Earth Day Environmentally Thoughtful Framing

Every year as Earth Day rolls around, we’re reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting the planet. For most of us, our best contribution towards that effort is to be conscious in the daily choices we make in our own lives - from the household materials we use to the kind of cars we drive. And of course, that same consciousness can apply to custom framing choices as well.

So in celebration of Earth Day this April 22, we’re rounding up a few of our favorite environmentally thoughtful custom framing options.

WOOD

Wood in and of itself is a biodegradable and renewable product but there are choices when it comes to the type of wood, from reclaimed wood frames to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. With many of our lines imported exclusively from Europe, the European Union is progressive in its requirements to comply with responsible harvesting of forests and restrictions on the use of harmful chemicals for stains and finishes.

There’s also the option of wood veneers - like our new Renzo line. Wood veneers are eco-friendly in that it uses less tree to wrap a moulding in a thin layer of walnut veneer than it does solid walnut. 

RECLAIMED WOOD

Reclaimed wood is a great choice as it reuses and repurposes materials. In the store, we carry thousands of options in natural and reclaimed woods - like the Urban Ashes line out of Detroit. This line features frames made from fallen emerald ash bore trees, as well as various other salvaged hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple and pine that for one reason or another would normally be discarded as waste.

BAMBOO

Somewhat similar in appearance to wood frames, bamboo is actually the fastest growing plant on the planet. Its short growth cycle makes it an enduring natural resource and infinitely renewable. Our new Bambu line is an eco-friendly collection milled from bamboo plywood offered in nine water-based colors. It looks terrific on Japanese prints, travel photography, kids’ masterpieces and abstract art. 

ALUMINUM + STEEL

Believe it or not, aluminum is actually the #1 most eco-friendly moulding one can choose. Once the metal is smelted, it becomes both recyclable and 100% archival. It is also a sturdy, high quality choice guaranteed to last.

Similar to aluminum, steel has no “memory” and thus is very easily recycled. While usually considered an industrial look for modern art and photography, we often recommend a steel frame for wedding photography and ketubahs. These frames really reflect the idea of permanence and a welded bond for life.

COTTON MATBOARDS

Cotton is naturally free of any chemicals or pollutants and is also an annually renewable resource. It is both biodegradable and recyclable making it very environmentally friendly.

Like you, we’ve made choices in how we run things at Artists Frame Service to do our part too. We recycle all our glass and scraps. We reuse overstock mouldings to reduce waste. Not to mention our inter-office recycling of paper, shipping and receiving materials and outdated computer equipment. 

Want to learn more about our eco-friendly framing options and choices? Get in touch with us - we’d love to walk you through it. And if you’re looking for ways to get out and make a difference this Earth Day in Chicago, check out the plethora of free events throughout the city here.

Gearing Up For Cubs Opening Day

The Chicago Cubs are opening the 2017 season for the first time in a century as World Series Champions. Read it again if you’re still in disbelief. We’ve framed a ton of Cubs stuff (ok, maybe more in the last year than in prior years) and sports memorabilia over the last 40 years. So we’ve got no shortage of ideas on how to commemorate what is hopefully the start to another amazing season. 

First Base

A classic, tried and true tribute - you can always frame your favorite player’s jersey or tickets from that special game. It’s a perfect gift for the Cubbie fanatic in your life or as a backdrop in your basement, den, home office - or wherever it is you kick back and root the Cubs on to victory.  

RBI Double

Framing three dimensional items, like these series of vintage baseball gloves below, is always a fun challenge for our framers. Bring in any of your favorite Wrigley Field keepsakes, from baseballs to beer mugs to bats and we’ll help you preserve it forever. 

Homerun

Knock it out of the park by framing your entire Cubs experience - from the tickets to the ball to photos from the game. Whether you witnessed a historic win or just had an unforgettable outing with the family, we can commemorate the entire day to help you cherish the memory forever.  

Win Two Tickets To The Cubs’ Home Opener

Framing is all about celebrating memories and last year’s Cubs season was one of the most memorable in history. In that spirit, we’re kicking off the 2017 season with a special giveaway. Follow and tag @artistsframe in your favorite Cubs memories on Instagram, now through April 2, and one lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a pair of tickets to the Cubs home opener against the Dodgers on April 10th.* We’re ready to fly the W. Are you?

And if you’re still celebrating last year’s historic World Series win, you’re not alone. We still have our $199 Cubs front page specials available. Or get in touch and let us know what blue and red items you’re thinking of framing - we’d love to help.

*Limit three entries per person. Must be in the Chicagoland area and able to pick up tickets in person at the Lincoln Park showroom. Official Rules. 

Frame It: Picture Ledges

Bold statement: picture ledges are the new gallery walls. Why? Because they offer the same drama of a gallery wall with the ability to layer, change and swap out artwork to your heart’s content. Available in a wide range of styles and materials to complement any decor (you can even make them yourself), picture ledges or rails offer an elegant, cohesive look that add a ton of creative beauty to any room.

In fact, we’ve been so inspired by picture ledges at Artists Frame Service that we’ve devoted an entire Pinterest board to them. If you’re not sure where to start or simply want to be awed by the options, we’re pulling out a few of our favorites to get your creative juices flowing.

Think outside the living room. Picture ledges offer an opportunity to incorporate art into any room in the house. We happen to find them incredibly interesting displayed in kitchens and bathrooms. We also love the incorporation of other objects and finds, from vintage candlesticks to greenery.

Image via thedesignfiles.net

Go monochromatic. Whether it’s a series of black and white family photos or a collection of art all in the same palette, a monochromatic look offers symmetry and visual interest in any room.

Or mix it up. Layer in different types of art, mediums, frame colors and sizes for an eclectic mix. Don’t worry about “the rules” - the rule is if you love it, you’ll be happy with it.

Turn the corner. Don’t just think linear. Picture ledges can turn an awkward corner of any room into a piece of art - literally.

Image via countryliving.com

Make the functional beautiful. Have a messy entry area full of coats, shoes and bags? No problem. Make it look creatively collected and purposeful by adding some art to the space. 

Image via cupofjo.com

Image via cupofjo.com

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want even more creative ideas and inspirational images, take a look through our Picture Ledges Pinterest board. When you’re ready to build yours, let us know - we’d love to help.

Frame It: Five Things To Know About Conservation Framing

conservation

So you have something valuable to frame? Whether it’s historical, collectible or sentimental, it’s often said the best way to preserve your art is to keep it wrapped flat in acid free materials and stored in a dark place. 

But that’s no way for you or your artwork to live. Conservation framing is a term used to describe methods and materials used to ensure the object being framed is protected from harmful environmental factors. Below, we’ll walk you through five key things you need to know about this special process. 

1. You may want a tan, but your art doesn’t. Glass selection is incredibly important in preservation framing as you need a glazing that filters out harmful UV rays. UV acrylic is another great option for larger pieces or when you’ll be displaying the piece in a high traffic or public area. UV coated materials are also available with anti-reflective coatings so you’ll only see the beautiful work, not a distracting glare. 

2. What is old can be new again. Before you frame, you’ll want to give older pieces new life by allowing a professional restorer to treat it. From canvases and paper to textiles and photographs, an expert conservationist can repair signs of age and wear and tear. 

3. Materials matter. All conservation framing should use archival materials. From 100% acid free cotton rag mat boards to alkaline buffered wood pulp, the materials used are the first line of defense against potential damage.

4. Design for the artwork, not for the room. If this is something you intend to keep forever and even pass down generations, this is especially crucial. Your framer should help you consider the room’s decor, but ultimately design to what works best for the art itself. 

5. Most importantly, trust matters. There are so many nuances and evolving techniques when it comes to conservation framing. So perhaps the most important thing to know is that you need to put your trust in a seasoned framer to guide you through the process - from how to hinge properly to selecting the right backing to ensuring that any process used is reversible.

Our framing consultants have art backgrounds and an average of ten years of experience in the industry. This isn't a job to them, it's a profession and a passion.

Here’s just a few of the items we’ve been fortunate enough to help preserve forever: 

Have something you want to preserve? Let us know, we’d love to help.