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Certifiable!

When one is talented and lucky enough to be deemed worthy of a certificate or award for superior accomplishment, a notable talent, good-deed-doing or receives a wonderful writeup in a magazine or newspaper,  many people run over to the store, get a little black and gold ready-made frame and that's that. Or, heaven forbid, they take the certificate to a trophy shop and have it perma-plaqued onto a board!    

This is similar to pouring molten plastic over a tree stump to make a coffee table and your certificate can never be removed or reframed.

The problem with purchasing a standard sized ready-made frame is that then a piece of cardboard full of acid acts as backing and the certificate is touching the glass on the front;  both situations being huge conservation no no's.  If you would like your accomplishments to outlive you, frame with preservation in mind.  

A simple off-black frame with classical detailing and antique gold lip with a linen wrapped mat...

Aesthetically speaking, how certificates are framed has to do with the look of the document, whether a conservative presentation is needed (for display in a law office for instance), your taste and style, and what you want to say about yourself.  If you're planning or hoping to be really, really accomplished and rewarded, best to think now about framing all the coming documents to look well displayed together. Then as you grow, your wall can cohesively grow as well...

A traditional frame with the contrast of rough espresso colored wood and gold figured opening trim.  The linen mat has gold-edged windows for both the certificate and pin...

A young woman's hand painted and calligraphed graduation document, framed in a silver frame and damask mat...

We like to window the publication and date as well as the article...

Ribbon trim in the prize horse's official colors was used here...

This medal is displayed in a shallow, silk-lined shadowbox

One of the most challenging and exciting commemorative projects we've done was the framing of a client's Nobel Prize.  We designed and hand constructed a three-dimentional box to accommodate the leather bound certificate as well as the medals.  No adhesives of any kind were used to secure these elements and the box was upholstered in silk with gold fillet trim at the openings.  Our craftsmen hand carved and gilded the frame with scraffito detailing at the corners and UV protective acrylic completes the archival package.

Perfection...

The moral to this story is that certificates, diplomas, awards and articles need to be properly protected but do not need to be boring!  Why shouldn't a wall of kudos be as dynamic as a wall of wonderful art? 


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Well Hung

Photograph by James Baigrie for Elle Decor

There seems to be a bit of buzz lately regarding Gallery Walls so we thought we'd toss in our two cents worth ...

First, there aren't really any rules.  A gallery wall can be anything from a free-for-all of everything one owns hung with wild abandon, to a carefully curated and framed selection of like objects.  Its presentation may be free-form, in a grid, or linear.  Sometimes a client has so many things they want displayed that it's the natural solution to carefully group them together to avoid chaos.  But often the gallery wall is done purely for design effect and drama. 

The selection of framing is always important but the gallery wall will never work if it is not well hung.....

Thomas Jayne

Thomas Jayne

The walls above & below seem to incorporate a collection which has been carefully framed to the piece and professionally hung.  Though it's certainly possible to use the 'cut out brown paper/tape on wall' or "I'll just eyeball it and who cares how many holes I pound in the wall"  methods, usually it's more time and cost effective in the end to have a pro's expertise in hanging and permanently securing each piece.  Nothing worse than 20 pieces which are each just a little bit crooked.....

There can be an overall theme...

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Or not...

Steven Gambrel

gallerywall5.jpg

The gallery wall concept can also solve a lot of problems vis-a-vis what do do in a stairwell...

Anne Brahler

Kapito Muller for Bergdorf Goodman's Men's Department

Thank you Jayne!

Too much?  Too eclectic?  Gallery walls can also be more architectural, more geometric, simpler, and more, perhaps, soothing to the eye...

Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Paolo Moschino

Steven Gambrel

Chris Barrett Design

Chris Barrett Design

Nanette Lepore at Elle Decor

Collection of vintage paint-by-number dog portraits at Memento

We often suggest that a gallery wall have some sort of unifying force, be it the subject matter or a similarity of framing but, above all, it must be well hung to avoid that dorm room look of a bunch of stuff on a wall...


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Conservation or Conservation Lite?

At Memento, we've always done custom picture framing to conservation standards.  Sometimes we even go all the way - to fully archival treatment - when the artwork/object warrants it or a client desires it.  Ten or fifteen years ago, conservation framing became the hot trend in our industry and now everyone supposedly does it.

True conservation standards require 100% cotton rag (museum) matboard, similarly acid-free backing materials and no glues, acidic or corrosive materials used in any aspect of the framing.  Artwork is supported on the backing via linen hinges or archival corners, thus nothing is ever glued down. 

 

As far as glazing is concerned, here in Earthquakeland we prefer acrylic to glass to prevent breakage and damage to the art, photograph, etc. within.  We may also suggest UV plexiglass for its light protective properties or even UV/anti-reflective museum acrylic.  However, acrylic acts as a magnet for graphite, chalk or pastel works on paper, so we use glass in those instances or the art may transfer from the paper to the inside of the acrylic.  We once had a client bring in her grandmother's pastel portrait which had been framed with acrylic, shipped cross-country to her and during its trip the portrait was completely "sucked" off the paper it was on.Luckily, we were able to recommend our paper conservators to her and several months and much money later, grandma was back where she belonged!

 

We also use spacers or create a shadowbox.to create breathing room between the art and its glazing.

 

This is all pretty dry and boring information that designers and clients shouldn't have to bother with.  You should be able to confidently entrust your artwork, photographs & mementos to a framer you can rely on to protect them and your investment in them.  So, as a test, walk through your home & look at the beveled edges on all of your mats...if that slanted edge looks beige/yellow/brown instead of white-ish, you have acid in old mats which is doing all kinds of nasty things to whatever's within...Have the mats changed ASAP!

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Frame To The Piece or To The Room?

Many clients over the years, designers or not, have puzzled over this question.  While the style of the room the artwork is to reside in absolutely cannot be ignored, the bottom line must always be the enhancement of the piece in every way possible, trusting that it will work in its environment.  And it almost always does!  Perhaps that's because usually the same mind and sense of taste that dictated or inspired the room's design and colors also chose the artwork.

We've all walked into a room and seen an elegant black and white photograph in a barnwood frame, a delicate pen and ink sketch overshadowed by a big goopy gold frame, or a 18th century oil in a mid century frame.

And what happens when you move, or redecorate, or want to hang the piece in a different room?  If framing is done solely with an eye to a style or color scheme, some lucky framer will reap the rewards of reframing it again and again and again...

We would really rather find the perfect moulding, matting, colors and proportions to maximally enhance the artwork and frame it just once.  When in doubt, Art Rules!

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Beauty

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Beauty

If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it...
But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

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