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Letter of Recommendation: Framing

wvframer

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From the NY Times:
Letter of Recommendation: Framing
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

Letter of Recommendation: Framing




Credit...Illustration by Max Guther
By Durga Chew-Bose
  • Feb. 4, 2020

    • As if through a sieve, the kind you might use to dust confectioners’ sugar on a cake, the snow began to fall one Sunday afternoon in January — white diagonals obscuring the view just outside my mother’s living-room window. I called it picturesque because I was removed from the wind, the wet, the biting cold. I took pleasure in being deceived.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
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Paywalled. But nice to see our trade given some light.
 

wvframer

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Not even letting you see one article? Shame on them.

By Durga Chew-Bose

Feb. 4, 2020

As if through a sieve, the kind you might use to dust confectioners’ sugar on a cake, the snow began to fall one Sunday afternoon in January — white diagonals obscuring the view just outside my mother’s living-room window. I called it picturesque because I was removed from the wind, the wet, the biting cold. I took pleasure in being deceived.

I was happy to be where it felt cozy, surrounded by walls of my mother’s framed things: leatherwork from Shantiniketan, Amrita Sher-Gil prints, the walnut-shaped eyes in a Jamini Roy. I grew up in a home where going to the framer’s was an errand I occasionally ran with my parents on weekends, or an errand that they would return from with pieces wrapped in brown paper. My grandfather, Amiya, framed in the eulogizing dignity of burled wood. My grandmother, Chameli, mounted on the wall in a simple black frame, the glow of her face understated but not contained; she looks like an actress.

When I left New York and moved to Montreal, I found an apartment with more rooms than I could fill. So instead, I arranged. A mirror I didn’t hang but propped against the wall. Magazine stacks, anywhere. My apartment maintained the kind of ambivalence indicated by a pile of once-worn shirts that I moved from the arm of a chair to the foot of my bed, depending on the time of day.

But arranging allows for reluctance. You’re not hammering nails into walls; you’re chasing light — carrying a vase from the front of the apartment to the back, and so on. By the time it was winter, my walls were still empty, and my piles of sentimental stuff were beginning to grow.

Eventually, I found myself unmoored, homesick in my own space. The first framer I tried was affordable and fast, but I stopped going there when I noticed a bagel seed stuck beneath the pane of glass, right in the middle of a Bill Gold poster I purchased impulsively on eBay. I will never come around to finding the mistake tragicomic or charming. So I found a new place. A framer located cater-corner from a health-food store and across the street from a neighborhood coffee shop. Since starting, I can’t stop. Consecutive weekends might include a quick trip to the framer, along with other essential errands: laundry, parents, balsamic, framer.

Framing serves an uncomplicated purpose: It yields results but isn’t fixed to clear thinking. The relationship with my framer exists beyond plain transaction. Piece by piece, my framer has become intimate with me: my choosiness, my fondnesses, my dumb, entirely sincere urge to create remarkability. The decision to frame a double exposure of my mother and her sisters on a rooftop in Calcutta, for instance, or a poster of Barbara Loden’s “Wanda,” is ultimately subjective and extravagant (framing isn’t cheap). Should it really cost this much to affirm what’s meaningful to me? Building a home takes time, but it’s also an investment in anticipation, in wagering on the energy of a random Thursday when I find myself between moments, landing on that photo of my mother and her sisters hanging on my wall. She looks young and joyful; her knobby knees — her girlhood — caught in motion.

My framer is regularly asked to follow through on choices that might seem fanciful, even dramatic. Like safeguarding a falling-apart cover of Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” where just below the title it reads: “Her Novel.” Or how I chose wood in a shade of pale mint to scaffold a tiny photograph of my father, the week we found out he had cancer. Some of us are born a little mournful, and we spend our lives discovering new traditions for housing those ghosts we’ve long considered companions. Framing, I’d venture, is central to this urge. It gives memories a physique.

It’s funny how adding four corners brings out the thing. But what I derive from getting things framed isn’t perfection; it’s completing a task that comes with rules, consideration for light and an opportunity to preserve — and not in my cluttered, humming mind, but with a tactile compromise. Hanging in my hallway is Frank O’Hara, surrounded by three inches of black mat and gallery-brushed silver. The image hasn’t lost the romance of why I fell for it in the first place. Visible in this photograph, taken by John Gruen, five years before O’Hara’s death, is the poet’s smile — more specific, his small teeth. Formerly, it was a piece of cardboard floundering on my fridge door. Now, it’s a proposition; the satisfaction of something made-ready.

Recently, I took a few pieces to the framer, among them a photograph of my friend Sarah. Backlit, Sarah passes forms. She is portrait and shadow, the way silhouettes obscure yet disclose the oneness of a person’s contour. A few weeks elapsed, and when the photograph was ready, I went to pick it up. Specially made objects are a rare pleasure because they demand what is scarce: time, consideration, belated results. The low-stakes sport of making surface choices like metal over wood, or lacquer for a different finish. And while these preferences are sacred, it’s lazy and untrue to describe my reaction upon seeing Sarah, framed, as divine. Sometimes what’s bespoke compels the opposite of novelty — it captures what’s right in front of us: the plain-spoken; the dear friend; her most conspicuous chin. I held the frame and could only say, over and over, “There she is.”
 

josephforthill

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
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Mar 25, 2004
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770
I was just coming here to post this. Really good to see an article about framing that isn't either industry PR or "how to avoid paying a framer those outrageous prices" (the bagel seed did make me wince).
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
11,822
Thank you.

Identified with some of the emotions in the article, and it captured that special relationship.

Framers, unlike very few others, are part of the final steps to finish The Home.

And, just think: way past 2050, you and your work will still be remembered and appreciated.
 
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