In a letterpress shop, there is wood everywhere. Drawers and racks are lined with decades old hand-hewn wood type, reglets, and “furniture”, the wood spacers used to set the type on the press. The color and grain of the wood pieces bring warmth and richness from the past into the studio. Ink stains and oil form a patina that reveals the hand of the craftsman who previously owned them. Each set of type has its own legacy and I am happy to be part of it.
I participated in an art fair at a local winery over the weekend and the topic of framing came up, as it often does. Someone asks me about framing my prints at nearly every show. My answers are usually too vague because I don’t have the information for frame sources with me. So if you’ve purchased one of my prints in the past, this might interest you.
I print on either Coventry Rag paper, Stonehenge paper, or French Paper Company paper. Stonehenge and Coventry are heavyweight cotton rag papers. I use them for my limited edition linoleum block prints that I consider “fine art”. I use heavy card stock paper from French Paper Company for my letterpress posters and cards. Although the posters are usually linoleum block prints, too, I make them in editions of 75-100 and consider them more “casual” than my smaller editions of fine art linocut prints. As such, they don’t necessarily need to be framed. Many people simply hang them with clips.
Framing my posters can be a bit of challenge because they aren’t a standard size. I print them on uncut paper which is 12.5”x 19” so it is impossible to find a ready-made store bought frame to fit them. However, I have a source for very affordable frames in custom sizes! FrameUSA.com. I’ve been using their simple narrow black wood frames for several of my linoleum block prints.
I also discovered that the same frame style, their Architecture series, is available unfinished. So I decided to try designing my own hand carved frames by cutting simple designs into the frame with my linoleum block carving tools (which are actually wood carving tools). I painted the carved surface with contrasting colors of acrylic paint and coated it with two coats of acrylic varnish. The results were great! I don’t know what type of wood the Architecture series frames are made from but it was easy to carve. And I love the fact that I carved the frames with the same tools I used to carved the linoleum block design. The marks in the frames echo the marks in the linoleum block prints.
Questions about the frames, prints, or anything else? Leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.
I rarely become overly attached to my paintings and prints. I love them but I am more than happy to see them go to a new collector. I derive a great deal of satisfaction knowing that someone besides me likes my art, too - enough to pay for it and hang it in their home.
But today I sold one of my favorites and now I will have to pack it and ship it and never see it again. I will paint more, similar paintings, but it was the very first one in a new series. It was where I made all sorts of new discoveries and decisions and, in the end, it worked! It doesn’t always work but this time it did. So I will miss it a little bit but I already have a few more paintings in the series underway, and my creative momentum won’t be interrupted when one goes out the door. I guess it’s the studio circle of life. One painting goes away as a new one is being created.
(This painting was purchased on the Artful Home site where it was featured along with more of my paintings and prints.)