Drawing Flowing Curves – Practical Mat Decoration

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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 – 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 – to keep our work interesting and to keep our customers thrilled.

 

Drawing Flowing Curves

Whether we are drawing lines to be cut or to be drawn with the pen, adjoining curves should flow gracefully from one to the next.  We have all had the experience of watching how terribly small angles cut.  There is either a shallow corner where the blade withdraws, twists, and plunges again - or there is a plowed spot where the blade twists in the matboard while it is on the move.  Neither of these cutting scenarios is particularly attractive.  At times these small angles are critical to define an image, but more often the transition could be smooth and the slice would look so much nicer.

 

If we are drawing lines with the pen, so many elements are so small, you would not imagine how a drawing glitch here and there would even be visible.  But when curves meet at small angles, the pen instantaneously changes direction and there could be an erratic wiggle in the line.  We could call these wiggles “character,” or we could smooth them so that there are no wiggles.

 

In either case - cutting or drawing - the fix is pretty easy once you understand how the tools work.  The examples here use Wizard’s PathTrace, but every drawing program has an automatic smoothing function of some description, though the specific operation sequence may differ.

 

The Tangification Function

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Two arcs join each other.  In this illustration, one is gray and the other is white.  Look closely at their junction point.  They meet at a slight angle.  If this is a drawing to be cut, this is the point where the blade may withdraw, shift, and plunge again.  Or the blade may instantaneously change twist as the machine keeps moving.  This angle can be smoothed using the Tangification function.

Here is how Tangification operates.  Click the Prep Design tab at the top and select Join Segments under Choose Operation at the left.  First join the two arcs.

 

 

 

 

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Next, select Tangify Segments under Choose Operation.  At the bottom left is the Maximum Angle field.  You can enter any value and choose the maximum allowable angle here.  Notice that it is set to 22° here.  This means that any angle above that will be left alone.  Any angle less than 22° will be smoothed.  The arrow in the drawing field points to the junction of the two arcs.

 

 

 

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Move the cursor to highlight the joined arcs and click one time.  The transition will be smoothed and the two arcs will now join at a 0° angle.  Again, the arrow in the drawing field points to the junction of the arcs.  After tangification, the angle at the junction is now smoothed.

If the tangified curves were superimposed onto the original curves, you could readily see that tangification works by altering portions of both arcs where they meet.  Most of the change here is seen in the larger arc on the right.

 

There are times when the particular changes made by the tangification function alter the curves in a disagreeable way.  There is a way to take advantage of the tangification function and minimize its impact on the design.  We will do this by cutting away pieces of the original arcs and inserting a shorter curve between the larger curves.

 

Inserting a Transitional Curve

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Here is an example where we could not accept the changes to the curves that tangification might perform as it smoothes the transitions.  There are adjacent curves to be considered for both spacing issues and aesthetic appeal.

The lines in gray are the original pen ornament.  The swirls of the ornament are only a little more than a quarter inch high and the lines that cross in the center are not even a sixteenth of an inch apart.

 

We want to make the larger flourish on the left a little more grandiose to suit another picture more proportionately.  The white curves represent our proposed changes.

 

There are three elements to the new white curve.  There is one curved line at the top and another at the bottom.  At the left there is an arc.  The segments are joined in this step, so they appear as one curve.

 

Arcs are very handsome when you are able to incorporate them, because of their constant rate of curvature.  Curved lines (when you move the midpoint of a line, it turns into a curve) are easy to use because you are able to move the midpoint from one end of the line to the other.  As you do this, the rate of curvature is greater on the shorter end of the line and you are able to blend adjoining elements nicely.

 

These three elements have been joined and tangified and everything looks just as it should except there is a slight disagreeable flat spot on the curve near the arrow.

 

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There is a Move Point function in PathTrace that may help.  Click the Trace and Draw tab at the top.  Select Move Point under Choose Operation at the left.

The illustration shows that Move Point is not always the answer, though.  After tangification, there are more control points along the curve.  The curve sometimes behaves more like a wet noodle than a curve as you move the control points.

 

The illustration also shows that the action of Move Point is only for discrete elements, joined or not.  The angle you see to the right of the arrow is where the curved line at the bottom joins the arc on the left.  Patience and experience with the Move Point function could likely correct this flat spot, but inserting a transitional curve is sure to leave all the other portions of the curve undisturbed.

 

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First, we need to decide where to break the curve.  Click on Draw Line under Choose Operation.  Draw lines approximately equidistant on either side of the flat spot.

The exact position where these lines intersect the curve is not critical.  As you place the lines, imagine the transitional curve and how long it needs to be in order to improve the curve.

 

 

 

 

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Click the Prep Design at the top.  Select Break Intersection under Choose Operation.

Break the intersections that the lines (the lines we drew in the previous step) have with the curve.

In this illustration, the white segment is the piece that will be replaced.  In this zoomed-in view, you can see that it is less than graceful.

Delete this line.  It may possibly be helpful as a reference, but more often, it is in the way of your view as you set to improve the curves.

 

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We will now connect the pieces of the broken curve with a line segment.  We could certainly draw a new line, but we have four broken line segments already snapped to the broken endpoints of the curve.

Click the Trace and Draw tab and select Move Point.  Move the endpoint of one of the broken line segments on the left and snap it to the broken end of the curve on the right.

The white line in this illustration is the moved line segment.

 

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With the Move Point function still selected, move the midpoint of this intervening line.  As you move the point, the line will curve.  This is a small segment and tangification will fix nearly any imprecision at this point, but watch how the curve changes as you move the point left and right as well as up and down.  With a little experimentation, you will be able to bend the line so that it connects the broken pieces of the curve without a hiccup.

In this illustration the white curve makes the transition in the broken spot of the curve.  We have not disturbed the other portions of the new curve that we like so much.

 

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Join all the new segments and tangify them.  Unless there are grievous errors, you will not see a change after you click the Tangify Segments button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In this illustration, all the leftover pieces of the original ornament have been deleted.  The new ornament has been given its cutting instructions.  It has been set to draw with the pen.  The new ornament can now be saved to use over and over.

 

 

 

 

As you are evaluating this idea for its practicality, you may imagine that all these steps are much more involved than simply refining the curve using the Move Point function, whatever its pitfalls.  This may at times be the ideal answer.  But do not discount the big advantage of this alternative procedure.  Inserting a transitional curve to repair a problem area leaves the other areas of the drawing untouched.

 

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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 hime at WizardU@wizardint.com  Brian's column is sponsored by Wizard.  www.wizardint.com or call 1-888-855-3335

Sneak Peek Back to the Future – Go Green

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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.

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.

 

This month's recyclable tips look back at our Summer meeting at the William Bound's Gallery, just like we'll be looking forward to with our next EPFG Meeting. Coming right up! This article is also full of great advice on a variety of framing topics.

Go Green page 1

Go Green cont

Step Up Your Game

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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

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Danny Donovan, of Ben Franklin Monroe, cleverly uses  3M Scotch Magic removable tape to mask a mat with an applied fillet in order to putty its corners without dirtying the mat. In a specialty mat treatment class from Brian Wolf, he used this same product as a mask when painting, gilding, or otherwise coloring bevels.

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This is a painting I saw in a gallery beautifully using a colorful moulding in lieu of a linen liner. A fun and bold way to enhance our framing designs and use those bright colorful moulding lines we have.

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Finish it! – Editor’s Scraps

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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

June President’s Corner

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I can't wait to see all your beautiful faces at the PPFA Cascade Chapter meeting this Sunday, June 23rd at Framers’ Inventory Portland, Or. I'm going, and if you'd like to come along go ahead and give me an email or a phone call at the Frame Makers. Our phone number is 253-564-2320 or email me at info@evergreenpictureframers.org.

We didn't get enough members to RSVP their interest for our Labor Day Weekend Education Festival, so the Festival will be postponed to a date in the future.

We are now in the process of scheduling a General Meeting in Burlington, Washington at William Bounds Custom Framing and Gallery. This meeting will be either August 11th or the 18th, and once we lock in our guest speaker we’ll finalize the date. Keep a lookout for the update on this meeting.

It’s about time we had a meeting up north for our many friends there.

On a side note. Being president of the EPFG is proving to be one of the most difficult ventures I’ve ever undertaken. My responsibilities in the frame shop are enormous. My responsibilities as president is equally substantial.  The enormity of my responsibilities way heavy on my shoulders and I ask myself why I carry on. I’m reminded of an English proverb. “ A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” Often times I carry on alone and I don’t meet my goal or it is nowhere in site. Yet, I carry on.

Step Up Your Game

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Meet Our New Treasurer, Kim Rene-Weiser

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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’s called the Frame Up on South Hill in Puyallup, WA.  I started framing at age 14, but became an “official framer” 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’s degree and two bachelor’s degrees in totally different fields…..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

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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

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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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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

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Kim's Montly Review Header

Maxim Wood Glue – 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.

 

 

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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 “The Grumble” 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 – 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

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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

May President’s Corner

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prezI’m Rami Alhakeem and this is another President’s Corner.

The life of a framer is a stressful one. I don't think many people know the pressures we go through. The deadlines we have to meet. The range of people we haveto deal with. The crazy unrealistic expectations they have for us.

Somebody walked into the shop and made fun of one of my client’s art. He asked me how do I feel about framing other people’s awful art. Ouch, that hurt. It cut right into me. It was as if to say there is no dignity in what I do. I'm not going to tell you how I responded. I'll save that story for a Jagged Corner comic.

I wanted to be a framer because I wanted to be an artist. I was selfish when I started framing. Artist are inherently selfish. Artist scumm.... It’s a love hate relationship.

When I’m framing I don't consider myself to be an artist. I'm a magician and I put a spell on you. I make you fall in love. Then I break your heart with the price, but then you pay it anyway because who can refuse love? I think it’s a fair trade.

I look inside you and I see what you want. I am merciful, I am giving, and I grant what your heart desires.

Artist are a dime a duzin. We pimp frames, that’s how we roll. Walk away into the sunset proud. Spread the love.

 

Two Opening Shapes – Practical Mat Decoration

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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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – again.  Set the first four parameters to zero.  We will be working with the bottom three parameters – 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 – again – 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

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

April President’s Corner

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EPFG President Welcome to another president’s corner.

 Here is what’s going on with the EPFG. We’re in the process of revamping our library. Our members have free access to the library so if you're not a member, please consider becoming one. For a list of books and videos available please follow the link below.

http://evergreenpictureframers.info/library/

We’ve narrowed down a possible date for the EPFG Education Fest to Sunday of Labor Day weekend starting in the afternoon and going into the evening. So far Embassy Suites in Tukwila, WA has given us the best rates. That day’s rates works best for our budget. Time is quickly passing, and we need to make a decision whether to commit to this date. What do you think of having Education Fest on September 1st? Please leave a comment below.

Awesome news. We now have a new treasurer, Kim Rene Weiser. Kim is a fellow framer and one of the most responsible ones I know. I trust that she will help us restore the EPFG.

Also more awesome news, I had a lovely conversation with David Greene who is president of Cascade Chapter PPFA. We talked about how we might be able to join forces and make our two groups better. He also extended an invitation to all EPFG members to join CC PPFA at their June 23rd meeting. This meeting will be at Framers’ Inventory, Portland, Oregon and will consist of three educational classes by Jim Miller. Please follow the link below for more detailed information on the classes.

http://evergreenpictureframers.info/2013/04/24/classified-ads-13/

For the low, low price of $100 you’ll be able to attend all three classes and lunch.

If any EPFG members would like to carpool to the June CCPPFA meeting please contact me or leave a comment down bellow. I’m Rami Alhakeem and you’ve just been filled in with EPFG news.

-- Rami Alhakeem

Step Up Your Game

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Step Up header 2

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

Juanita Schmidt, owner of Frame It, LTD, recently had the chance to reinvent herself after losing her lease and moving into a far better location and space.  She took a bunch of her old ready-mades, painted them white, and assembled them into an attractive, eye-catching doorway into her ready-made sales room.  It advertises and pleases at the same time.

image image[1] image[2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Frame It, LTD's new space, these display rounders were built by owner, Juanita Schmidt's, mother.  Talk about a labor of love!  They are in the large storefront window and visible from a busy road. I was so impressed by these and so appreciative of how they created a way to house and show many samples in a small area.  Attractive and effective.  Call Juanita, 206-364-7477, to be put in touch with her mother for pricing information, as this is something she would like to continue to do.

image image[1] image[2] photo

Drop Shadows-Practical Mat Decoration

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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 – 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 – 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 2¾ inches wide 4 inches high.  Space the letters a little farther apart than normal – 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 5½ inches high.  This is a nice typographical touch we can use when the customer’s 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

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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

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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! 

March President’s Corner

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Rami

Hello and Welcome to the March episode of the EPFG President’s Framing Corner.

If you can't watch the video, the following is this month's President's Corner.

I’m Rami Alhakeem, The new president of the EPFG. I’m going to use the monthly President’s Corner as a way to inform all of you on what the board is doing each month. So here's what’s happening with the EPFG. I’ll start by recapping all of last year. Nope I think I’ll go back even further. This is what I know. Along time ago. Way, way back in the day. The EPFG started off as the MacCormick Club. It was mostly an informal club. Eventually the group got their act together and turned it into a non profit organization. The EPFG membership swelled and a tradition of educating framers was born. This tradition went on for many glorious years. Fast forward to last year. Way less frame shops in existence and way less galleries in existence. If you’re still framing for a living congratulate yourself, you’re part of dying bread. Literally. Many old school members retired, closed shops or moved on. The old EPFG board made up of passionate volunteers, had to step out sometime. A whole new board stepped up to fill those shoes.  EPFG-ad2But last year was tough. Some of us realized it was more than they could handle and had to step down. We’ll I've stepped up, Jennifer Patterson is definitely stepping up, Stacia Harvey stepped up. We believe in restoring the EPFG tradition of making better framers. We created a better newsletter with a blog format and I’m very proud of all we've accomplished with that alone. But I want more. I want to bring us all back together again. I want you to support the EPFG by being a member. I don’t care if you’re not a shop or gallery owner. If you’re a framer and you’re proud of what you do and who you are, join the EPFG. There’s honor in what you do it’s more than just a job this is a passion. That’s what our founding members felt and that’s how I feel. I really want to bring the annual education fest back and I want it in the Fall but I need your help. Membership is only $40 dollars and we need members. At the very least register with the site so you can leave a message down below. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Would you like to see the Education Festival back again? Would you go to Education Fest around September? I hope you liked the video. I think It’s a good way for you to get to know me and the EPFG a little bit better. Don’t forget to leave a comment down below this post.

Rami --

Stop, Look and Listen

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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

 

Step Up Your Game

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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, owner of the Tacoma Framemakers, created this beautiful design that’s unique in its stacking. The cap frame is smaller than the liner frame.  It is much more common to see the opposite.  This combination is the perfect compliment and extension of the batik it's framing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rami Alhakeem of Tacoma Framemakers pokes a brad through the mat where he is going to mount an award medal using E6000.  This gives him much stronger adherence, plus there is no worry of the surface paper of the mat peeling away causing the object to fall.

 

 

 

Practical Mat Decoration

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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 – 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 – and should be – 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 – 1mm tips are common – 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

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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

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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!

President’s Corner

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We bared our souls to one another. We laid it all down on the table during our last meeting. Sheri, Jennifer, Stacia, Molly, and I were there.

If you’ve never met us, I’ll sum up who we are. We are the foolish kids who inherited the 40 year old EPFG. We are the ones who did not turn our backs on her. We are the framers who will march forward and continue the tradition of educating framers. We made small strides, we are growing up, we are maturing, we are changing, but we are by no means dying. Many have given up on us but we have not given up on you. 

 

 

I have outlined our mission for the board this year.

  • We are bringing back the Education Festival.
  • We will have other educational events besides the festival.
  • We will bring reputable instructors to teach these classes.
  • We will bring back framing competitions along with a possible Frame Shop of the Year Award and Framer of the Year Award.
  • I will personally be visiting frame shops everywhere for the purposes of recruiting and surveying. 
For your convenience we've added a calendar page and a list of events to our new site. A link to the calendar page can be found up above in the Activity menu. No events have been posted at this time but they will be added to this page in time.

I am Rami Alhakeem and I am honored to be the 2013-2014 EPFG president.

Step Up Your Game

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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

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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 hereherehere 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