“We hope to inform and keep you up-to-date on the latest in the art and custom-framing world and make you laugh occasionally in the process.”
That’s what I wrote at the end of our first blog on November 1, 2011. I realize now I left out something very important in that line.
Here’s a great
quote from English social reformer John Ruskin (1819-1900):
“There is hardly anything in this world
that a man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and people who
consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.
It is stupid to pay too much, but it is
still worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose some money; that
is all. But when you pay too little, you often lose everything, for the object
purchased cannot perform the task it was intended for.”
Now, I like a
good bargain just as much as the next person, but I also like to think that I’m
a smart enough consumer to know when to spend money and when I can go for the
less expensive options.
And here’s why
this matters in terms of framing.
How to Pick Out a Mat
In the 23 years Lenny and I have owned The Art Shop, I’m guessing I have selected over 1800 mats and frames for clients and for myself. (which is probably quite low.) With that kind of experience, I’m thinking you might call me fairly knowledgeable about the subject.
Over the years, I’ve developed Arlene’s Rules of Mat Selection:
While Lenny and I own a spacious 5500
square foot gallery, MY office is anything but. My cubicle is slightly
less than 5ft x 5 ft. (I measured it.) Add in a desk, a
chair, a computer, a purse, a lunch bag, a coat, files, papers and two dogs who
sit at my feet and it makes for a very crowded workspace. (Before we remodeled
the offices, my desk was next to the men’s room, which was most unpleasant, but
In keeping with last week’s blog about
New Year’s resolutions, I vowed to clean up my desk and files and get
organized. Step one of that process was cleaning out the space in the
shelf above my desk. In doing so, I uncovered some interesting old
By divine intervention in May of
2010, William Christopher Hawkins dropped off a resume just as we were in need
of an additional framer. We took one
look at samples of his work – including gorgeous shadowboxes, original artwork
and intricately cut mats – and hired him on the spot.
Did you hear about the woman from Concord who, while shopping for a blanket at a local Goodwill store, found two large canvases selling for $9.99 each? She thought the pieces were ugly and dated, but bought them to paint over since she was an artist herself and canvas that size is expensive. Her friends noticed a sticker on the back of one of them from UNCG’s Weatherspoon Gallery and suggested she do a little research before painting over them.
An internet search told her the artist, Bolotowsky, was one of the premier abstract artists of the 20th century. She contacted Weatherspoon who confirmed the painting was loaned to the museum by Burlington Industries, Inc. and displayed at a show in 1979. She then sent photos and the Weatherspoon documentation to Sotheby’s in New York who agreed to sell the painting for her. It sold recently for $27,500 at auction. The woman has been out of work for quite some time and has health and financial issues, so it’s easy to feel happy for her good fortune.
It can be annoying when a light bulb goes out in your home and you have to replace it – especially when it is out of reach and you need a ladder to change it. Imagine owning an art gallery with nearly 200 light bulbs each going out at a different time and each requiring a ladder to reach. It’s a never-ending task to which Andy or Chris will testify since they are the ones who have to change all those bulbs.
When I got into the business of framing, it didn’t occur to me that selecting a frame would often be an emotional experience. It stands to reason emotions come into play when you consider that people generally frame photos and objects that are of great importance to them. (Of course, there was the client who shadowboxed a rock only to inform us later it was one she’d found it in her backyard. We make no judgment – on the contrary, we encourage all of you to look in your backyards for unusual geologic formations and bring them to us to frame.)
Most often, the framing is for happy occasions – a wedding or new baby photo, tickets to a favorite concert, a hole-in-one scorecard, etc. Clients love to talk about what they are framing and we love to hear the stories. We’ve heard some unbelievable tales of wild vacations (wish I could tell you, but we keep secrets), celebrity encounters, interesting family histories and many others.
Tough Framing Project? Ask Chris.
Webster’s defines "challenge" as "a stimulating task or problem." And that is what our Production Director Chris Taylor loves.
Whenever we have a framing question or tough framing problem to solve, the answer is usually, "Let’s ask Chris."
At the recent wedding of a friend, the bride & groom read letters to each other during the ceremony. It reminded me that over 35 years ago, I had written a letter to Lenny the night before we got married (in 1975). Since he had no memory of it (of course), I was determined to find it. I was sure it had to be in an old trunk we kept locked in the attic. First chore was to find the key to unlock the trunk. Found it. Since the temperature is about 130 degrees in the attic this summer, the second chore was to drag the trunk down the stairs so we could wade through all the memories in cool comfort.
(Yes, that’s Lenny and me on our way to our honeymoon. Two things in this picture Lenny doesn’t have anymore- the leisure suit and the hair)!