Establishing myself as a local “boutique” frame maker means I need to let Phoenix artists know and understand what I can do for them and their art. Of course I have some prejudice but I look at the frame and the art as a package deal. There are many reasons an artist doesn’t look for that special frame to compliment their work but the main one is budget. The goal I have is to help them overcome that.
I have several artists that I do work for and have created their own profile. Sometimes they ask for a one of a kind creation like a tabernacle frame but most times they have an upcoming show or client and just want their works to have a cohesive look that sets them apart from the mass produced, probably imported frames the big box stores and internet have to offer. In most instances, if I’m asked to make one frame it may be priced at let’s say $85.00 but if I do 3 of them at the same time the price will lower to maybe $65.00 or less. If you understand the process of making them you’ll see that much of the time is spent setting up my equipment but once it’s set up I can run 30′ of material for several frames in just slightly more time than it would take to run 6′ for one frame. Allow me to explain the process without getting too technical as Diane says I tend to get! Here’s the completed Sherri Profile frame:
The process of frame making is to start with Basswood, in this case 1 1/16″ thick. The first step is selecting wood that will let me get as many pieces of the required width without a lot of waste. For this frame we wanted about 3″ wide and the stock I found was slightly less than 6″ but that was fine with my client. Once in the shop the wood is hand planed to give a straight edge so it can be ripped on the table saw. I also hand plane the faces to remove all mill marks.
The next step for this particular frame was forming the beads. I prefer doing this with a hand plane but in this instance I set up a cutter in my “almost antique” Rockwell shaper and then sanded them with tadpole sanders to remove any mill marks.
After mitering the pieces they are joined with glue and clamped overnight. I cut a slot for what’s referred to as a biscuit. This reinforces the joinery. Commercial frames will only be joined with metal fasteners driven in from behind — no glue. My technique is referred to as a closed corner frame and is much stronger and better appearing than mass produced frames. The frame will be finished after the mitered joint is planed/sanded as smooth as possible. This particular frame was finished with a traditional red burnisher/sealer followed with black Japan black paint which is hand burnished. The sight edge has been oil gilded with composition gold leaf. The over-all goal is to replicate some aging and patina to the frame which will expose some of the base coat as well as crackling of the gold. This aspect of frame tends to be somewhat flexible, you can never predict how the gold leaf may crack or fault or how much of the base coat will be exposed during the process — fingers crossed!
At this time the frame is complete and delivered to my client. She pleased with the final product and now has a custom frame profile named after her! I look forward to working with her in the future to frame her art. I believe this frame and her art is destined for an upcoming show in Sedona.