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Talking Frames

The other day a friend and I spent ages on the phone discussing frames — picture frames. I know — thrilling isn’t it, but hey! that’s my life at the moment.

She was having trouble deciding how to frame an original print she’d bought. And since she lives in rural Australia, there wasn’t a lot of choice. And some pictures she’d bought already framed, but the framing chosen actually detracted from the picture instead of highlighting it.
Hence the long discussion, with various photos flying back and forth on email as we talked.

I have quite a few paintings and prints in my house. Some were bought back when I was a student, and I was lucky in that a good friend of mine worked part time in a picture framing business owned by his family. He framed all my prints and paintings in his spare time, for the cost of the materials, and he did it so beautifully they have stood the test of time — I still love them.

I also used to spend a lot of time poking through junk shops and found a number of old picture frames. The one above on the right I found in an old shed in the country, full of junk that was for sale and I bought it for a few dollars. It was filthy and coated in dark oily grime but I could see it had real potential —it was hand carved from a sold slab of wood. So I scrubbed off the oily grime  and then scraped out every little carved indent with a pair of nail scissors.  And it came up a treat. I found a pencil drawing in a magazine that reminded me of a photo of my mother as a school girl, and popped it in the frame — where it remains to this day.

Another old frame I found has a beautiful decorative border. The glass is also slightly wavy, which means it was made back in the days when glass was rolled out. I got it very cheap because the corner was damaged and also it was really old fashioned but not regarded by the seller as an antique — just junk.. I loved it and I don’t mind the damaged border — it adds to the frame’s story. That’s a bit of it on the left. I used it to frame a Gauguin print of two Breton girls, and I think the frame suits it perfectly.

On the right and below is another old frame I bought years ago. It’s beautiful and quite large, and I love the  gold highlighted acorn pattern around the edge. You can see a close-up of it below.

The frame is still in very good condition, but for some reason I have never found a picture for it — no idea why. But since the discussion with my friend I am now on the lookout for the perfect picture to go in it.


What about you — do like to scour junk shops in search of  treasures? Found any you especially love?

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Merrilyn Dennis
Merrilyn Dennis
29 days ago

Anne I’d have a mirror put in that beautiful frame

Merrilyn Dennis
Merrilyn Dennis
29 days ago
Reply to  AnneG

Merrilyn again, I have mirrors all ever, reflecting light and sparkle
In passage, in laundry even out inside on house wall reflecting garden
Frame there is tiny driftwood pieces
Wrought iron would work there too
Also have you thought of a tapestry sampler…the canvas would compliment it beautifully
I shall now shut up

Margot
Margot
29 days ago

What a wonderful frame you found and cleaned up. My husband and I set up o picture framing business and art gallery in the Washington DC area just after we got married. We had it for over 40 years before retiring. (both of us had previous other careers in mind) Most of the frames we used of course were new frame sticks that we cut to size. Many time customers would bring in their own to have art placed in them, that was always enjoyable. That Oak carved frame might go well with a small image with a larger paper… Read more »

Katharine
Katharine
28 days ago

I think that frame would be perfect for a rural picture containing a large stand of oak trees! Now if you can only find one!

Patricia Wood
Patricia Wood
28 days ago

My favorite is the rope. Inspiring. Miss Gracie is so interested and so interesting to read about all this.

Anne
Anne
28 days ago
Reply to  Patricia Wood

Thanks, Patricia, glad you enjoy it.

Barbara Johnson
Barbara Johnson
25 days ago

I love searching out old picture frames. I do a lot of counted cross stitch and an old decorative frame adds so much to the design. My daughters and I went to a thrift store at a nearby church last weekend. Everything was 30% off! I bought several lovely frames that were originally $2 each for only $1.40! The ladies who were running the sale were delightful and, best of all, the shop was named The Church Mouse.

Anne
Anne
17 days ago

Thanks, Barbara — I love that name. The Church Mouse is so evocative. And what a bargain those frames were.