The picture framing terrorists


Grumbler in Training
Sep 17, 2004
ChCh, New Zealand
Hi all,

My first post...very nervous!

I'm studying for the GCF exam and have been trying to find info on framing from all sources.

I went down to the local library and found nothing but out-dated or really bad craft books. For a profession so centered around style, why are there so many tacky, pathetic framing ideas published?.

Sorry to all Kaye Evans, Vivian Kistler fans but it's picture framing terrorism!. These books are filled with photos of copper wire atrocities and ornamental shell butchery. The techniques are impressive too. It's amazing how well mitres come up with just a tenon saw and a steady hand. Forget your guillotines, it's so easy!

I realize these are just craft books for DIY'ers, but why would you ever want to do it yourself ?

End of spiel, Thanks for reading!

I wouldn't expect the framing books that are written for framing professionals to appear in a public library. We are, after all, a very small industry.

The PPFA store, Decor Magazine and other sources have books written for us, and they belong in every serious framer's personal library.

Still, materials and techniques are evolving so rapidly that there is really no substitute for continuing education and hands-on experience.

I know almost nothing about the GCF exam and would be interested in hearing more about it from some of you who have taken it or are currently preparing for it.

Welcome to The Grumble. Nothing to be nervous about here, is there?
Originally posted by artisan.soldier:

I realize these are just craft books for DIY'ers, but why would you ever want to do it yourself ?

I wish more of my customers felt that way. I have un-framed so many awful things. Once the item is in a nice, well constructed, proportional frame, the customer always says, "That looks so much BETTER!"

I tell artists who are bringing work to the gallery not to frame it. They will bring stuff shoved into yard sale frames, and I tell them the truth: This makes it look like you don't think your work is worth anything better. Showing it in just a good mat and acetate wrap is better than that.
David, if you're a member of the PPFA, most chapters are working creating "lending libraries" for the CPF materials. Perhaps you could check into that. The only other thing I know is to order the books, a few at a time as Ron suggested.

I realize that the GCF is a little different, but the knowledge needed should be close. Maybe John Ranes or William Parker, who are both GCFs could reply to that.

There is a study guide for the GCF published by the Guild. We picked it up at one of the shows for $20.
I believe that books published by Kistler, Paschke and Evans are continuously being revised. I wouldn't expect the library to have current information in this case.
The GCF Study Guide is a useful starter, and the rest of FATG's publications are good, too.

However, PPFA's publications are more complete and up-to-date. The best references for learning are given in the CPF Study Guide. You might benefit from studying the MCPF exam Guidelines, too.

And, if you want to really torture yourself with even more information, download all of the FACTS standards & guidelines at

Been there, done that (CPF, MCPF, and GCF).
artisan.soldier david
I am a GCF certifed, the study guide the Guild provides is all you need to pass the exame. But I will say get every book you can on framing and paper conservation. It only begins here I have been doing framing for over 29 years now and I still am learning as I write this. PPFA has a very good Library As does
Good Luck.
Thanks to all who replied

Here in New Zealand I don’t have easy access to PPFA or CPF info but I think I’ll be alright. The main point of my post was that these books don’t provide a decent level to attain to. I don’t understand how these authors, who are professional picture framers, can bring themselves to publish such bad ideas for creating junk! I really appreciate all the advice and info that was posted, though.

By no means do I expect to find a dedicated professional picture framing book down at the local library. I would just like to see some practical advice given by professional framers.

Ron this is basically what’s involved in the GCF exam…oh and I’m not so nervous now, thanks!

Before the exam, candidates bring along three framed pieces that they have framed themselves:

1. Framed and glazed picture, framed to commended level, with a double mount.
2. Canvas, including a painted or printed image, stretched over timber stretcher bars and framed.
3. Print/piece of artwork framed to conservation level with two sets of ruled lines around the mount window.

The exam itself lasts for 1 ¾ hours and consists of three tasks and a multiple-choice questionnaire:

1. Cut and join a frame
2. Assemble stretcher bars and stretch a canvas
3. Cut a multiple opening window mount

You’ll find more info about the GCF exam at the Fine Arts Trade Guild UK.

Thanks again for everyone’s replies.