Monthly Archives: September 2012

How to stomp childhood cancer

We have an update for you about one of our extended family, Kezia Fitzgerald, whose daughter Saoirse was killed by a rare form of cancer last year after a courageous 9 month battle. Kezia & her husband, Mike, took up the fight against Neuroblastoma and created the Fitzgerald Cancer Fund. September has been Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, but even prior to that they’ve been very active. “We are really focusing on finding better ways to treat Neuroblastoma – focusing on non toxic and targeted options, rather than systemic chemo and radiation,” Kezia says. “We hope to spread awareness, as well as raise much-needed funds for less toxic treatments and trials. All of the current drugs used in ‘standard’ treatment are drugs developed over 30 years ago for adult cancers. We will change this. The next program we will be working on is grants for parents, but it is still in process.”

An early version of Kezia’s CareAline design for Saoirse.

In the meantime, Kezia and Mike have come up with a product that will hopefully make hospital patients a little more comfortable during their struggles. Their experience with Saoirse inspired Kezia to invent CareAline – a band of stretchable cloth sewn as either a sleeve (for the arm) or wrap (for the chest), with a hole and a pocket for a PICC or central line. Initially, Saoirse would tug at her own PICC line and it would irritate her skin where it was attached with tape. “I took out my sewing machine and some cotton fabric,” Kezia recalls, “and made this little sleeve with a pocket that I thought could hold the line in place without having to tape it to her skin.” The family has gone through several different designs, has filed for a patent and is building a business to market them.

Right now, Kezia and Mike are preparing for their next big fundraiser, an Arts and Artifacts Auction that’s coming up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They need 2D and sculptural art, as well as collectibles (sports memorabilia, small antique items, classic/antique toys). The auction will be held online. You can find out more at their website.

There are also items for sale that benefit the fund. Plunkett Designs sells Fitzgerald Cancer Fund wish bracelets on Etsy.
In the fund’s website shop, there are Euro Charm Bracelets – a bangle style bracelet with 6 charms. Each charm represents something about Saoirse and Neuroblastoma. Either of these items would be great gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season, as well as a way to support a worthy cause

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Saturday Evening Post custom framing cover from 1955

The cover illustration on this Saturday Evening Post from April 30, 1955 caught our eye when it showed up on the Larson-Juhl Facebook page. We couldn’t tell what the original source of the image was, so after a little sleuthing (thanks inter-webs!) we found a copy of the issue on eBay. Of course, none of the content has anything to do with framing, instead full of articles like “My Husband Crashed in the Jungle,” and “Why Britain Thinks We Don’t Know What We’re Doing”. Needless to say, we were pretty tickled by the sight of such a disgruntled old-timey clerk – the complete opposite of what we practice when it comes to customer service. That lady should’ve come to us!
The oddest thing of all was the little write-up inside that told a story behind the image. Here’s the exact text without any changes to wording or punctuation –

“So the amateur paintress has come up with this floral tempest erupting from a teapot. With Mr. Dohanos’ help. The painting is really not bad and it is not really good, and a creative hobby does wonders for the soul, which graceful comment lets us out of further art criticism, thank heaven. Turning to economics, it says on the framer’s sign that time is money, and it says here that a good picture frame is money, too, which observation illustrates the law of supply and demand, and gets us out of that, too. Turning finally to physics, even if the lady eventually decides not to frame her painting after all, it won’t matter much to posterity, for that pitcher is going to slide off the table and bust. Illustrating Newton’s
law of gravity.”

The thrilling conclusion of framing antique purses

We were so excited to see these finished that we couldn’t wait to post photos of the last two antique purses we’ve been working on. Each design uses two suede mats in the front and one behind the purses. The customer loves bright, rich colors so that’s why we often use the fabric mats for her – it’s a smart design choice, too, ’cause any mat with a paper surface would probably pale in comparison to the colors in the beaded purses. The green mat also features a V-groove in it – that white outline near the edge of the opening. The frames are hand-finished, Italian frames by Roma. Major kudos to Jamie for coming up with the designs in the first place, not to mention the excellent mounting job she did – you can’t even see the thread that’s securing the purses.

Unusual custom framing 101: an antique purse

What’s the most interesting collectible you’ve ever heard of? You may not have answered “antique purses”, but you have to admit that it’s a pretty unique idea. We’ve been hip deep in ’em thanks to a regular customer who’s framed almost too many to count. This current assortment is particularly beautiful, so we thought we’d give you a behind-the-scenes while showing them off. They’re always challenging to design for two reasons: one, we’ve gotta come up with a frame that’s deserving enough, and two, the design has to accommodate the shape and depth of each purse.
This turquoise one needed an even deeper frame than normal because of the ornate clasp at the top. So we stacked two frames together. Inside the inner-most frame, we built walls out of black foam-core to hold the mats at the front, creating a shallow shadow box. But this wasn’t deep enough, so…
…we bought ourselves a little bit more room by attaching spacers to the glass that went inside the outer frame.

When the frames were stacked together, there were several elements – the spacers, the thickness of the inner frame, the mats, and lastly the foam-core walls – between the glass and the purse itself.

The purse was carefully sewn onto a mat. This has to be done with three things in mind: it can’t damage the purse, it should be practically invisible so as not to be distracting, and it has to be secure so that it doesn’t come loose over time.

Below, you can see the final result. There’s also a fillet on the inside of the inner frame. We always use museum glass on these purses. While you may notice a glare in the photo, standard conservation glass would be much more reflective. We took several photos, but simply could not capture just how impressive this is in person. All of the different elements came together in such a way that it looks as though the purse and framing were all made by the same artisan at the same time. And that’s the goal of custom framing.

Here’s one more example that’s nearly finished. We used one of the hand-finished, Italian Roma frames, a suede mat on the top followed by a fillet, and a silk mat. We hope to have more photos for you soon of the other finished purses.
Do you have a special collection that you would like to see framed?

Patrick Vale draws New York while you watch

In view of this week’s 11th anniversary of 9/11, we thought we’d do a New York-centric post. It’s a time-lapse video of London-based illustrator Patrick Vale drawing the view of downtown NY from atop the Empire State Building. The 80 second video took him several days to complete. After the video, there’s a couple of Vale’s other New York drawings.



“Street” art promotes more walking, less driving

This is one of the better examples we’ve found that art can be a powerful way to deliver a message. DDB China Group – they provide “creative solutions” for different companies – and the China Environmental Protection Foundation created an interactive, outdoor art project in order to promote the environmental benefits of walking over driving. Throughout 15 cities in China, giant white canvases with the image of a bare tree were used to cover 132 crosswalks. In order to cross the intersections, pedestrians had to first walk thru a pad of environmentally friendly green paint. The resulting footprints created the look of leaves covering the tree. Now, when we say that it sent a powerful message about environmental responsibility, consider this: nearly 4 million people were estimated to have participated in painting the leaves. In addition to those people, the final posters were hung in urban locations where they were no doubt seen by however many more
millions of people. Wow.

Framing Spider-Man’s 50th birthday

Everyone’s favorite web-head celebrates his 50th anniversary this year. Creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced the world to Spider-Man in 1962 with his origin in Amazing Fantasy #15, a comic book that gave us teen science nerd Peter Parker who gained his fantastic powers via the bite of a radioactive spider. Marvel Comics celebrated the occasion with the release this month of an oversized issue, Amazing Spider-Man #692. There were 5 different covers of the issue, each one depicting landmark events in the superhero’s history. When a customer brought us all 5 to work our framer’s magic on, we tried not to geek out too much. It took all our super powers to construct a mat that would safely display, as well as securely hold, them all in one frame.

A proper frame design should be completely reversible, without any damage to the art or item being framed. So we began by laying the 5 comics on an acid-free board. Next, we built layers of conservation, black mat board around them. Then we chose a white mat that would lay over them and be seen on top. When we cut the openings in the white mat, each window is a tiny bit smaller than the covers so that they can’t fall forward. This way there was no adhesive involved – the comic books would be trapped by the board behind them, the black mat around them, and the white mat that was in front of them. This required some particularly precise measuring and cutting so that we didn’t cover too much detail around the edges of the covers.
We added a final black mat around the white one because we thought it was a smoother transition visually into the frame. The customer had requested a black frame to maintain the stark, graphic style of the art. It made for quite an impressive result! Soak it up, comic book fans – this is the glory of how good a framed comic book can look.

Art out of a vending machine, it’s Art-o-mat!

Art-o-mat is the brainchild of Clark Whittington. In 1997, at an art show in Winston-Salem, NC, Whittington used a recently banned cigarette machine to sell his black & white photographs for $1 each. Art-o-mat was such a success, that steps were taken to grow the idea. Gallery owner Cynthia Giles introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed. Artists in Cellophane is now the sponsoring organization of Art-o-mat. Its mission is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. They believe “that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable.”
You can see some of the art that the machines dispense here. We think the big draw of Art-o-mat is the designs of the machines themselves. It’s clear that they were cigarette vending machines at one time, but the altered colors and details are much more lush and charming. Who wouldn’t want one of these around to admire, even if you didn’t have a buck to spend?