Bespoke Framing

The aesthetic problem I set out to solve is the puzzling dearth of handsome, handmade picture frames that are crafted as well as the images they surround.

I have recently taken matters into my own hands and now offer shop-made, bespoke frames for my photographs, as well as other fine art prints and originals, and for historic maps and similar precious documents. 

All of my pictures frames are hand made to order and individually designed to meet the specific aesthetic requirements of the artwork to be displayed, and the environment in which it will be viewed.    

Framing Materials

All my frames are made from solid wood lumber, including maple, oak, pine and other woods as appropriate to the project and the image to be framed. 

The lumber I use may be new, reclaimed or up-cycled. It depends on what's available and what you like. 

I use a wide variety of wood-finishing materials, including dyes, pigments, varnishes, shellacs, beeswax and other waxes, and various oils including linseed, walnut, tung, Danish, etc. It depends on the project, but I prefer to use natural, non-industrial finishes whenever possible. 

Mats & Glazing 

Most items that I frame are first fitted to a window mat made of acid- and lignin-free, cotton-rag museum board. This is typically a four-ply board with a 45 degree-beveled inside edged. 

Backing boards are typically acid-free foam core or another acid-free board, the choice of which will largely be dictated by the requirements of the project. 

For glazing, I highly recommend UV-filtering plexiglass. This material is color-neutral and crystal clear so colors and surface textures of prints are more visible, and UV filtering helps guard against fading from exposure to sunlight. 

Photographic Prints

Photographs are printed on an Epson P800 printer using archive-rated Epson UltraChrome HD inks.  

I use a range of photo printing papers, but mostly turn to Epson photo paper products which come in a number of surfaces (matte to gloss), and tones (neutral to warm). 

There are many excellent photographic papers available from third parties. However, I've found that using a printer, inks, papers and profiles from a single vendor (in this case, Epson) I get the control and consistency i need to ensure optimal display and archival performance. 

Here are a few examples:

Cows Along U.S. Route 7, Vermont

Print: 16" x 20" ($400), Maple frame with cotton rag mat and UV acrylic: 25" x 35" ($650).   

This frame is built from plain-sawn rock maple finished with pecan dye and hand-rubbed shellac and carnauba wax. 

The warm hues conveyed through the wood, window mat and earthy tone of the photo inks are complementary and create a unified visual theme.  

This is an illustration of my main goal in frame making, which is to design and build image-specific display solutions that harmonize all physical and visual elements. I think that art is happier and more rewarding to the viewer when framed this way. 

Storm Over Stacey Boulevard, Gloucester

Print: 8 1/2" x 16" ($200), Maple frame with cotton rag mat and UV acrylic: 15 1/2" x 22" ($325).

This frame is built from randomly-figured maple and finished with hand-rubbed walnut oil, shellac and carnauba wax. It is a simple flat profile with a 30 degree bevel toward the image. This allows the wood to show off its character without the distraction of a complex frame profile. This is a theme I try to apply whenever possible. 

Slow Surf, Singing Beach 

Print: 10 1/2" x 18 1/2" ($250), Antiqued-pine frame with cotton rag mat and UV acrylic: 24 1/2" x 16 1/2" ($375).

The theme of this work is seaside casual. The frame is built of clear eastern pine with plain flat-sided moulding. The wood is finished is a succession of stains and paints which have been mildly distressed between coats. 

For more information about my Bespoke Framing offerings, please click here to visit the Contact page, or call me at 978-578-4688. 

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