Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Framing for the Budget Conscious Artist

Framing has always been my least favorite of my show prep activities. I mostly avoided this activity by painting on canvas, and typically leaving it unframed. Lately, however, I've been painting more paintings on paper and now it's time to pay the price - it's time to frame them!

As much as I'd like to just hand them over to a professional and just say - there you go, frame away - I can't bear to spend that much on something I'm capable of doing myself. Blame growing up in a 1 income teacher's budget conscious household with a mother who could, quite literally, make almost anything (and still does). She's amazing - but that's another story.

So, off to buy my framing supplies...

Now, I do try to shop local for as much as my budget allows. I am, however, partial to www.AmericanFrame.com for my frames. I don't like to cut my own framing material (I've always been bad with the "measure twice, cut once" motto, and often mix it up). They have a wide selection of frames, good prices, and fast shipping. If I need to, I can always have my mats cut by them as well.

Since my paintings on paper are painted to the edge, I prefer to frame them using a floating frame method, which requires the use of spacers (a little strip that goes between the glass and the mat to keep the artwork from hitting the glass. Kind of like a skinny shadowbox). In college we used strips of wood and cut them ourselves (yes, they made all good painting students take woodshop), but today I prefer these handy little plastic strips (called "Airspace") for their ease and clarity. I bought mine at www.DanielSmith.com (although I only found them in their catalog, not their website). And, I discovered after gluing down a couple strips, they DO have a self adhesive side! (Just be careful to get it in place before it touches down - it's hard to move it afterward).

For mat supplies, I did a mix of getting pre-cut mats since I still like having 1 mat cut to frame the artwork (not necessary, but I prefer it.) For the cut mat I went to American Frame, mostly because it made it easier to plan
out the size of the actual frames to buy and the color of the mat. For the solid piece of matboard on which the artwork is secured, I went to my local craft store: Creative Crafts. They also supplied me with the museum glass I decided to use.

For original art I just felt it would look better and more professional, especially in an outdoor booth environment where I get a lot of reflections. It is pricey, but it does look great. The Creative Crafts Framing department gave me a great word of advice when working with it too - wear cotton gloves! It prevents smudges while you work, and prevents yourself from getting scratched. They also gave me these great stickers for placing on the back of the artwork so that the customer knows what kind of glass you used, and how to clean it. Thanks Creative Crafts!

I still need to complete the final touch before hanging them at the show - covering the back with paper to prevent dust from entering into the frames (for the wood frames, especially), but that shouldn't take me too long.

Here are a few more of the results of my work. I still have 1 more to frame, but I feel they'll make a nice addition to my show booth in Corvallis this weekend. Hope to see you there!


JeMA said...

Jennifer, love your blog. I read about how you recylce your layers of acrylic! What a creative idea! I do not enjoy cleaning up my palette after working....hmm..

Have a great day and keep painting! Your work is very ispirational and joyful.

Jennifer Lommers said...

Thank you!

Amanda Makepeace said...

Wonderful post! You're in the EBSQ Friday Five!

Jeanne Forsyth said...

Inspiring work and great blog Jennifer, and congrats on being featured on EBSQ! TFS your info on framing~

Jennifer Lommers said...

Thanks Amanda and Jeanne!

And - You can see how the framed pieces look in my booth on my Facebook fanpage here!

Show Booth Picture

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