There are strong opinions among artists about framing paintings. Some artists view the framing process as a nuisance and will do anything to avoid it. Others embrace framing their paintings as part of the creative process. Perhaps some accept it with indifference? I would regard myself as falling into the second group. I enjoy framing very much. What is the big deal anyway?
I did not always frame my paintings. I used to hand this over to a friendly framer who gave a discount to artists for work in bulk. Despite this however it was a chunk of cash each month. I could not wait for a sale either, because I could not determine my framer's schedule. The painting had to be ready for delivery, which meant paying for the framing in advance. This hurt cashflow and as any professional artist knows cashflow is important and uncertain. I had to do something about this situation.
The deciding factor was that I did not have creative freedom in the framing process either. I am fussy about the look of the frame and sometimes the framer's available moulding was simply not good enough.
Fortune smiled on me as a friend managed to locate a barely used Morso guillotine and pinning machine. With no second thoughts I jumped in and purchased them then set about building a framing studio. Yes it did take a while to pay myself back and learning the trade was not easy at first. The creative freedom to match my paintings to suitable frames more than made up for the learning curve. As costs go it has saved me a good deal in overhead too. Also the wholesale costs could be passed onto collectors. It is a win-win situation.
I also resolved to avoid skinny-frame syndrome. So often collectors have endured skinny-frames due to high framing costs. An ugly compromise! A generous frame that is sympathetic to the painting makes an enormous difference. Some may say that a good painting must stand on its own. I believe that a good frame will not save a bad painting, but a good painting will be enhanced by a great frame.
Should artists do their own framing? Yes, If you enjoy the idea and do not mind some messy labour now and then. Of course there must be an economic rationale too. Does it detract from the artist's creative work? Personally I find that framing is a welcome break from painting at times. Crunching through mouldings with a giant guillotine can be cathartic! I also get the pleasure of finishing a painting's journey.
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