Archive for January, 2010

Heading out

The last few days have been unseasonably warm. It’s not enough to cause much of a melt but fog has been blanketing the area. All the fog has left a

frost on ivy

heavy layer of hoarfrost everywhere. I love how it looks on the ivy in the urns.

We’ve been running around getting everything ready for us to head off to the Art and Frame Show. The store will be closed from tomorrow, January 21st until Tuesday February 2nd. While the shop will not be open, Dad will be around and can answer any phone or email questions. He can also make appointments for consultations after I get back. I’ll be taking the camera with me so I hope to have some photos to share, when I return!

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So the workshop went well. We had 10 people attend and it took a little over two hours to do. Everyone got to play with some metal leaf and

the finished pieces!

make a small leather ornament for the next holiday season. Although at least one was planning on converting hers to a pendant so it can used all year ’round. (and another person brought a couple of hair decorations to work on as well)  I may end up running another one for a larger group near the end of May, but the store won’t be closed for the day if I do. Mother will have to take charge of the shop while I go out and spread the word about gilding!

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workshop reminder

Just a reminder that we will be closed tomorrow. I’ll be in Woodstock offering a workshop in intro gilding for the Leatherworkers Guild.

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book night out

I mentioned some time ago that I’m involved in Bookcrossing, a virtual book club where you tag and release books to travel the world. While I keep a

Princess Cafe desserts

box of free books in the store I also like to attend local meet-ups. It’s an opportunity to chat about reading with other people and exchange books. Last night there was one for the Kitchener-Waterloo area and it was at the Princess Theatre in Uptown Waterloo. (and we all added to the stash of free books they maintain in the cafe) We didn’t have a huge turnout but it was a fun time. Dad came along and we both sampled the lovely desserts. I had a chocolate caramel tart (it’s the one in front) and Dad had a mini cheesecake. Mine was really rich and tasty, but it was so substantial I wasn’t able to eat it all. Dad took care of that problem. He said his was good too, but didn’t share, so I can’t report directly! 😉

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Considering how long the artwork had been framed in a non-archival manner, it had held up quite well. The mats were not acid-free, but the artist

frame detail

had painted the piece on a fine artists watercolour board, and it seems to have mostly been able to resist acid burn from the mats. I was told it had been hung in a low light area but the client wanted to move it to a brighter spot so UV glass was a necessary choice. We wanted to go with a final design that would be both elegant and timeless and also would reflect the emotional value of it to it’s owner.

finished framed watercolour

(as well as co-ordinate to some existing pieces in the room it would be moving into) The frame we went with is a four inch wide wood with a distressed veneer in a rich dark red mahogany that pulls out the deep red tones of the bicycle. It also has an inner trim of a sgraffito-like yellow-beige detail. The whole molding has a beeswax finish so it can be polished to a gloss or left to a semi-matte finish. I don’t like the mat and frame to be the same width so, since the frame was so wide, we went with only a 2 ½” wide mat in a slightly off-white that is an exact match to the lighter detail of the bike. The artwork is now fully protected and has a frame that, barring damage, should still look good for at least a generation or two.

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My main motto for framing is “Do it once”. I prefer to try and come up with a design that will work in such a way that it should always make the

watercolour in starting frame

art it holds look good. Now, 10 years from now and 50 years from now. Leave changing it to the grandchildren. (assuming they have no appreciation for the classics) That’s also why I always want to go with archival framing. If it’s going to be in a frame for the next 50+ years, then the frame should be protecting it as well. ( I have to say how pleased I was that they discussed what a good investment it was to have archivally framed a needlework, and specifically mentioned the use of museum glass, last night on Antiques Roadshow.) In most cases, if you care enough to have an item custom framed then you care enough to do it right. That being said, just because something is already in an “acceptiable” frame is no reason not go with an upgrade. This piece, (it’s not a great photo, I know) is one where the client had bought the artwork, (it’s an orgional watercolour) and had it framed over 25 years ago. It’s a very standard style of framing: a double mat with an almost white mat on top and coloured one below and a small gold metal frame. A reasonable way to frame it, but not very exciting. She had lived with it long enough to realize how much she cared for the piece and wanted to update it and also convert to archival options so it will be protected, going forward.

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I just wanted to post the link for the treasury Meri Greenleaf did that included a couple of my masks. She has it archived on her blog so you can check it out!

silver mask with shells, "Oceania"

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The cat

This is Brahms, otherwise know as Missy. She’s the only member of the family that I haven’t put up a photo of, before now. We’re not sure of exactly how old

Brahms, our tortoiseshell cat

she is as she was a shelter adoptee. We’re pretty certain that she’s somewhere between 16 and 18 years old. Considering how long she and Bozo had been together we had some worries about how well she would adjust to his loss, but she’s been fine. Actually, I’d have to say that she’s pretty pleased with the changes. absolutely no signs of pining. While she’s been good about being the solo cat, we’ve been getting a bit worried about her since she’s been starting to show signs of reduced kidney function and losing some weight. We took her into the vet last week and braced ourselves for some bad news. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that while she does had early stage kidney failure, there are now some good treatments for it. She and Dad are still working through how she’ll be receiving her daily pills, but there is already some extra vim in her stomp and the volume of her demands for food and attention are increasing! We’ll see how she responds long-term, but apparently this sort of condition can possibly be controlled for years with no reduction in her quality of life. (aside from the daily pill stuffing) All in all, a great relief. We’ll also be switching her water supply from our own softened tap water to a lower sodium bottled. It might not have been a factor, but it can’t hurt!

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So far this winter the snow fall hasn’t been that bad. It comes down often enough that most days start with a bit of clean-up, but not too much. Winter driving in Ontario can also be a bit of a challenge and there is a stretch of highway between here and New Hamburg (as well as between Shakespeare and Stratford) that is prone to bad drifting snow. A number of the shops in town close from the end of Christmas until May, something we’re not doing, since framing is a year-round thing. We are going to have a one-day close and then I’ll be taking a bit more than a week off at the end of the month. The first one is Saturday January 16th. I’ll be doing a workshop on an introduction to gilding for the Leather Workers Guild in Woodstock. It will start at 10 am, cost is under $10 and it should run around 2 hours. Participants will make a small leather ornament with leafed accents. It is open to the general public, so please contact me if you want more information.

The other period we will be closed is from Thursday January 21st until Tuesday February 2nd. Mother and I are going to the West Coast Art and Framing Expo. (and staying a few extra days in Vegas!) We attended last year and I was really surprised at how much great information we picked up. Dad will be in the store, even if it’s not open and he will be able to answer email and phone inquires during that time.

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The stuff we have in the store has a tendancy to vary a great deal in terms of age. I love the antique things and newer stuff never appeals

P. Giovanopoulos designed Ritzenhoff tea glass

to me as much, with a few exceptions. I started my career as a framer in Toronto and spent most of my time there working in the downtown. It was a great experience since I got to deal with an amazing assortment of items and people were usually willing to pay for both the quality materials and go with strong designs. The store I worked in also carried a few select bits of giftware and one of the lines I always thought was fun is the Ritzenhoff collectible glassware. It’s a German company that makes all sorts of glassware, typically with fun packaging, and they constantly vary. Sets are made by the shapes, because each one is decorated differently. They commission artists to design pieces in the different shapes as well as the packaging. Mother recently came across three of their tea glasses. (the picture only shows one style) The cup is decorated and made of a heat-safe glass, (much like the Pyrex glassware) and each one comes in a pretty tin canister. They may not be all that old, (probably late 90’s, early 00’s) but they are totally collectible, so I’m happy to have them in the store!

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