other pursuits with his gilding.

On behalf of the EPFG, I'd like to thank Charles for his amazing contribution to our education and for enriching the guild membership with his presence.  We appreciate it, Charles!  Thanks for the countless hours and thoughtful presentations you've given to us here at the EPFG and Framing Matters.

While we will miss Charles' articles, we wish him well with his busy schedule and the new challenges and opportunities of his continued gilding journey.

- Sheri J. Kennedy 

~Charles Douglas is a local custom gold leaf gilder and restorer of gilded objects and member of the EPFG. His studio is located at 3815 4th Avenue NE along the northern tip of Lake Union in Seattle where he teaches gilding classes periodically. Visit his website at http://gildingstudio.com/