Pricing – 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 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.

 

Here's some insight into price figuring from April 1998. Though many framers rarely or no longer use mounting tissue, the exercise is useful and a good reminder to consider hidden costs and to make sure retail pricing is based on the full picture. (pardon the pun!) There's also a little trivia to play with answers at the bottom of the article pages. Thanks to Tim Taricco, Editor and Paul Miller, CPF for the thought-provoking article.

Go Green Jan 14 1Go Green Jan 14 2

Classified Ads – December 2013

Classified Ad Header winter 13-14

 

 

We are in our busy season as well as all of you are too. We are looking to hire a part time Framer for our Woodinville Gallery with Exceptional skills. If you know of anyone that could use some part time work, please let us know. We are willing to pay up to $20.00 per hour. Our number is 425.424.9500.
Thank you and Have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.
Stevn and Corinne Alavekios
Photographic Essays
http://www.photographicessays.com

Decorative Breaks – 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 – 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.

 

Decorative Breaks in a Narrow Reveal

As we are looking for ways to use the computerized mat cutter to its fullest, we see that the standard corner treatments and ornamental cutouts are often not the answer.  How can we include decorative cutting in a different way?

This idea begins as a triple mat.  The top and bottom layers are rectangular.  There is a decorative break in the narrow middle layer.  The eighth inch of color is broken and a decorative element peeks from the break between the top and bottom layers.

201 Beginning Photo

This idea is not part of any standard computerized mat cutter program.  Making a mat like this requires the use of the drawing program – both to draw the decorative breaks and to integrate them into the middle layer of the mat.

Drawing the Decorative Breaks

This is a very good beginning drawing project.  You will learn and exercise a number of the drawing functions.  There are not line by line drawing instructions to follow, but the hints offer a good start as you learn more about drawing.

001 Breaks Graphic

Here is a picture of six variations on this idea.  Copy it and save it as a graphic file.  The first design is the decorative break used in the photograph at the beginning.  The next three variations change only the crown of the break.  The last variation is the break used in the photograph at the end.  They have all been tested and they cut nicely provided they are in these proportions and they are 1.5 inches high.

Using the Image

Put this image into the background of PathTrace and draw lines and arcs that follow the lines and arcs in the picture.

002 Path Trace Drawing

When the image is in the background, make it 1.75 inches high and 3.85 inches wide.  This will make the picture the proper size and proportion so that the images of the decorative breaks themselves will be 1.5 inches high.

This illustration of the drawing in progress is zoomed in on the element on the left to get a closer look.  Note the Height and Width settings of the image at the lower left.

There is an Opacity slider above the size field to make the image more faint so that you can see the lines you are drawing more clearly.  The element on the right is only the image.  You can see the darker gray lines we are drawing on the element on the left.

The Decorative Breaks’ Construction

All these breaks are drawn with only lines and arcs.

The vertical line at the top of each one needs to be exactly in line with the vertical line at its bottom.

The arcs and lines at the tops of all these breaks are identical to the arcs and lines at their bottoms.

A Few Drawing Reminders

To draw perfectly horizontal or vertical lines, hold the Control key on the keyboard as you draw.

To snap the beginning of a line or an arc to specific point, move the cursor near that point and right-click.  The beginning point will snap exactly onto the closest point to the cursor.

Zoom in very close to see that lines and arcs flow together without an angle.

Use the Move Point function to refine the shapes of arcs.

Use the Tangification function and the program will smooth the junctions of lines and arcs.

Draw the top half of the break, then mirror it across a horizontal center line.

Join all the segments and set each finished break to cut as a V-Groove.

Save each decorative break as its own CutArt file.  This is how you will add it to a mat design.

There will be a few more drawing reminders in the details that follow.

Integrating the Break

The decorative break has been drawn and saved as a CutArt.  To use the break in the mat design, we now need to replace the sides of the middle layer of the opening with the CutArt we have drawn.

101 In MD

Design the opening in MatDesigner.

Include the CutArt anywhere in the design.  There is no way to snap the CutArt to the correct spot on the opening here in the design program so its placement is not critical.  We will be able to snap the CutArt into its exact place in PathTrace.

Send the design to PathTrace.

In PathTrace: Positioning the CutArt

Use Copy Object to move the CutArt into place.

103 Snapped to Side

Move the cursor near the top of the CutArt and right-click when you select it in order to grab it by the point at the top.

Hold the Shift key and the original will disappear as you move the copy around.

Move the CutArt near the midpoint of the left side of the middle layer of the opening.

Right-click to snap the top point of the CutArt to the midpoint of the side of the middle layer.

Now that the CutArt is snapped to the side of the middle layer, we need to move it up or down to a place where we think it looks best.104 Positioned

Still using Copy Object, hold the Control key so that the CutArt will move perfectly vertically.  Hold the Shift key, too, so that only the copy remains.

Move the CutArt to its final vertical position.  In this example, it is just a little below the center.

Deleting the Sides of the Opening

The CutArt will replace the sides of the middle layer.  First we need to delete the existing sides of the middle layer.

105 Exploded and Deleted

Explode the middle layer of opening.

Delete the sides of the exploded opening.

Extending the Endpoints

This is not a critical step, but the segments of the opening will join better if the endpoints of the CutArt are extended to be closer to the corners.

106 Extended

Hold the Control key on the keyboard so that the sides of the CutArt remain perfectly vertical.

Use Move Point and move the endpoints of the CutArt closer to the corners.

In this illustration both endpoints have been moved.

Mirroring

Next, mirror the CutArt onto the other side of the opening.

107 Center Line

Mirroring works by using a reference line as a mirror axis, so we need to draw a vertical center line.

Move the cursor near the midpoint of the top of the opening.  Right-click to snap the beginning of the line to the midpoint.

Hold the Control key to keep the line vertical and end the line anywhere.

Mirror the CutArt on the left across the vertical center line onto the right side of the opening.

108 Mirrored

Mirroring is a two step function, but it is very simple.  First select the item to be mirrored, then select the line that is the mirror axis.  The mirrored copy will appear on the other side of the opening.

Finishing

Join the four new sides of the middle layer.

109 Joined

Set the new shape to cut as a normal bevel.

110 Set to Cut

Make sure that you set the new shape to cut as the middle layer of this opening.  At the bottom left, note that the Current Layer is set to Layer 2.

The mat is ready to cut.

As usual, these steps use the Wizard software.  Your program’s functions may have different names, but the process will be the same no matter which program you use.

202 Ending Photo

It appears as if there are many steps to this process of integrating these decorative breaks into the sides of the mat.  Explanations often mask reality, though.  Once you understand the process, you will find that all the steps are quite simple and the procedure will take only a minute.

The fact remains that this idea of mat decoration is outside of the kinds of things computerized mat cutter programs do normally - so of course we are required to do things manually.  New ideas will always require a little extra effort, but the results will be something special.

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

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 creative and fun design by Anna Johnson of Tacoma Framemakers, demonstrates both a practical and a whimsical technique.

photo 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the practical, the glass has been placed between the textured scoop liner moulding and the top block cap frame which creates a natural lift or shadow box effect. This is a very attractive, easy and effective trick to do when the art is lifted and floated. Using two mouldings can be an intimidating proposition to sell, but considering there is no matting here, the united inches are much lower.  All the money saved in keeping it smaller can go towards a flashier fantastic frame design.

photo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whimsical factor here is the hand painted "blood spatter" on the linen mat, which did a great job in soaking up the red paint. A thinner paint wash was applied first then more concentrated dripping created this look.

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

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 – 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.