Monday, September 7, 2015

Thanks & Thoughts on "Why do we custom frame anyway?"

In a few months, LLB will be moving into a new direction. I have had 25 wonderful years of framing and I look forward to now getting back to creating some of what I have been framing for the past couple of decades - the "other side", so to speak.

With all of the feed back I've been getting in the past few weeks (and thank you for all the wonderful visits and chats!) there has been a lot of exchange about what custom framing at an experienced small local business means to a lot of you. And these were some of the questions that popped up.

What does custom framing mean to you?

To a lot of my clients, custom framing means a personalized experience and an exchange about their ideas and decor, and for us to translate that together into a unique treatment of your artwork, objects, mirrors or any other "thing" or memory. The result will be a one-of-a-kind, long lasting art-"capsule" and presentation. It will not fade, it will not yellow, it will preserve both memories and objects like engravings, documents, drawings or photos that have endured centuries at times. Without our help, those things might disappear in storage or in a cardboard folder, where they will be exposed to elements like acid, mold or foxing.

The frame is a vehicle to show off your art and to integrate it into your environment. That's why we have so many choices on our walls at LLB: all of your interiors and tastes are different, and this way you are sure to find exactly what will fit your budget and taste. (That's why there is such a crazy variety of samples and art on our walls at the shop to show you all the many ways and ideas represented out there.)

Our job is to be able to help ALL of the different directions of tastes and back grounds. We are guides through a maze of wonderful choices and we make sure you arrive at your destination with style - while you have some fun!

A lot of my clients are super creative, and they come to us with an idea that we then translate into reality to be displayed in their home. I often think of it as "furniture for your walls". They are conversation pieces, stories, memories, trips, mementos, all on display for your eyes and your minds to play with.

What can you do with custom framing? 

The answer is: "Oh, just about anything!"

From creating gilt lines, re-finishing your frames, repairs, etc. to creating brand-spanking new capsules for your artwork: if you bring your ideas to a passionate "real" custom framer, they can translate them into reality. Every framer has their own knack and specialties. Some rely more on modern equipment and can create awesome cuts and curves in your mats, others still know how to do things by hand that will connect your hand-created artwork to the frame. The options are endless. Put your framer to the test, they love a great challenge and they love to learn new tricks every day!

re-gilded reclaimed tile frame

Is this world being taken over by chain stores?

Well, unfortunately this trend cannot be stopped unless we support our local trade. The trend for instant gratification and online sales has created a disconnect in all of us, and the idea that one has to wait for someone else to actually MAKE something has become unpopular and for a lot of the new generation has become hard to fathom or understand.

Social media and the economy have created a very bland, average and "same" look to interiors that can be instantly recognized and that makes it easy for everyone to fit in. Anything unique stands out and is less recognizable. There is less commitment to objects, to leave the option to change one's mind and keep it occupied and entertained.

On the other hand, we are slowly seeing a trend toward more personality and uniqueness again.

Chain stores benefit from huge volume discounts that are not extended to the smaller businesses.
It makes it very difficult to compete with the larger businesses, in spite that your smaller stores employ wonderful long time craftsmen who will share their skills and will create work that is much more worthy of your investment. Faux discounts fool the public into thinking that they get a better deal at the huge chains, but is that really true? Michael's just lost another law suit regarding these practices in Canada.(more...)

Aside from that, what is better than locally created goods and foods and knowing who made them and where they came from?

Who will do all of the specialized and small jobs and trades in the future?

(And yes, we still need all of those crafts and trades!)

Well, that depends whether and how we pass the love for all things hand created down to the next generation. Sometimes it's easier to play a game on the computer and press "re-start" when the outcome is not as desired... but there is something so rewarding and fulfilling about teaching children art and challenging their minds to solve a problem or see a project through.

Cabinet makers, carpenters, wall paper hangers, custom framers, upholsterers, jewelers, the list goes on and on, and as un-glamorous as those professions seem to some, these folks know their stuff and
let's face it: without them we'll live in a totally plasticky and personality-less world.

I guess what I am trying to say is: support your local craftsmen, show them some love and appreciation and keep the trades alive or even join in! That's why I love publications like The Scout Guide & The Scout Guide Charlottesville, who support a myriad of local-only business communities and show off their unique talents all over the States. What a great concept, and we are so thrilled to have been a part of it for the past couple of years!!

I have also been very blessed to have been part of one of C'Ville's most creative communities. Check out McIntire Plaza some time: it is full of creative energy, comradery and unique, passionate businesses that you will not find clustered together like this anywhere else in town! (Keep it local!)

Thanks for reading!
And keep bringing those awesome projects for the next month - October 15th is the last date to place orders - I'll get them done for you before we leave!

PS: all art and gifts are now on sale and flying out the door, so come in and pick up some early Christmas gifts when you are in our neck of the woods!


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