It's Bunny Season!

Chicago has such a rich and interesting past and we truly love seeing and framing bits and pieces of that history. The original Playboy Club opened at 116 E. Walton in 1960. Within a year it was listed as the world's busiest club. Members of the exclusive club had to adhere to a strict dress code and present their bunny-logo key at the door for access to the lush and lascivious world within. 

Our customer's father was a key carrying member and lifelong fan of Hef and his bunnies. The pieces they brought to us for framing are an addition to an already large room of Playboy memorabilia. The items are a small brass plaque from the club and a little working doorbell. The challenge is to frame them along with a hidden working speaker that plays a little risque jazz number when the doorbell is pushed. 

We had to use our special bunny-eared thinking caps for this one! The speaker had to be hidden behind the fabric but with the mechanics in the right place so it would function when the doorbell is pressed. And the back needed to be accessible for changing the batteries from time to time. The project was completed with red plush velvet fabric and a mirrored finish frame to replicate the swank Playboy Club 60's decor. 

I think we have another thrilled customer! Take a closer look at the finished piece.....

Are you nesting?

Art is in the eye of the beholder and artists come in many sizes, shapes and species!

Our customer brought us this amazing structure built by a pair of birds on her window ledge. She immensely enjoyed watching the daily progress of construction and then spying eggs, watching the parents care for little chicks who eventually flew away. The birds returned the next season, built on an addition and raised another brood. It's only after being sure the nest was not visited again that our customer removed it and brought it in to us for a display and preservation option. 


It's really an amazing piece of architecture made from twigs with plastic bits, packing tape, cigarette butts and random paper scraps interspersed.  We built a frame to sit flat on a table and acrylic case to cover and protect the nest. 

Sometimes custom framing is more "custom" than "framing". Have an odd object you'd like displayed and protected? We can help! View this gallery of interesting things we have had to contend with and please challenge us!!

Knotty and Nice: Reclaimed Wood Frames

Urban Ashes Frame Collection

Urban Ashes Frame Collection

We pride ourselves on our large selection of elegant, Italian-made frames. But sometimes, something a little different is called for. Like the Urban Ashes line of frames made in Detroit, Michigan.

Urban Ashes is the brainchild of furniture designer Paul Hickman, who in 2008 noticed a great deal of homes and trees falling victim to blight - both the urban blight of depressed Detroit and the blight of the Emerald Ash Borer bug wreaking havoc on local trees. Inspired  to create a product that would utilize the multitude of waste trees and lumber in his community, Paul created these beautiful frames.

Knotty and nice!

Knotty and nice!

The collection features frames made from Ash trees felled by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, as well as various other hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple, and pine that for one reason or another would normally be discarded as waste wood. We’re particularly excited by the frames made from timber reclaimed from old Detroit homes and buildings. Each frame has unique characteristics like knots and nail holes that speak to the history and former purpose of the wood. All the frames are assembled from pieces chosen for character and finished with hand-rubbed, petroleum-free finishes.

A ketubah framed with an Urban Ashes knotty pine.

A ketubah framed with an Urban Ashes knotty pine.

Come in to see the selection and frame your special something with a locally-sourced, hand-made reclaimed product. To learn more about Urban Ashes, check out this news story.


A Year in Imaging

A little over a year ago, Artists Frame Service added digital imaging services to complement our legendary custom framing. Let's have a little chat with our resident Master Printer (The Wiz) to find out how it's going...

the wiz... contemplating

the wiz... contemplating

How does printing fit into the normal Artists Frame Service offerings?

Being able to print art as well as frame it is an amazingly synergistic (did I seriously just use the word "synergistic"? ugh) situation. Since places like Wolf are gone, there just aren't many places left in Chicago to get a high-quality photo printed. We're happy to be able to fill that void and to bring our same attention to detail and service to printing.

What kinds of projects are people bringing you for printing?

We get a lot of candid snapshots from special events like weddings and parties, and a lot of vintage family photographs that need to be scanned and reprinted for sharing. We also get a small but growing number of artists who want digital versions of their original artworks to be able to offer editions of prints in addition to originals.

What's the most challenging project someone has brought you over the past year?

I'm not sure if it was the most challenging, but we recently did some work that I think turned out real well. A customer brought us this teeny tiny oval antique family portrait that is about 60 years old. It was very cracked, brittle, and precious. We took a hi-resolution scan of it and were able to retouch and recreate a lot of the missing information. We then reprinted the image slightly larger and in multiple copies to share among the family. 

Before and after

Before and after


What kinds of projects do you like working on the most?

I may sound like a bit of a broken record here, but it's pretty magical to return a damaged image to a state where you can see the actual content and not just all the damage it's suffered. Or to take faded, discolored, barely legible vintage photos and restore information that's barely there and that would otherwise be lost.

 Conversely, I also enjoy removing people, stray electric lines, etc. from snapshots.

severe water damage, before and after

severe water damage, before and after

How long does a project like this take?

Scanning and color correcting or retouching usually adds just a few days onto our regular framing turn-around. 

What should people do if they have something at home they want scanned or printed? 

They should bring it in anytime and meet with one of our framing consultants to discuss. Or they can upload directly from this website here. Someone will be in touch to discuss how we can help.