Acanthus and Reed

Contact & Showroom

It Happens Every Year

It begins in early spring with buds that promise summer will soon arrive. By June the chlorophyllic leaves are fully engaged in their photosynthetic chores; and then, in less and less time with every passing year, the shorter days of autumn remind the trees to start getting ready for winter. The chlorophyll disappears and viridis gives way to an explosion of yellow and red, orange and purple.

Autmun Leaves

The trees that surround us do more than produce this spectacular display each fall; they inform much of our very existence. Trees generate oxygen, provide shade, and literally put a roof over our heads. A finite resource we must always remember to replace as we use them, trees can be milled and assembled into everything from housing to, you guessed it, picture frames. Peel away the layers of gold leaf and gesso from an old Tuscan frame and you'll likely find the remnants of a 16th century Italian beech tree. What will future generations find when they peel away the layers of our contemporary picture frames?

Lately I've been railing against reproductions of the same bad reproductions my industry produced for your grandmother's grandmother. Silly little moldings that can not shoulder the burden they are intended for nor add the expected aesthetic flourish. Undersized and poorly finished, these molding are the scourge of modern day picture framing; and yet, walk into any frame shop and you will see hundreds of these hideous anachronistic samples on the wall. What's a forward looking picture framer supposed to do? To paraphrase the words of Graham Nash, "teach your children well" old fashioned frames did slowly go by!

An unexpected benefit of the today's economic climate is a renewed understanding of how important the next generation is to the growth of any business. I am lucky to have the oportunity to explain the importance of good design and archival framing to a new generation of art lovers and collectors. When a young cardiologist comes in with her medical degree looking for a traditional black and gold diploma frame, I love showing off the elegant simplicity of a naturally finished Walnut or Mahogany frame.

Eliot Porter Photograph "Apples, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine"

"Apples, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine"

Eliot Porter - Dye Transfer print - Padauk frame


We mill our wood frames with clean crisp lines that reflect modern architecture and interior design. They come in flavors as varied as autumn leaves. Ash, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany and specialty woods like Rosewood, Padauk and Wenge are only part of the selection. Add a little stain and lacquer and the options of tone and texture are endless. Why would anyone want to use a bad reproduction on a new print or photograph when a real wood frame is a more honest partner for the art?

Of course, if you have a 19th century watercolor or etching, a custom made reproduction drawing frame in a classic finish is the preferred choice; however, if the correct period frame is not in your budget, don't settle for a prefinished cookie cutter molding. Keep it simple and pair your artwork with an archival mat and a natural wood frame. The point is, for little more than the price of an ersatz knock off, you can have a custom made wood frame you'll be proud to hang on your wall. Beautifully finished and properly proportioned, a natural wood frame will stand the test of time and give future generations something to appreciate and admire.


back to the blog page