Truly unique & completely original. (Pt.2)

Following on from my last blog post, here are a couple of frames that I worked on recently that allowed me to use all of the techniques I spoke about last time, as well as adding yet another customisation element; corner pieces.

Another step in the hand finishing of frames, is adding handmade elements like corner pieces, to introduce an extra dimension to the finished piece. These can be modelled on items found inside the original artwork, or pieces that would be complimentary

The first step, as always is the prep and the paint.

In these next examples, I took some ornate frames and went with a single colour, satin black. Building up the layers by hand with a brush to achieve a smooth, uniform finish.

This first frame was to be put around an amazing print by Alexandria Noel. The artwork is a single colour, limited edition screen print on black paper stock titled

'Alzig Rune Stag'.

I decided early on that this would have corner pieces, and opted to incorporate the bird element from the artwork as I thought the Stag head/antler aspect would be a bit too over the top not to mention difficult to model and maintain long term without damage.

My model making skills are pretty much non-existent, but thankfully I have a very good friend who gets to play with 3D printers all day at work, so after a quick message, some discussion and some sizing, he made me some amazing bird skulls which I then hand painted.

Each skull was then fixed in place into each corner of the frame with the beak of each skull just popping over the edge of the rebate and the image area as a subtle draw into the artwork.

A little while after I framed this Alexandria Noel piece, a print came along where I could incorporate all of the above techniques, and produce an in your face, fancy showcase piece that always gets people talking. 'Dethroned' by Hal Rotting, an American based artist, ticked all of the boxes for me, and was the idea candidate for the full works.

First up was a completely custom cut mount.

The shape of the artwork needed something other than a standard square cut aperture, so by following the outline of the art, I'm framing and highlighting the piece's unique characteristics. Now, the thing with some artists, is they like to sign and number their art quite far down the paper, sometimes so close to the edge that, depending upon the style of mount, it's sometimes hidden.

In this instance I decided that I wanted to show off the signature and print number, especially as it's and edition of only 12. So I cut small individual apertures around each.

I then used acrylic paint and a brush to add the speckle onto the mount to match the original artwork.

Then I called on my buddy to make me some skulls for the corner pieces. I asked him to make them with open jaws so I had the option of customising each one as I saw fit. For the corner skulls I took the lower jaw off completely, and then set about cutting away sections of the nose and upper teeth to make each one individual.

For the row of skulls at the top of the frame, I kept the lower jaw in place on a couple of them, closed on one and open on another. The rest, I left without the lower jaw and again, customised each one individually so they were all different. They were then all hand painted to match the frame and fixed into place once the skulls and frame were dry.

So there you have it. A little insight in to the thoughts and processes of some hand finished framing. Some of these are quite elaborate, but that’s not to say that hand finished framing isn't for you. Something simple like a hand painted mount bevel or some key lines may be just the right amount of additional customisation your piece needs. Other times, going a little over the top is ideal (sometimes the only right option!)

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