Thursday, February 25, 2010

THE FRAMED ALBUM , the whole thing, not just the cover!

This is the ultimate baby boomer sentiment: THE VINYL RECORD AND THE ALBUM COVER! So many of us are still holding on to the very special ones that remind us of important times and events of our lives. Those times that will never, ever return. Like the vinyl records themselves....I mean, hey,-let's face it:even CD's will soon be obsolete!

Don't you just miss the excitement that you felt when you got to open that new album! To me it was almost a sacred ritual: there was a very special order how to remove the shrinkwrap and unfold the album notes, lyrics and photos! A close , personal moment with my idol; something tangible to have and to hold.

The customer who brought in this album gave it away as a 50Th birthday gift.
(Do you remember where you were when Dancing in the Dark came out?:))
Just for fun ask yourself : If I had a chance to decorate a music room and hang up the twelve most important albums to me...which ones would I choose? Go ahead, -claim your space!
This frame is designed to display and protect. The beauty is that THE ALBUM IS 100% REMOVABLE! You can take it out, play it, fondle it and then put it back on the wall. In the second picture you can see what the back of the frame looks like: by tilting the little turn buttons you can open the back and take out the cover. No glue or tape is attached to it. Conservation quality Tru Vue glass on the front of the frame will keep Bruce from fading away. A neat way to "eat your cake and keep it too."

Thanks to all for for great comments and encouragement. The interest has been overwhelming!

The blogs that I have in the works include artist Greg Hindle (teacher, painter extraordinaire) and photographers Rosemary Hasner (poet, mystic, storyteller) and Ron Pitts( wilderness man, observer by nature, phenomenalist). All superstars!

I will also be babbling about framing needle art and mapping out my adventures in the world of pigments. If there is an issue that you are interested in, please throw it my way and I'll see what I can shake out of it!

leaving you in a SOUND FRAME OF MIND,

Outi, the Frame Dame

Friday, February 19, 2010

LAURA BERRY, Master watercolourist

Laura Berry is our very favorite person.

She is a self-taught watercolour artist with a stellar career of over twenty five years. Her impressive portfolio offers over a hundred paintings offered as limited edition art and examples of numerous private commissions. Many of her scenes seem familiar to us and this is not at all surprising since she lives right here in Mansfield!

We have known Laura for over twenty years and always been impressed by her work ethics. She is a perfectionist and never counts the hours that it takes to get the painting just right. Her work reflects the values that her own life is based on;
love and respect for family and nature. It is easy to see that she puts her whole heart into it: her work is love in action. Grace, gratitude, honesty. Pure Laura.

The two paintings featured here are Laura's latest originals and they provide a very good example of Laura's detailed style of working. The wonky perspective that you see in these photos is from my camera...the buildings in the actual paintings are good and straight. :)
Laura starts with a light but detailed pencil drawing. This is followed by multiple glazes and washes of transparent watercolour. The final details are achieved by using very fine brushes (000!) and plenty of patience. A large watercolour might take hundreds of hours to complete.

These two are private commissions and therefore, unfortunately, not for sale.
But they might give you an idea: you can commission Laura to paint your house, your cottage or a portrait of your children. It will be tribute to something you love and cherish in your life. There is also an option of having a small limited edition printed at the same time, this way you can keep the original and your family members each get a print as a gift. This is a gift that keeps giving.

On her website you can view over 90 images that are currently available as prints.
You can ask Laura to add a remargue to one of those and that will make it one of a kind. This means that Laura will paint or draw a small original on the existing image;
you can have your dog sleeping on a porch or your children playing in the yard!
To see more of her work please drop by at Laura's gallery in Hockley village or visit
http://www.lauraberry.com/. If you cannot make it to Hockley you can also arrange to meet her here, in my store.
Laura will help you to choose the perfect frame to go with your painting and I can assure you that you are in good hands: she wants nothing but the best. Even the smallest prints are framed with archival matting and conservation quality glass.

The originals get dressed up with suede mats, fillet frames and museum glass.
A class act from the beginning to the end.
Your painting will last for the generation to come.

And how do I know?

I know because all these pieces pass through my hands.

I KNOW. :)

In a rather knowledgeable frame of mind today,

wishing you a great weekend,

as always,

Outi, The Frame Dame

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dyeing Silk with Nathalia


O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

February started with a bang of COLOUR! I joined the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners and took a work shop on dyeing SILK! Organized by the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners this took place at the Gibson Centre in Alliston on the morning of Feb 6Th. What a fun day! I have spend a lot of time in my life playing with pigments but I had never yet mixed them with SHAVING CREAM! Now I have done that too!
This three hour long workshop was a very quick introduction to a liberating technique that yields random results. There is no tinkering with details when the pigment is added to a bag of shaving cream and slapped on a table with a spatula.
As you can see I opted for VERMILION ( my true love) and CRIMSON ( to turn it up a notch).
Later on I tossed in some FUCHSIA (for feverish high lights) and to anchor this medley I decided it needed a concoction... somewhat ...EGGPLANTISH, (OK; aubergine if it makes you happy). As a result I brought home three outstandingly flaming beauties; three silk scarfs so brilliantly luminous they most certainly glow in the dark! Variations of a theme.
Silk seems to be a very grateful recipient of dye, -it's thirsty and displays the colour with shameless self-confidence.
I am sure that this experience will lead me to look for other applications for pigmented shaving cream.
But...WHAT IS IN THESE DYES? I am baffled. They are potent and posses a tremendous staining power.
How can the fabric dye industry get away with this? The description on the label only states a common name of the colour ; orange, red, sky blue....? There no list of chemicals, no ratings for light fasteness or toxicity, no health warnings....? The fine art industry seems to have a lot stricter guidelines.
What to do if you accidentally happen to drink or inhale some orange dye? Just wait and see if your face turns orange? Listen up, dye dudes: I want to know what makes your orange orange!
And I SHALL find out! My investication continues.
If any of you, my readers, have some solid info on this matter, please pass it on!
G & S Dyes in Toronto seems to offer a wide variety of fabric dyes and related supplies.
You can access their catalogue by visiting http://www.gsdye.com/.
OHS, Ontario Handweavers & Spinners has an informative site @ http://www.ohs.on.ca/
and they seem to be organizing plenty of fun happenings. The website for Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners is http://www.nottguild.ca/. Last year I took another fantastic workshop they organized at the Gibson Centre: NUNO FELTING ,- also a highly rewarding experience. That day is a story of it's own and will be featured on a future blog.
If you are a doer and a maker...or want to BECOME one, check it out!
Add some more PLAY to your life!

Thanks to Nathalia, OHS and the girls,
I enjoyed the fun and the company,
sure hope there will be more to come!





as always,

Outi, (The Frame Dame)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To talk about FRAMING...ACWC Feb 9Th.

I was recently asked to be a guest speaker at the Alliston Christian Women's Club meeting. This is a denominational Christian women's club that is affiliated with Stonecroft Ministries. In their monthly meetings they have two quest speakers, one that provides information on a special topic (like picture framing, health issues, investment counselling..) and one that brings a spiritual message. I was the special topic guest for the February meeting.
Public speaking has never come to me naturally and I was so nervous that I barely slept the night before, believe me; laying in bed, wide awake, staring at the alarm clock at quarter to 4... I was sure that the morning was never going to come!
And all my worries were for nothing!

At the Knox Hall on King Street I met a group of very friendly, welcoming women who were WAITING TO HEAR what I had to tell them. There were familiar faces and some good, old customers. After a cup of coffee and a fortifying muffin (thanks to Rosalba) I didn't feel nearly as scared anymore.
I was up on the stage! I was talking to a microphone! Thirty minutes flew by!
Ha, -I don't remember much of it but I feel that it went well. I GIVE ALL THE CREDIT TO MY AUDIENCE that was kind and keen and genuinely interested.
The ladies surrounded me with questions and I got to talk a lot longer. Once I warmed up I could have talked all day! There was some real compassion and fellowship in the room.
The other speaker for the day was Mrs. Fran Ford , a real estate agent from Barrie.
In a very generous, warm manner she shared her whole life with us ( her real life story, no real estate talk) and I could not but admire how comfortably she was handling such a personal subject. And what an interesting life she had had!
Her speech was a good example of what this group is about: women sharing and supporting one other. A refreshing social outlet. A resourceful group of ladies that make things happen.
I think this would be a good group to join if you were new in town and looking to make some friends. These ladies get together once a month on a weekday morning so it is not a huge time commitment either. They even provide day care during the meeting which makes it possible for young mothers to participate.
If you are interested in joining the Alliston Group you can call Carolyn @ 435-1785 or Janie 434-4752. Thank you Angelica for inviting me, I really enjoyed my morning, and thank you ALL for the beautiful vase I received as a gift, -I am humbled.

Thanks also to my good friend Ruth Lowe who came along to hold my hand and took the pictures posted on this blog.

I think I would do it again.
I know a lot about my work and I am glad to share it. So, -if you have a group that might be interested and would benefit from some "FRAME TALK", please give me a call.

Now, I got to get back to my regular FRAME OF MIND,
yours sincerely,
Outi, The Frame Dame

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dogs that Robert knows

Here is a quick introduction to Robert McClintock.
We picked up a collection of these whimsical doggie portraits and enjoy them immensely.
My customers think that they are a HOOT!
Check this out: THEY ARE PHOTOSHOP! Ok, -so what?
What he does, he does it well.
The pieces have a nice, painterly quality and fresh perspective.
Printed on canvas and stretched on a stretcher they are light, easy to hang and inexpensive. No frame, no glass, no reflection.
They work really well as a grouping.
My kitchen is currently in reno...I am going to paint it LIME GREEN and put up a set of these babes. How's that?I am so blessed, -this week I can have these, next week I might have something else.
My Canadian distributer has only brought in a limited selection but you can view the whole line on http://www.robertmcclintock.com/ , go to DOGS I KNOW.
Ha! I just ordered another patch, -let's decorate!
In an excellent FRAME OF MIND,
I wish you a great weekend,
Outi, The Frame Dame

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Natura Morta: La Melagrana Aperta


This is a gem.
A little still life painted in an old school Flemish
technique on an antique linen.
CHIAROSCURO is the Italian term that refers to a painting that features the topic flooded in light in front of a dark background. It really hands out the item and puts it on the palm of your hand.
Last March I had a chance to spent a couple of days in Florence. Finally I could meet THE GIANTS eye to eye and spend fleeting moments in silence in front of THE MASTERS. Michelangelo, Raffaello, Botticelli.
I haven't been the same since. This is a good thing, my friends.

Late one evening, while strolling back to our hotel (after a very satisfying , generous bowl of Ribollita) we came upon a small art studio on Via San Gallo. It was almost 11pm. The light was still on. The door was still open. Daniela Baldini was still at work.
The following day was to be "a big day" at the market, Daniela was busy trying to get some more pieces ready for "the tourists". Stacks and stacks of quick little watercolours of the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. The stuff that paid the rent.
Her English wasn't good, our Italian even worse, but we managed to build a conversation. Daniela was very pleased to introduce us to her true calling: traditional still life painted using gouache, egg tempera and thin glazes of oil paint. Delicate studies of fruit, flowers, nuts and vessels.
That night this little POMEGRANATE became mine.
My very own piece of Florence.
You can visit her @ http://www.pitturantica.it/ to see more.
The frame that I chose to house my treasure is a reproduction of a 16Th-17Th century Italian frame. It features a hand painted sgraffito style leaf and bud design. The word sgraffito comes from the Italian verb sgraffiare = to scratch . This means that in an original Italian frame of the 16Th century the pattern was scribed through the finish surface, generally painted, to reveal the gilding or gesso underneath. We are talking about old world craftsmanship here.
Since I have no means of getting a hold of a five hundred year old Italian frame, this one will do.
It works for me.
What do you think?

More memories from Italy will follow shortly,
I will now leave you in a FINE SGRAFFITO FRAME of mind,
remember to be kind to your art,
Outi, The Frame Dame

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trophy Rosettes


Trophy ribbons and rosettes are worth displaying with pride!

A framed rosette is great gift idea for the athlete in your family, a form of support and an encouragement for future accomplishments.

It can also serve as a customer confidence tool:

if you are in the field of training or breeding dogs, horses or livestock, a framed rosette will show your customers that you are brilliant at what you do.

These are some simple examples of shadow boxed trophy rosettes.

A SHADOW BOX is basically a deep picture frame that is designed to hold and display an item. You can frame jewellery, clothing, seashells, cutlery, coins, stones....you name , we frame it! I have framed baby teeth and christening gowns...the most exotic (or the scariest ) piece that I've mounted into a frame was a piece of a missile for the Armed Forces. We all have our stories to tell.
If you are hanging on to a special item that is memory of a happy event in you live, why not have it put in a frame so that you can enjoy it every day?
PROFESSIONAL PICTURE FRAMING MATERIALS are designed to protect art and objects from environmental hazards, dirt and light that could fade and discolour.
Conservation quality picture glass is only available through a professional picture framer and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using nothing but that . The intention is to protect the piece from light. ANY LIGHT. And your items WILL be exposed to light when they are hanging on the wall, even if the room has no windows at all.
It is important that the right kind of adhesives are used, -using the wrong kind of clue or stapling can do a lot of irreversible damage, so it is the best to trust your treasures to a professional.
I am more than happy to give free advice should you want to frame your pieces yourself, and I am always ready to cut mats and glass for creative people who take pride in their own creations. Framing a bunch of keepsakes from a family holiday could make a nice weekend family project, a gift that just keeps giving!
Now, let's see what we have stored in that shoebox behind the photo albums...maybe it will make a nice, one of a kind art item for the family room?
Wishing you creative day dreams,
your picture framer,
Outi, The Frame Dame