Moving? Downsizing? Its a Good Time to Check Your Artwork!

My parents are moving across the country to the great Pacific Northwest, and downsizing while they’re at it. While going through their art, we discovered trouble was afoot.

In the Nicest of Homes, Time Abuses Artwork

Close up of painting that has been faded by UV raysAlthough much of my parents’ art was professionally framed years ago, we found mountings that had failed, frames that were nicked and scratched, and no UV protection on anything. Acid in the framing materials had degraded the images and we could see fading from light exposure. The damage had happened so slowly, over time, they hadn’t noticed the changes before.

Deciding What Art to Keep and What to Let Go

Since they are moving into a smaller house, our first step was to figure out which pieces would travel with my parents to their new home and which pieces would stay behind. If you’re an art lover, you know this wasn’t always easy. If you ever find yourself in this position, we suggest gathering all your artwork together and considering:

  • The condition of each piece: If a piece has deteriorated, can it be saved? Is it worth reframing if necessary?
  • The value of each piece: Is it worth money? Irreplaceable for sentimental reasons? Important for other reasons?
  • How much you still like each piece: Has it always been a favorite or was it a gift you never really cared for? Will you like it as much in your new home? Or will it seem out of place and bothersome?
  • The amount of space in your new home: Can you make a place for each piece? Or is it time to pass down some of the art you like, but don’t have room for?

Once you have pared down your collection, evaluate the art you are keeping for signs of needed repairs.

Older Art: To Reframe or Not to Reframe?

With so much else to consider during a move, your first thought is probably going to be, “Do we really need to go to the expense and hassle of reframing?” I know that based on the most common questions I hear about older art:

“Can we reuse the materials — mats, glass, etc?” Honestly, if you’re serious about preserving your artwork, the answer is no. Until recently, framing materials weren’t up to the job of protecting art from light or acid, so anything framed just 20 years ago or more is being destroyed by the frame that was intended to protect it. Modern materials are acid free and we have now have glass that will filter 99% of UV rays.

“It’s been framed this way for 40 years and it looks fine, why not leave it alone?” I can almost guarantee your older art is not fine. The framing materials are damaging it and the image has likely faded significantly. However, you won’t be able to see the damage–or know what to do about it–until you take the art out of it’s frame.

Let’s Take a Hard Look at Mom’s Art

One piece in my parents’ collection had been in the basement for 30 or more years, but Mom really liked it and wanted to keep it. The frame and mats still looked pretty good and the glass, while a bit dirty, was in good condition. The image, also one of my favorites, looked fine until we took it out of the frame.

Unframed artwork. At the edges, one can see the paint colors have faded significantly.

Suddenly, I understood why it had a dark teal linen accent mat! The blues had faded significantly — some almost to white. Interestingly, the yellows didn’t seem to have faded as much, but overall, there was a lot of UV damage.

Bringing new life to this piece required all new materials, not just to protect the image, but to complement the piece in its current condition. I’m sure the old mat looked great before the art faded, but it looked strange next to the image as it is now.

Because this was painted in the 1960’s, we decided to be true to its heritage and picked a really cool mid-century inspired frame and fillet, paired with tatami silk mat the complements the main color in the painting.

The artwork with new wooden frame and gray blue matting.

Bring Your Older Art to Village Frame & Gallery Before Your Move

If you are moving or downsizing and sorting through your artwork, now is the time to evaluate its condition. We can help! Call us whenever you need to:

  • Check for framing materials that might be damaging your art
  • Update the look of your favorite pieces from the last century
  • Replace glass that broke during your move

Your best bet is to drop off your artwork right before your move so it’s safe during the move and ready to be hung when your new home is in order. We’re open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Cardboard cut from appliance box being used as backing for framed artwork.

Time and the environment are the mortal enemies of your artwork. Preservation is one of the most important reasons to frame pictures and heirlooms. But not all framing is good framing. We find frequently, even with pieces that were “professionally” framed, that the materials used — mats, backing boards, glass — and the mounting methods employed have actually been damaging the artwork.

When Framing Hurts

Artwork with damage marks from framing materials
Here you can see the signs of deterioration due to poor framing materials and technique. (click to enlarge)

Recently, a customer brought in an item that needed reframing because the glass had broken. This striking, detailed lithograph was already deteriorating due to substandard framing materials. Standard glass without UV protection had been used and the image showed signs of fading.

There were also obvious burn lines from the mat and tape that had been used. (Please, no more using  regular cardboard and masking tape to back framed art!)

Long-term, all this damage was going to get much worse. We consulted with our client about the materials and the damage to the frame itself. Wisely, the client chose to preserve this beautiful lithograph with conservation methods and materials, stopping any further degradation in its tracks. The results were worth it.

Preserved and reframed lithograph
After preservation and reframing (click to enlarge)

This is just one example of the many pieces we have had to rescue from it’s own frame. You’d be surprised at the materials that get used, especially when the art wasn’t framed by a professional knowledgeable in conservation practices. We even had one picture come in and found the backing board was cardboard from an old Whirlpool dryer box. Whirlpool may use fine cardboard to protect products during shipping, but corrugated cardboard is highly acidic. That dryer box started destroying the artwork the minute the two were sandwiched together in a frame.

Older artwork, even if custom framed, may be at substantial risk as well. Just a few decades ago, the conservation materials used today didn’t exist. It was not unusual for framers to use masking tape, regular cardboard, and untreated mats, which are all highly acidic. They didn’t have much choice, frankly. So, if a piece is over 30 years old and you want it to last for many more decades, please bring it in for a check up.

For the Art You Love, Trust Village Frame & Gallery

Cardboard cut from appliance box being used as backing for framed artwork.
No really, it was a Whirlpool dryer box!

Our clients keep coming back because they know it’s what’s inside that counts and they know they can count on us not to cut corners with materials or craftsmanship.

To conserve your fine artwork, heirlooms, or collectibles, bring them to our shop at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219. We’re open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, or by appointment.

6 Ideas for Decorating Your Man Cave

Vintage Cheap Trick Poster, Autographed and Framed

P.S. These work for dens, game rooms, and other masculine spaces too!

The man cave has come into its own in the last few years. Guys are not only claiming retreat spaces, some are turning them into handsome showplaces. What about you? Do you have a man cave? Is it cool? Do you want it to be? Here are some inspiring ideas from local guys, framed in our shop:

 

Show Off Your Event Memorabilia

Vintage Cheap Trick Poster, Autographed and Framed
You were there? Get out those posters and get them up on the wall! We can also frame tickets, albums, autographed napkins, and other souvenirs.

 

Display Your Treasured Heirlooms

Vintage hammer in shadowbox frame
Still have the antique hammer Grandpa gave you when he taught you woodworking? Your Dad’s metalworking gear? We have shadowboxes that will not only display your treasures, but preserve them so you can pass them down to your sons and grandsons.

 

 Boast a Little

Shadow box full of scouting medals and old black and white pictures.
You earned those bragging rights, we can help you turn your medals, trophies, and other awards into handsome conversation pieces.

 

Exhibit Your Interests

Shadow box display of gaming cards
Whatever your hobby or favorite activity, there is a way to create a display that will make your man cave more personal — more of a reflection of you. Call or stop by, even if you think your idea is kind of “out there,” and we’ll brainstorm together.

 

Go Classic with Maps

Vintage map in frame
A nicely framed vintage map is at home anywhere and perfect for guys who love to travel, anybody who has a special relationship to a specific part of the world, and men who just plain love maps. It’s the kind of thing Mark Twain probably had in his billiards room, don’t you think? Old maps need appropriate framing to keep them from degrading, though. No worries, we can help you with that.

Advertise Your Fandom

University of Oregon football jersey in shadow box
Whether you played the game or have been your team’s biggest fan since boyhood, there are lots of cool ways to display — and protect — sports memorabilia. Let’s talk.

Ready to upgrade your manly sanctuary? Call or stop by today.

Bring your collectibles and keepsakes to Village Frame & Gallery any Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm, or by appointment. We are located at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219. Want to call first? Dial 503-245-8001.

Important Dates this December

Downhill skier

Need something framed in time for Christmas? Bring it in by December 12th.

Downhill skier
By Claude Thebarge, available at Village Frame & Gallery

Great framing takes time, so bring your gifts of art and seasonal decor to Village Frame & Gallery this week to make sure they will beat Santa to your door.

Despite the business of the season, we will make sure your project receives the care an attention we have built our reputation on since 1999.

Shop hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219.

Have questions about whether or not we can frame something? Call us at 503-245-8001.

Holiday Hours at Village Frame & Gallery

In order to spend time with our families and friends, Village Frame & Gallery will observe the following special holiday schedule. We hope you are also able to spend time this season in the company of those you love best.

Thursday, December 24th: Closing at 4 pm

Friday, December 25th: Closed

Saturday, December 26th: Closed

Thursday, December 31st: Closing at 4 pm

Friday, January 1st: Closed

 

Seen in Multnomah Village – SCARY!

Village Frame & Gallery owner, Beth Nichols, and her husband, Scott, in their Halloween costumes

Portlanders, is this danger lurking in your home?

Our neighborhood is generally a safe, friendly place, but a couple of weeks, we spotted something truly scary that everybody needs to become aware of before somebody gets hurt.

Village Frame & Gallery owner Beth and her husband, Scott, in their Halloween costumes at Multnomah Village Trick or Treat event.
It’s true, this was spotted in Multnomah Village a couple of weeks ago, and is kind of scary, but in all seriousness, what you need to know about is:

Cheap Art Hangers are Downright Dangerous

One light-duty picture hanger with badly stretched hooks and a heavy-duty hanger made of much thicker, stronger metal
Click photo to enlarge

Heavy framed mirrors and artwork need heavy-duty hardware to keep the artwork and its owners safe. The hanger at the top of this picture was removed from artwork framed at an inexpensive home decor store. The  hanger is bent from the weight of the piece and threatened to release it’s hold. The hanger at the bottom is what an independent professional framer, like Village Frame & Gallery, uses for a heavy piece. Cheap hardware, nail-in picture hooks, and large-thread drywall anchors, can fail under loads greater than 25 pounds.

The Really Frightening Part

Imagine if this picture was hung over a bed! Or a child bumped the wall underneath it! Sure, we’re having some fun with this issue, but it’s no laughing matter when a heavy item comes crashing down onto someone. This is one area where quality absolutely matters.

Village Frame & Gallery can Help Make Your Artwork — and You — Safe

Please, check your artwork and mirrors today. If you see signs of hardware failure — the metal components are stretched, fasteners are pulling out, or anything else that looks suspicious — take down the item right away and bring it to Village Frame & Gallery. We will evaluate the materials used and make recommendations for hanging your heavy item securely. We have appropriate hardware and installation techniques for any kind of display you can imagine, on any surface.

Nobody wants to imagine the damage that might be caused by falling art!

It’s Holiday Framing Season!

Drawing of tree on bright green bakground with a red bird flying over it. Below the tree it says, "I'm dreaming of a green Christmas."

If you want something framed for the holidays, bring it in today.

Superior craftsmanship takes time, so whether you want to give gifts of art or add a piece to your holiday decor, this is the best time to get started. Drop off your artwork, photographs, keepsakes, and needlework right away to ensure they will be framed and ready in plenty of time. Need some inspiration or the perfect gift for an art lover? Village Frame & Gallery can help with that too. See you soon!

Framed pictures with the message "We can help you frame Christmas past and present

… and all the other holidays too!

 

Please note: Framing orders for Christmas delivery need to be dropped off at the shop no later than December 12th. We are open Tuesday – Saturday
10 am – 6 pm at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219.

The One Souvenir You Must Bring Home from Your Next Trip

Framed photograph of a street in Venice

Skip the tchotchke, go for the good stuff — art!

If key chains leave you cold and you’re full up on t-shirts, it’s time to step up your travel game. Get out of the souvenir shops and check out the local art scene: browse the galleries, stop for street artists, and keep your eyes peeled for art fairs. Your mission? To talk to artists and find artwork you love that evokes memories of the place you visited or how you spent your time there. While you’re at it, keep your camera close at hand. You may find, as one of our clients did, your own work is the best of show. Check this out:

Venetian Courtyard Photograph

Framed photograph of a street in VeniceThis photo was taken with a smartphone by our client, Susie. No kidding. When she got home, Susie resized it to 22″ x 28″, taking care to not lose any image quality. She had it printed and brought it in to Village Frame & Gallery for custom framing. In this old, ornate mirror frame, it’s a gorgeous reminder of her trip to Italy.

Not getting such great results from your own smartphone camera? Here are a couple of tip sheets you’ll find useful:

Not sure how to do the resizing or other post-processing? Make friends with a good print shop–the kind that works with fine artists and graphic designers. They will offer color correction and other post-processing services, plus printing on photo paper or canvas.

Don’t want to take your own pictures? Tried, but didn’t get anything good enough to hang on your wall? No problem. Most of our clients bring in pieces they purchased on vacation. Pieces like these:

 

Black and white photo of old buildings on the canals of Venice
This is another photo from beautiful Venice, but this one was purchased from a street vendor.

 

Colorful print of mountains under a starry sky.
This colorful print was purchased during a stay at Mt. Hood.
Modern style painting of a European village with houses going up a hillside and a church at the top.
This painting was purchased in Europe. The canvas was rolled up for the trip home, then we restretched it and framed it.

What did you collect this summer?

We just heard there is a poster from Switzerland headed to the shop for framing and a friend mentioned a watercolor she bought from an artist on the beach in Mexico. What about you? Have a memory to exhibit? Bring to the Gallery and let’s pick the perfect frame. This is going to be way better than a slideshow on Facebook or one of those spoon rests that says New York City!

Are You Sitting on an Heirloom?

Colorful bouquet of embroidered flowers, matted and framed.

Embroidered chair covers made by Grandma get a new life at Village Frame & Gallery

Colorful bouquet of embroidered flowers, matted and framed.A few months ago, a customer brought us six lovely hand-embroidered chair covers. Could we preserve them? She wanted to present them as gifts to her grandchildren. What a great idea!

Of Grandmas and Embroidered Chair Covers: A Brief History

During the 16th century, embroidery became an essential skill for young ladies. Before marriage, girls embroidered samplers, which taught them letters, numbers, and stitches—all things a young lady needed to know when she married and became responsible for creating and maintaining clothing and linens for her household.

For some women during those centuries, embroidery became a way of expressing themselves artistically while fulfilling their duties as a homemaker. Although every wife had a great deal of day-to-day sewing, some took time to incorporate decorative designs on clothes and household articles. By the 18th century, a talented embroiderer could get work sewing for her neighbors in exchange for money or goods. If you think of it, this “women’s work” is rather inspiring. As they did in quilting, knitting, and other practical arts, through embroidery, women made the functional beautiful.

Well into the middle of the last century, embroidery was a way for women earn a bit of income or stitch art into everyday life. You may have cushions, upholstery, or linens created by your grandmother or great-grandmother, that have borne witness to your family history for generations. Imagine how many times her needle passed in and out of that cloth … Can you picture her choosing a design? Deciding on colors? The many hours it took to complete each piece?

Is It Time to Give Grandma’s Work a Place of Honor in Your Home?

With proper preservation, chair covers can survive for generations. Long after the useful life of the chair is over, your family will be able to enjoy Grandma’s needlework—as art!

Feeling inspired? Bring your heirloom chair covers to Village Frame & Gallery for needlework conservation treatment and framing. We’re open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219.

Colorful red and blue bouquet embroidered on a chair cover

Colorful bouquet of red and blue flowers embroidered onto a chair cover, matted and framed

Colorful bouquet of embroidered flowers

Colorful bouquet of embroidered flowers, matted and framed.

Embroidered bouquet of blue flowers

Chair cover embroidered with bouquet of blue flowers, matted and framed


 

Various shops turn needlepoint into pillows; very few offer to frame them. Only one shop, in my opinion, does the latter as it should be done: Village Frame and Gallery. Their artful framing greatly enhances my work, through their time consuming, labor intensive blocking, their wide selection of exquisite frames and mats, plus the highest quality preservation glass. Their work is unequaled this side of a major museum.

–Arthur Henry