• Welcome to the largest and friendlest resource for picture framers! Please LOG IN or REGISTER a free account.
    Once logged in, you will be able to SEARCH our archives.
    Forget your password? Click here to RESET PASSWORD Trouble? Click the CONTACT US link.

Picture Framing - training suggestions


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
May 30, 2005
historic Charleston, SC
I attended the PPFA/PMA convention in Orlando for the sole purpose of getting training in some of the basics, and perhaps learn some new ideas.

Before this, I had never had the opportunity to use a 'real' mat cutter. We had the Fletcher 2200, new out of the box. Unfortunately, I had to spend a little too much time learning how the machine worked.

That being said, I got behind the eight-ball and fell behind the pace of the class. No one else said they were as confused as I, so I left it unsaid, hoping I could catch up somehow. That didn't happen, and I got fairly frustrated, which overshadowed the rest of my first-ever convention experience.

I'm a big boy, and accept the responsibility for not speaking up. What I'm looking for is suggestions (if any) of what your experience was when you were first learning the craft.

Working for free at someone's shop is not a viable suggestion - the 5 or 6 framers I approached in my area wanted nothing to do with that, and my schedule is somewhat limited anyway. What I'm looking for is getting the most bang for my bucks - which are as limited as my schedule.

Thanks in advance for your constructive input!
Why not take a Larson class or ask your local supplier (who ever you bought the mat cutter from) to help you.

When I opened my shop 6 years ago, I had never actually joined a frame. I had seen it done a million times but had never done it myself.

I just ask who ever I bought my equipment from to give me a few pointers and the rest I learned from trial and error.

Is there a supplier near you, that make deliveries or do you have everything shipped in?

They are always willing to help, it's to their advantage.

I think most people don't wnat to discuss their trials because it was just that..A Trial and it puts them into a less than "thou" position. I have notcied that most people through the years want to come off as having reached their goals and not discuss their weaknesses.
In the beginning it is common for most to experiance a lot of trial.Disgust and even doubts. I know of no one who started out and reached success the next day. A lot of long hours and no pay seems top be the name of the game. If your the owner you get to watch the money dwindle and the bills pile up. But then you read about another who has been at it awhile talk about his successes and you begin to think " hey I can do that to".
So you hang in there and you hang in there...!
As far as you class experience that is tough! But I would not come down on myself to hard. Most of us have a leaning towards comparing ourselves to others. The problem is that we compare our weaknesses to the strength of others and we always come up short when we do this. Not all of us are great at one thing and one thing only.
Your expertise might be in math and theirs might be in Mat cutting..So what to do..? Learn to delegate authority. You do the math and let someone else do the mat cutting. As an owner it may be imperitive that you learn to do it all and eventuallky you will catch on, but even then the first chance I got I would let someone else do it and I would do what I am good at. Making mistakes is part of growing, it goes with the territory of learning.
At first expect to make more than your share of stupid mistakes and expect to make them more than once. Who can say they never made a mistake and more than once at that? The trick is to learn from them and not keep on doing them over and over. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. HA! Even years later one can make a mistake, one that they can say " I know better than that" too. But even that shows progress because before they could not claim that..so you see something was learned.
Hi Deaconsbench,

I was lucky enough to have started framing in college and got to learn the equipment on campus. For those of us who entered the profession later on, seminars and instuctional books are the way to go.

Vivian Kistler has a set of books and videos that are extremely easy to understand and covers alot of territory.

Every chance you get, go to the seminars as they enter your area. I've never come away from one without new information, no matter how long I've been doing this.

As I recall, most of my Fletcher equipment came with videos, but I must admit, I was so familiar with the product i don't know if there is instuctional info on those.

Good Luck,
Pcasico has a framing school...........look him up he is a Grumbler.

Pam Madden also a Grumbler teaches I think in Florida, I seem to recall they have a week long program.

Last but not least, Larson Juhl has seminars geared towards the beginner. I think they will train you even if you are homebased, you just can't sell their stuff til you have a store front.

Good luck!
Trapper said it very well up above...we ALL have made our share of mistakes and learned a lot over the years...the real task is to always deep your mind open for new ideas as well, and always be willing to learn...nobody knows it all.
I have heard from many people that the Larson-Juhl classes are a great way to go, tho' I have not taken them myself. It may be a good way to start for you and open doors into other areas. Good luck to you.
Deacon, what is that thing in your avatar???
Oh yeah, like the others, I recommend the schools. Larson's or Paul Cascio's or whichever. I went to Paul Frederick's Picture Framing Academy in the early 80's. Had never framed before, just some mat-cutting and home-framing my mom's and my needlework. It was only a week, but wow, what I learned in that week, and the years to come, in my own frame shop, to be able to pick up the phone and ask Paul for help. It helped me be able to have a frame shop for several years, and the experience is still helping me now. Sure wish I'd had The Grumble then! don't ever be afraid to ask questions. There will always be someone who was afraid to ask, and learned from yours!
"Deacon, what is that thing in your avatar???"

Ha! Ha! That's me, swimming in my coffee after about the 4th cup. I simply love the stuff.

Thanks everyone for your ideas. I'm always watching for opportunities to learn.
Deacon- The other day the little guy seemed to be swimming neatly within the cup, but now he seems to have "escaped" (at least on my monitor) and is kicking out toward the right side. What's the deal?
Originally posted by trapper:
...The problem is that we compare our weaknesses to the strength of others and we always come up short when we do this...

That is probably the most thought provoking comment I have ever read here on the G.

Thanks for sharing that Trapper!

Now back to the thread...

Books, videos, The Grumble and practice practice. You will achieve the knowledge goals that you desire.
Hi Deaconsbench,

There are a numbe of good framing schools around the U.S. and in Canada.

My school, The American Picture Framing Academy is geared to providing both technical and business training for the industry.

You can find more info about the school and also link to my "Guerrilla Framer" articles that appeared in Picture Framing Magazine for more than 10 years.

Feel welcome to call me personally if you have questions. 860-940-9262

Paul Cascio
Hi, Paul. I once thought about your school, and signed up for email announcements. Unfortunately, the 'announcements' became all too numerous, and I eventually had my email address removed from the system.

But thank you for the information and invite! It's certainly appreciated.
Originally posted by Rick Granick:
Deacon- The other day the little guy seemed to be swimming neatly within the cup, but now he seems to have "escaped" (at least on my monitor) and is kicking out toward the right side. What's the deal?
I know - I was told he was too big, then told he was OK. My monitor was set too high on pixels or something, so everything was large. I tried to 'rotate' and shrink him. It looked like he was being covered up in an oil slick or something. I may just go back to my other coffee cup.