When working with a professional picture framer, there are many considerations being processed in the framers mind at any given moment during the design process, many of which you will never become aware of as a customer.
In the last post we talked about the necessary internal “allowances” needed for quality construction. In this post we ramble back over to talk about a concept of frame design that we in this studio adhere to, although many framers do not. There is no right or wrong here – it is just a matter of personal taste.
Our framing philosophy is as follows: if the frame, no matter how beautiful the moulding is, how fine the mats are and how intricate the design is, distracts or draws the viewer’s eye away from the artwork, it is defeating its purpose. The frame’s primary purpose is to protect the artwork. It can also be a thing of beauty and a work of art in its own right. It can add a sense of balance and continuity to a work of art, but it must not overshadow or distract from the art in any way.
This would seem to be a simple assignment, however, artwork consists of many visual aspects such as size, color, composition, time period and even artist recognition (e.g. a Rembrandt would be more deserving a genuine gold leafed frame as opposed to a raw ramin wood frame). These must all be taken into consideration during the design process.
This now opens the door to interior design related discussions of the room décor, paint schemes and the like. Our philosophy here is that we “frame the piece to itself”, providing it suits the tastes of the designer or the customer. It is wise to consider that the piece may eventually hang in a different room, with different colors and different themes than originally intended. Because good frame design is timeless, the piece should be able to hang almost anywhere, and “wear well” visually over long periods of time.
Another aspect to consider is the strength of the image itself. A pencil drawing, one color etching or saturated watercolor cannot compete with a bold, bright, or overbearing frame. But we have framed images that have been so strong - sometimes as much in emotion and meaning as in color, that we could (and have) put almost any frame on them that one could imagine. And it worked.
More on design and construction in our next post…