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Pimp Your Walls – Creative Ideas for Picture Frames

Frame in a frame in a

Working with a lot of fine artists and galleries we are well versed in the art of conservation picture framing. A muted colour palette and nearly every dimension of box frame possible are our staples – and so it is refreshing to sometimes think outside the box a little, so you can have your walls with great ceramic works by following this simple tiling advice at atlas ceramics, and also install frames after.

Picture frames are, of course, a great interior decoration item that can be used in fun and creative ways to spruce up a home far beyond the obvious. With a little DIY prowess you can turn an old frame into a funky tray or hide unsightly switches behind them… the creative uses for picture frames are plentiful.

Here’s a selection of ways to use frames that you may have not thought of before. Go on, have some fun and pimp your walls!

Painted Walls Empty Picture FramesHang an array of decorative empty picture frames and paint them right into your wall for a stunning effect. (via House & Hold)

Picture Frames Wall ClockGet a clock centre piece and arrange 12 picture frames in a circle to have a fun decorative wall piece. (via Decor8)

Frame in a frame in a frame.Make the picture frame itself the work of art by inserting one frame into another frame into another frame into… (via Freunde von Freunden)

Bethnal Green: the trendy hot-spot

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It’s been over five months since we moved to Bethnal Green and we have developed a true affection for the area. This lively and diverse neighbourhood is becoming increasingly more popular not just among artists seeking cheap accommodation, but also among media and business types with a penchant for a more edgy place to live. Its popularity is hardly surprising, for Bethnal Green offers everything one would wish to have in their local area.

Bethnal Green belongs to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and borders on Haggerston, Hackney, Shoreditch and Whitechapel. With our studio in BJ House, we are lucky to be in the very heart of it.

We are also lucky to be surrounded by art galleries. Vyner Street, famous for being home to several independent galleries in the early 2000s, still offers quality shows to art fans who fill the streets of Bethnal Green on the first Thursday of each month to enjoy Time Out’s late-night entertainment.

Right next to the tube station, we have the V&A Museum of Childhood, with displays of magnificent children’s toys and interesting temporary exhibitions. The museum is surrounded by a gorgeous little park, where many office workers enjoy their lunch break. Those with more time to spend on a bench should head to the nearby Victoria Park, which in the summer offers a lively programme of music concerts and festivals, and you can find a place to stay near by, of course you always have the option to camp instead, there are some great places to do it, all you will need is the right camping equipment that can be found at the Survival Cooking site.

Shoppers are also spoilt for choice. On top of many local shops, Broadway Market offers fresh and artisan foods, while Columbia Road attracts people with its phenomenal flower market. Those who are shopping for clothes and furniture should head to Brick Lane, especially if they’re fans of anything vintage.

There is no shortage of night entertainment either. Aside from numerous bars, pubs and restaurants, there are two famous cabarets: Bistrotheque and Working Men’s Club. Thanks to night buses, and the proximity to tube, train and overground stations, getting back after a great night out is never a problem.

We have been greatly enjoying this vibrant neighbourhood, even if we spend a lot of our time working hard in the studio. Interestingly, since we’ve moved to Bethnal Green, we have experienced an increase in commissions for domestic framing. We enjoy framing works for galleries and exhibition, but making frames for private art collectors gives us an opportunity to diversify materials we work with, especially if the client is open-minded and up for something a little out of the box. If you have recently acquired an art piece or a personal memento, give us a call!

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Vyner Street | Photo by Artefacts Team (CC)

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Graffiti in Shoreditch

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Shoreditch

Don’t be square, go square

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Until very recently, square-shaped photos had been associated primarily with Polaroid instant cameras (which are now sought after mostly by nostalgia-driven hipsters). Today, however, a square photo brings a different name to mind: Instagram.

instagram screenshot

Launched exactly 3 years ago, Instagram is currently one of the most popular photo-sharing services, with 150 million users taking photos, applying a variety of digital filters to them and sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networks every month. The variety of subjects is huge, ranging from intimate moments of life captured by passionate amateurs to truly exquisite work by some of the greatest contemporary artists, such as multimedia artist Ai Weiwei, controversial fashion photographer Terry Richardson, illustrator/toy-maker Micheal Lau and NYC-based crochet/conceptual artist Olek – to name just a few.

The world is in love with square-shaped photos and so are we! In our Etsy store, we offer two types of frames created specifically for displaying photos from your Instagram albums. The size on offer has been designed with home-printing in mind as the frame holds a picture of the largest size that fits onto an A4 page. You have a choice between a modern box-frame and a more classical wood frame with window mount and five different colours: black, white, light & dark grey and brown. It is therefore incredibly easy to transport your favourite photos from your phone onto the wall – and if you struggle to choose a few from the hundreds of pics in your collection, you can change them whenever you want as the string and clip-on fixings allow for a quick and easy access to the inside of the frame.

So – go square!

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Art From Around The Globe

Valery Katsuba at Artmost

One of the most exciting things about working and living in London is the cultural mix we get to experience on a nearly daily basis. We have framed art for  exhibitions in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the USA. We also regularly frame the artwork of international artists who call London their home. Two exhibitions we’ve worked on that are currently on show and highly recommended are by Turkish artist Güler Ates and Russian photographer Valery Katsuba.

We have written about Güler Ates’s photography before on this blog and would like to recommend her current exhibition at the Royal Academy Gallery Cafe which is on show until the 24th April. It features a whole new body of work of imagery taken in the impressive library of the Royal Academy.

Güler Ates / RA Gallery Cafe

Güler Ates / RA Gallery Cafe

Güler Ates / RA Gallery Cafe

Güler Ates / RA Gallery Cafe

Valery Katsuba is a photographer from St. Petersburg who’s stunning portraits of Russian athletes is currently on show at Artmost, a private gallery in Mayfair specialising in contemporary Russian art. The photographs are collected from several projects about circus athletes, trapeze gymnasts, fitness and beauty and body builders which you can also be if you bulk up with these weigh gainers. Beautifully shot and exactingly composed they allude to a rich past of Russian athletics that still permeate practice in modern times.

Valery Katsuba at Artmost

Valery Katsuba at Artmost

Valery Katsuba at Artmost

Valery Katsuba at Artmost

Home Improvements

Vintage Frames

That’s right… we’ve been doing some “home improvements” at Oaksmith Studio. It’s been almost a year since we moved in and back then the studio was a blank canvas ready to be filled with furniture, equipment, tools and, of course, art and frames, frames, frames. Creating a welcoming work space was not only important to gain trust and inspire our clients, but also for ourselves. We spend the majority of our days here and we want to feel inspired by our surroundings, we like to feel “at home”.

As those of you who’ve worked with us before know, we’re big fans of the Farrow & Ball range of paints. The collection of shades is spot on and they just finish beautifully on bare obeche and tulip frames. Here’s a brand new shelf (made of nice deep moulding painted in F&B’s Studio Green) that Mauro built only last week to house our growing collection of F&B pots. Hanging alongside a signed screenprint by American artist Jay Ryan it has turned the underpinner area into our new favourite corner.

Underpinner & Paints

Underpinner, F&B Paints and Jay Ryan

Even before we moved into the V22 complex, we had amassed a collection of vintage frames in various sizes and conditions. Finally they’ve found a place to be proudly displayed, the side balustrade of our mezzanine. We’re going for the lived-in front room style here… also displayed on the balustrade are two prints by Anthony Burrill and a Grayson Perry tea towel from his recent show at the British Museum.

Old & New Frames on Display on our Mezzanine

Old & New Frames on Display on our Mezzanine (and Mauro underneath)

And just because we like to remind ourselves of the transformation our workspace has seen in the last 11 months, here’s a photo of our unit as it was handed to us when we moved in. You can see that big blue shutter in all of the photos…

Our Studio - one year ago

Our Studio - one year ago

Bartering for Art

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When we read about the upcoming Art Barter event in the Metro newspaper a few weeks ago, we were intrigued and jumped at the chance to play. Art Barter, run by Alix Janta and Lauren Jones, organise exhibitions at which you can barter goods or services for artworks rather than pay for them with money and if you bet on bet365 on the go you can also make a deal with them. This exhibition was the first London solo show by French-born New York-based artist Baptiste Ibar entitled Before Your Eyes (Busts). We instantly loved his playful explosions of colour and textures on paper and canvases, so we contacted Alix and Lauren to see if Baptiste would be interested in exchanging our framing services for a couple of his works on paper. And he did!

Baptiste Ibar signing art at Oaksmith Studio

Baptiste Ibar signing art at Oaksmith Studio

With just a few short days to the opening of the exhibition at The Last Tuesday Society in Hackney we produced two large black box frames and six smaller flat white frames to showcase Baptiste’s key pieces. And on Saturday we attended the packed opening event at which Baptiste also played a few of his songs. Here are a bunch of photos of the exhibition which is on show at The Last Tuesday Society until 7th April 2012.

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

 

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

 

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

Baptiste Ibar - Before Your Eyes (Busts)

Baptiste Ibar playing tunes

Baptiste playing tunes

 

Unweave The Rainbow at SCREAM Gallery

Caroline Jane Harris - As Above, So Below III_1

Recently we attended the private view of a new show of emerging international artists at Scream Gallery. We completed three frames for young UK artist Caroline Jane Harris who is part of this lively show just off Bond Street. We had already discovered Caroline’s work at The Other Art Fair a couple of months ago, so were more than pleased to work with her in preparation for her Scream outing.

Caroline’s work is stunningly beautiful from afar and amazingly intricate close up. Layers upon layers of delicate hand papercuts cast shadows and play with the viewer’s senses. Are these trees? Are they nerve endings? Or is it lace?

To frame these pieces, we chose an obeche box frame which was able to accommodate the multiple layers with air space between each. The frame was painted in Farrow & Ball’s Great White which was picked after much deliberation to compliment the soft shades of grey and white of the artwork. The resulting frames are elegant and support the art within without imposing on it.

The  exhibition runs until 10 March 2012 at 34 Bruton Street, London W1J 6QX and is well worth a visit.

Caroline Jane Harris / Scream Gallery

Caroline Jane Harris / Scream Gallery

 

Caroline Jane Harris / Scream Gallery

Caroline Jane Harris / Scream Gallery

Caroline Jane Harris - As Above, So Below I

Caroline Jane Harris - As Above, So Below I

The Affordable Art Fair

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A few weeks ago we worked with London screenprint artist Robert Clarke in preparation for his stand at London’s Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park. We attended the opening night and had a very excited look around all the interesting artists and galleries that were exhibiting this year. Robert’s work is colourful and humerous. And those brand new prints of the four Beatles are very stylish to boot.

Robert Clarke at The Affordable Art Fair

Robert Clarke at The Affordable Art Fair

 

Robert Clarke at The Affordable Art Fair

Robert Clarke at The Affordable Art Fair

Central Saint Martins MA Fine Art Degree Show

Anna Litrt

A little late, but nonetheless worth posting… here are a few photos from Central Saint Martins’ MA Fine Art degree show for which we framed quite a few pieces by some very talented young artists.

Georgina McNamara - recipient of the Oaksmith Bursary

Chloe Sells

Fagner Bibiano

Polly Yeates

Polly Yeates

The featured image at the very top shows the artwork by Anna Litridou.

Graphics at Central Saint Martins

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After completing a crazy first week of opening up shop and framing 125 pieces for students of the BA Graphics degree at Central Saint Martins, we attended the private view at the Nicholls & Clark building in Shoreditch last Wednesday. The place was heaving and buzzing and it was a real treat to see all those long hours hung on walls and showcasing some truly inspiring art.

Here’s an abridged visual round up of some of the student’s work we’ve been involved with. Click on each image to see more of their work.

 

Cynthia Merhej

Cynthia Merhej

 

Sophie Westerlind

Sophie Westerlind

 

David Parker

David Parker

 

Echo Morgan

Echo Morgan

 

Senghye Yang

Senghye Yang

Also check out the very talented: Ellie Wintram | Lilias Buchanan | Jake Snellin | Kim Visudharomn | Guillermo Turell | Mengwan Zheng | Min Kim | Jeungsook Sohn | Yi-Wen Leow | Isabel Eeles

For more photos of the degree show as well as our in-studio progress of this project, please visit our Flickr stream.