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The Art of Framing Art

by - Thursday, November 26, 2009

When we were emptying Mama HandyLuster's home to prepare for her move, we uncovered a set of wonderful old photographs. The photos were taken by Wallace Macaskill, a great Canadian Maritime photographer renowned for his photos of the Bluenose schooner (one of which was used for the Canadian 10-cent piece, where it appears to this day). Mama HandyLuster had been given three of these prints as a gift, and had found two others at a garage sale. When I saw them, I knew I wanted to display them in our home. I loved their worn vintage quality and since HandyMan loves to sail, they would feel very personal.

Mama never had the photos framed and given their size and the fact there were five of them, I knew it would be a bit pricey to do so. Luckily, Michaels offers 60% off custom framing every few months so I waited for the sale. Now here's where a lack of forethought ended up costing me a few $$. I have never had anything custom framed before (Ikea has served me well to this point!) and thought it couldn't be too difficult - just pick a frame and a mat, right? Wrong. Do you know how many different frames and mats Michaels offers?? There are 15 variations of white alone! But I had a squirming baby on my hip and had driven 1/2 hour to get to the nearest store so there was no way I was leaving without placing my order. Really.Bad.Idea.

The framing people were helpful but let's just say they weren't really versed in more contemporary styles and like everything matchy-matchy. So while in my head I was thinking of something more like this:

I ended up ordering something more like this:

Huh. Yeah, what just happened there? I don't know. After I got home, I thought more about it and realized I needed to order a more neutral mat. And on closer look, I also realized the mat width the Michaels' framer specified wasn't as large as a thought it was (only 1.5") and would look really skimpy. So, the next day I packed up the kiddo again, made the trek to Markham, and picked out what I should have picked out the first time: French White mat, 3.5" border.

Some of the photos were vertically oriented while some were horizontal; some were sepia toned while others were more black and white. Because I wanted to display them all together, to make them more cohesive I had them matted so that their exterior dimensions were all the same.

The plan is to display them in the dining room but we haven't yet decided on the layout. So for now, I have them propped up in various spots around the house.

After the framing fiasco, I'm not quite ready to commit and drive some nails into our pretty wallpaper! Baby steps here folks, baby steps.

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