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. 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Own Home Gallery

Designing a Gallery Wall
A smart grouping of frames brings personality to any room. Whether you choose a grid, a playful rhythm, or a more organic arrangement, you’ll be able to showcase photos and artwork easily by using these layout tips and visuals.


Tips To Create a Gallery Wall

  • Mixing new and old family portraits adds interest.

  • Mixing black and white with color photography is definitely allowed.

  • Consider including prints or illustrations that enhance family memories.

  • Mixing similar frames is more interesting than all the same. Uniformity is not mandatory. Repetition is nice. 

  • Lay out all the frames on the floor to find the configuration that works best or map out the installation on your wall by taping up brown paper cut to the size of your frames. 

  • Place a larger frame in the center of your arrangement to create a focal point.

  • For an ordered installation, line up all your frames by the outside edge.


Grid Arrangements
The easiest way to fill a wall — from four frames to a dozen or more, this design always makes a strong arrangement.

the simple grid

the simple grid

QUICK TIP: Having the space between every frame the same thickness of the frame itself creates a feeling of consistency.


Offsetting Your Grid
This arrangement balances a feeling of movement with symmetry, and it is easy to build on over time.

the offset grid

the offset grid

QUICK TIP: Using only two frame sizes makes it easy to create a pattern simply by flipping the top and bottom frames.


Organic Arrangements
These layouts invite eclectic mixing of sizes, frame, and styles. This works well for both large and small spaces.

THE simple organic 

THE simple organic 


the line up: an organic grid aligned alonng one axis.

the line up:
an organic grid aligned alonng one axis.


THE BLOCK:  an organic style grid, all outside aligned

THE BLOCK: 
an organic style grid, all outside aligned

QUICK TIP: For organic arrangements, align the frame edges along a vertical or horizontal axis to look deliberate, not messy.

For more inspiration and ideas, visit our Pintrest Gallery


ONE STOP GALLERY WALL SHOPPING
Artists Frame Service carries a selection of ready-made off-the-shelf frames designed for gallery wall success. Most are available with UV glass and archival matting. We can also scan, enlarge and print your family photos.

SIZE RANGE:
4x6, 5x5, 5x7, 8x8, 8x10, 11x11, 11x14, 12x15, 11x20, 16x20

PRICE RANGE:
$7 – $148

Putting the "artist" in Artists Frame Service

Generally, the art that comes across our doorstep is complete and ready for framing.

But then there are the special cases that need a little TLC....

Challenge: How to frame a puzzle that's missing some pieces?

Challenge: How to frame a puzzle that's missing some pieces?

Our customer received this puzzle as a gift from her grandchildren. She put it together and carefully transported it on a flat board to our store. Unfortunately, the hawk was blowing that day. A little windy city bluster caught the board and sent puzzle pieces flying down Clybourn Avenue. She was able to find and collect the vast majority but there were several escapees.

The customer was puzzled as to how to save her project, but this became a fun challenge for our fine artists on staff. The existing puzzle pieces were glued down and then missing areas were hand- painted to match. You have to look mighty close to find the pieces that are not quite like the others.

Every piece in it's place!

Every piece in it's place!

Painting in the missing areas by hand.

Painting in the missing areas by hand.

can you tell which piece is painted?

can you tell which piece is painted?

We are a staff of artists, not just framing clerks. This is a fine example of how we put the "artist" in Artists Frame Service. An artist can solve problems creatively and help complete the picture....one puzzle piece or one frame at a time.