Monday, April 24, 2017

In a Framing Frenzy!

I haven’t written in about a year – and that’s because things have been busy! I am now officially a full-time art educator at Archmere Academy, and life couldn’t get any better!

In addition to working full-time, I have also been preparing for my first solo exhibition in the area, featuring a combination of my dictionary drawings (see below!), portraits, and landscapes. I am so grateful to my amazing co-worker, Terry Newitt, who suggested that I contact Darlington Arts Center. The center is wonderful, and currently has a beautiful high school art exhibit on display. Definitely worth a look!

It has certainly been a learning experience for me as I prepare for the opening on June 15. I realize it’s still quite a ways off, but I decided to do the bulk of the framing myself, which has been an uphill battle. I have almost finished framing 16 of my dictionary drawings! They were a particular challenge for several reasons. I didn’t want to use a standard matting option because I love the edges of the pages – I want everyone to be able to see them, as they add so much visual interest to the pieces. This means I needed to float them, but I didn’t want to damage the pages because of their fragility. With the help of Jerry’s Artarama and Wendy at The Talleyville FrameShoppe and Gallery, I finally came up with a solution.

I ended up using a self-adhesive hinging tissue on the back four corners, mounted to black mat board, and a cream frame around the drawing. I was concerned about my dubious ability to center the artwork correctly, so I added strips of foam core in between the two mats, and then added the artwork after the mat was assembled. Because the frames now have a shadowbox effect, the distance between the edges is constantly shifting anyway, so small discrepancies are less noticeable. That said, I'm sure I centered them all perfectly! It was arduous cutting the 32 mats, but I think the end result is worth it. Even worse than cutting the mat was the deceptively simple task of cleaning the glass. Every time I thought I was finished with a frame, I’d notice a new speck of dust, a smudge or a stray cat hair trying to sneak its way behind the glass. It seems I spent the bulk of my spring break windexing my way through the process!

Over the past few years, I have participated in several group exhibitions, and it definitely helped me come to understand the importance of framing. I won’t lie – I tend to skimp on the framing process and go for as cheap as possible. But it definitely costs the artwork in terms of overall power and presence. I’d previously been using a clip frame for my dictionary drawings, and while functional, they certainly didn’t add anything to the pieces. My new strategy is a decided improvement! The black provides a nice contrast and also ties in with the pen and ink work.

Now that they are just about complete, I can’t wait to see them all up and on display! Next up in the process, reframing my miniature landscapes…go go go!