Monthly Archives: February 2011

Can I keep the can opener?

More and more lately, you hear about people trying to downsize and simplify their lives, to live with less stuff. Kind of like Sean and Lauren. On their blog, they talk about minimalism and how for them this lifestyle choice was about focusing their efforts and completing more projects. The same could be said for Colin Wright who only owns about 50 items – he has a visual catalog of them on his blog and talks about the day that he got rid of everything else he owned – his apartment, car, computers, and most of his clothes. And while this concept may sound extreme, you ain’t seen nuthin’ ’til you’ve seen the tiny, Tumbleweed houses.
These homes can be as small as 90 square feet. They not only make it necessary to simplify one’s lifestyle, but are also more gentle on the environment. Like a lot of people, we think about our impact on the environment and what affect our day-to-day lives have on it. We’d also love to live stress-free lives that are productive. But the lifestyles we’ve mentioned pose certain questions for those who love art and want to include it in their lives. What value is there in possessing something versus observing it? Does an item gain or lose value if it goes from being that sole item versus being part of a group? What is a person capable of if they own less stuff? And, pertaining to our recent posts, where would art fit into this new paradigm? We’ll continue to explore this and while we may not come up with any concrete answers, we may find a better definition of “art.”

If you had to get rid of the bulk of your possessions, what would be the top 5 that you would keep?


Photography for the halibut

We all put images in frames and hang them in our homes because it’s fulfilling to observe and appreciate any kind of art. But making your life itself into art must be fulfillment on a whole other level. The contemporary art blog My Love for You just featured Corey Arnold, a commercial fisherman who found a way to marry his career with his photography. We didn’t expect the life of an Alaskan crab fisherman to yield such beautiful photos, but Arnold found a way to make his work fascinating and kind of magical – two ingredients for memorable art.

This one may be our favorite. Anyone who’s read the Tintin books will recognize that this li’l guy looks like a real-life Snowy.

The Case of the Sleepy Falcon’s Big Goodbye

When I got back to the office, a woman was waiting for me in the lobby. She crossed the marble floor in 3 steps with legs that would’ve made any nylon stockings manufacturer sell out his own mother. “These are for you,” she said, her arm reaching out of the darkness with a manilla envelope. “Don’t worry, they won’t bite.” She smiled at me and I smiled back. My hand deftly unopened the clasp at the top and removed several photographs. As my eyes scanned the images, I could see right away that these were like nothing I’d seen before. The craftsmanship was delicate and intriguing. And the style of photography was perfectly suited to the subject matter. I turned over one of the photos. The name Thomas Allen had been written in blue ballpoint pen along the bottom. I was going to have to get to know this Mr. Allen a lot better.

Is brushing your teeth an art?

Often times when we’re working on a custom frame design with a customer, we’ll hear them say, “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It’s not like this is a piece of art.” And while we know what they mean, the truth is that the definition of “art” became very blurry a long time ago. Even an art school graduate or the professors who schooled that student would have very differing ideas of what art is.

Recently on Seth’s Blog, he had one of the better definitions that we’ve come across in a while. Basically he says that art is not defined by the item in question, but by the lengths that the maker had to go to. That it’s determined by what that person put on the line in order to create the item. “Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist,” he says. That’s fairly accurate. But still a little lofty. In “Understanding Comics,” Scott McCloud talks about how art is anything we do that isn’t for the sake of our basic human needs: food, clothing, shelter. But I think a lot of chefs, fashion designers, and architects would disagree. And when you consider that, it really opens up the playing field, doesn’t it? As soon as we agree art can be something that doesn’t hang on the wall, it means we have to take the time to evaluate every action we perform in a different way. Did you make an art out of brushing your teeth this morning? Or was it more like a doodle one does while on hold with the cable company. Maybe that doodle was a piece of art, too.

In our Valentine’s Day post, we wrote about the fact that when we frame something, the framing design becomes it’s own art. We’ll continue to explore this idea and how it relates to any definition of “art”. In the meantime, think about what “art” means to you. Do you make or do “art” in your day-to-day life? Are you sure?

Hip deep in sports jerseys

One of our customers who came in for the 40% off sports stuff sale did so in a big way. A big, big way. So now we have 7 sports jerseys in process. They’re all signed and authenticated. The two at the top are already mounted but there’s a fair amount of sewing and tacking left to go. Yeah, sewing – it’s the safest and most secure way to attach the shirts and it’s how they’ll look the best.
In these cases, we can’t help but wonder if an addition to the house is in order just to make sure there’s going to be enough wall space!

Do you have any sports memorabilia you’ve been thinking of framing? Our sale ends after Monday, February 28th.

2 in the Hand is worth some Rock & Candy

We’re excited to announce two shows by a couple of our regular customers. Milford customer Jim Hand has specialized in the recreation of masterpiece paintings, like those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, for over 40 years. He’s currently showing at the Barnes & Noble in Bellingham and will give a presentation tomorrow, Saturday the 19th at 2pm. Needham customer Deborah Friedman will exhibit in a two-person show at the Wellesley Free Library March 1st-31st with an opening reception on Saturday March 5th from 2:00-4:00. Her work consists of realistic and natural subjects elegantly rendered in colored pencil.

Of course it’s real papyrus (wink, wink)

Summer vacation is fast approaching. And since a lot of the items that customers bring to us to frame were purchased on a vacation, we thought you might want to consider a couple of souvenirs before you find yourself abroad.

A large percentage of the vacation art we see is hieroglyphics and other Egyptian images on “papyrus” (quotes because the paper is often made from banana, not true papyrus). Perhaps none of us are going to Egypt any time soon, but we thought these comments on Virtual Tourist were an interesting insight about what you can expect on a similar vacation overseas. Not all “papyrus” art is created equal, and neither is every sales tactic.

Venetian-style carnival masks are also a popular memento. They may seem a little awkward to stow in your carry-on, but however you get it home, it can make a striking piece of art. Recently we framed four of them in a shadow box! This article on eHow has some tips if you’re going to be shopping for one of these masks.

What far away lands will you be visiting this summer?

The Grammy for Best Frame goes to…

We were so tired from all the framing we did last week, that we couldn’t stay awake to watch the Grammy Awards Sunday night. But it reminded us of this custom job from a couple years back. The customer had attended the awards and wanted to include his passes, tickets, and the program. So we used a black, silk mat with multiple openings to house all of the different pieces. The silver, metal frame gave it a slick, modern look to go with the designs on the items.
If there’s a special event you’ve been to – a concert, play, sports game, or maybe a vacation – we’re guessing you’ve got mementos and souvenirs that we could help you use in a custom frame design.

We heart framing

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Since we’re at work and since this is a blog that’s about framing (albeit loosely at times), today’s topic is why we love framing. Customers often ask us how we like our job. Or they say, “This must be a really interesting job, getting to see so many different kinds of art.” And that’s certainly true. We see just about everything under the sun that could be captured in a still image in every format there is. And because art is universal, we get to interact with a huge variety of people. It’s hard to be good at framing if you don’t enjoy interacting with others. In that regard, we fall somewhere between your hair dresser and the local bartender – we hear all the stories that are behind the photos, paintings, doodles, prints, etchings, needlepoints, pastels, and scribbles. When we create a design for that art and frame it, it’s meant to last forever. Each frame is not unlike a piece of art itself. And we wouldn’t be doing this for over ten years if we hadn’t fallen in love with it.

Framing, we’ve never met anyone like you. You’ve stayed with us through thick & thin. You’ve aged beautifully – in fact, you look better every day. You’re generous and you never ask for anything.

So yeah, we’re not afraid to say it: we really love our job.

Strandbeest vs Strandbeest

When we found Theo Jansens’s Strandbeests on the 2Modern blog, we thought they were incredibly beautiful and unlike anything we’d seen before.
That was until we saw the second video.