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Posts Tagged ‘picture framing’

Once the frame was all rebuilt, repaired and refinished, silmirrphoto 2 all that was left was deciding on the mirror. While we considered going with an antiqued glass, it was decided that the ornateness of the frame didn’t need any more going on so we went with a plain, flat mirror. The large amount of variance in the widths of the inner frame lip, as well as trying to avoid any possibility of future strain on the frame, were why we didn’t go with a bevelled mirror. The lip widths were as wide as over an inch in some areas but the typical ¼ inch in others so even a deep bevel would be mostly covered in spots. All together, with it’s new finish, the mirror is now hanging in it’s new home. The darker tones tie to the slate front of the Victorian marble fireplace it sits over and the silver leaf co-ordinates with the rooms chandelier. I also love how the Persian carpet in the room features similarly shaped birds. A fitting space and a new life for an beautiful old frame! The photo of it in it’s new home is the work of Dave Kimmel. You can see more of his work on his website.
The rest of my posts about this project: part 1, part 2, part 3

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After the physical reconstruction was done, img_5499 it was prepared for the gilding. It had been gilded, when first made, but had been hit with some gold paint, at least once, so there wasn’t enough left to salvage. (and the client wanted a different finish) There had also been quite a bit of damage to the compo base that covered the wood of the frame and so that needed to be evened out. Once the surface was smoothed and stabilized, it was sealed with a base coat in a dark brown/grey. Then the frame was gilded with silver metal. That is a multi-step process in that, after the base is prepared and sealed size is put on, as a glue, then the metal leaf is applied. Next it is cleaned and polished down. (and any missed spots are filled in) After that, there is an application of a an antiquing wash and then the whole thing is sealed. The antiquing wash is necessary since it brings out the details and gives depth to the flat, bright silver of the plain leaf. (you can see how bright the plain leaf is in the photo) Since we wanted it to be closer to the pewter tones, the antiquing wash was altered to more of a blue/black than the usual brown.

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We get a wide range of art coming in. Some are easy enough to judge,
painting in terms of what they are and relative value while others are more of a challenge. This watercolour has turned out to be one of the most frustrating. Mother found it, terribly badly framed, with no information on it at all. I took it out of it’s acidic mats and ugly frame, hoping to find out more. Taking the mat off revealed a signature, and also showed that it had been glued down to it’s backing board. (*shudders* terrible thing, done in the style of about 100 years ago) I had hoped that knowing the signature would help me find out about the artist, since I find it hard to believe that someone who was working at this level isn’t “known”. Even with the signature, I have yet to be able to find out anything about the artist. Part of it might be the spelling. “O. Schertling” seems the sig most likely but while I’ve tried it and a range of related options, none have come back. Part of it is that it’s hard to tell what exactly the middle, longer letters are. Nothing comes up with the obvious options and I’ve even gone and looked up older styles of both German and Dutch writing to see if that would help, (both were guesses based on the style of the art and the signature) and that has also been a dead-end. It’s become a bit frustrating and I’m pretty much at the point of giving up on finding anything out about them. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter much since it is likely one of the pieces we’re going to keep for ourselves, but if anyone has any knowledge about the artist or suggestions on where to look, I’d welcome the help.

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It’s not all that surprising, once I got to look at the antique frame closely, baserestore that it had come apart. Whoever had done the final construction must have gotten distracted since the lower corners were only glued, and not nailed, together. The whole state of the construction is more than a little bit confusing. I have to wonder if it was started by a skilled worker and finished by someone who wasn’t as experienced. It’s just hard to understand why some things were done in the ways they were. It also was clear that it had gone through at least one, if not a couple of rounds of very poorly done “repairs”. I expect that it was fitted with a mirror, (and from that time period, it would have been a heavy one) and when the glue dried out a bit, the weight of the mirror caused it to just pull apart. After that, the broken mirror was likely thrown out and the parts stuffed into an attic to be dealt with at a later date, which never came until it was sold. At least they kept all the pieces together. One of my priorities for the rebuild was make sure that it would be stable, going forward. First thing was to get the base joints stabilized. Not only were they re-glued with the heavy duty framing glue, but I also nailed all the joints together as well. Since there was a high level of filling and re-construction already being done, I was able to nail solidly and then fill and blend the holes. It was also a bit odd that one of the birds had been carefully screwed on, but the other was just glued and it had, unsurprisingly, come off. Getting it back on was simple, but getting the wobbly wings fixed again was a bit more of a challenge. It looked like they had come off at least a couple of times and been nailed back on without much care or consideration. The same thing had been done to the front acanthus leaf of the top pagoda. (which has still not been re-attached in the photo) In both cases, Weldbond that had been dried to a putty consistency provided both a strong and stable fill along with adhering the parts together. (it’s not archival, but then most of this rebuild was not)

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There is such an interesting range of artworks that Mother finds in her hunts.

framed papercut cat

framed papercut cat

Paper-cuts are one of those mediums that are rare to see, at least here, at the fine art level. This charming cat had been framed, when she found it. (unsurprising, since it required the protection) While it was good that it had been kept safe, it’s framing wasn’t exactly what could be described as exciting, or really suited to it. It was also mounted on a piece of pink mat-board! Luckily, it was very lightly attached with archival ATG, so was removable. It was transferred to a larger piece of off-white mat and then I put it in one of the beautiful Fotiou frames, from their yearly clearance sale. I thought it had a great exotic look that was rich, but not too formal. Now the only question is if Mother will let me sell it, or if she’ll just keep it for herself!

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There are some books that speak to the heart, they stick with you.

framed Velveteen Rabbit

framed Velveteen Rabbit

Some of the best ones for that are children’s books. One of the classics is the Velveteen Rabbit. There are many different versions of it but one of the best illustrations of it, in my opinion, is by Donna Green, done in the early 90’s. The paintings, that go with the story, are beautiful and so well done that when I found a copy a while ago that had a damaged cover, I decided to frame some of the pages. I selected a number that I thought were both beautiful and could stand alone as art. Two were of a facing pair of pages and they were carefully spliced together, to recreate the single image they would have started as. Only one, in the group, has writing, but it is the scene where the fairy comes to make Rabbit real and not only is the image one of the prettiest, but the words are a distillation of the whole book. There is quite a range of colours in the images and I wanted to keep options open for the group, so mixed the frames as well. All of them are from a discontinued line of rustic burlwood veneers in a flat, square modern shape. It came in two widths and I loved that line of moldings. I think that there is enough of a cohesive look to the finished set that they could all be hung together but any can be hung on their own, as single works of art.

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One of the great things about the digital age and on-line commerce

sea turtle in frame

sea turtle in frame

is that it is possible to get direct access to an amazing range of independent artists. Jewel Rene is one that I first met through the Regretsy group. She does an adorable series about a one-eared blue elephant called Hellephant, (and she recently published a children’s book about him, “Hellephant Has A Day”) as well as a group of Grumpy cat portraits as famous authors. (I have Edgar Allen No on a t-shirt) Most of the art that I end up framing for the store is antique or vintage but now and then I like to mix in some new ones and couldn’t resist her sea turtle. The frame he’s in is a Fotiou molding that looks like tortoise-shell, so it was a perfect match! The image may be fairly small, since it’s a 5×7, but he has enough presence to still work well, even with such a dramatic frame. (there is also a good article about her here)

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