It's amazing how the frame can really make or break a piece of art, isn't it? With the right frame and matting, a doodle on a napkin can look positively profound. But the wrong frame can cheapen even the most expensive or groundbreaking work of art. Of course, the right frame comes at a price. A basic custom frame job from a big box craft store like Michaels easily runs well over $100. Given the expense, it's hard to justify custom framing for inexpensive pieces of artwork, especially if you are creating a gallery wall and have many pieces to frame.
So MoS Charlotte and I often rely on "frame flipping" to get the look of a custom frame for the equivalent of pocket change. If we see a frame we like at a thrift store and it's a good deal, we'll snag the piece even if the artwork inside is heinous. Conversely, if we see a piece of artwork we like, we'll snap it up even if the frame is subpar. Chances are, at some point down the line, we can make a match.
For example, my mom gave me this pair of antique orchid prints that are already matted. But sans frame...(excuse the glare, they are wrapped in plastic).
The prints are from the early 19th century, and the mats have hand-drawn borders. Something pre-fab from the craft store just would not do for these!
I happened to have them with me when I visited Mos Charlotte this weekend, and was telling her about my frame mission, when lo and behold, she went into her magic closet and produced two fabulous antiqued gold faux bamboo frames with a linen border inside.
Talk about perfect!
She'd snagged them at a thrift store for something insane like $4.50 each. They fit my prints perfectly! Now all I need to get at the frame store is the glass. Of course, knowing frame stores, they'll probably try to sell me some UV super protectant bulletproof archive magnifying glass, but hopefully I can get out without too much damage.
Another project where frame flipping worked out well- I found this bizarre little drawing at a thrift store. I have no idea what it is- an eagle? a rooster? a hybrid? - but he's hand drawn and I love the touch of yellow against the black. However, he came in a cheap, heinous, seen-better-days frame that I promptly disgarded. Now what to replace it with...
A few months ago I'd purchased a pair of framed bird paintings. Not because I liked the paintings (they are horribly twee, though I feel bad because someone painstakingly painted them!) but because I was gaga for the faux bamboo frames. I was storing them in the closet for a rainy day.
So out came the bird paintings...
And in popped Mr. Eagle/Chicken, complete with his original mat. It fit perfectly!
Now he's on my gallery wall that is slowly creeping down my stairway...more about that in another post.
Now, if anyone wants two little acrylic bird paintings, I know where you can get some...cheap :-)