Friday, November 25, 2016

Get Creative with Personalized Framed Gifts

It’s almost that time of year again: The time when we get to show our love and affection for friends and family with thoughtful gifts. If you’re looking for alternatives to the tired gift cards you usually pass from person to person around the holidays, your friends here at American Frame have good news.

The perfect gift is one that’s unique, lasting, and meaningful. Homemade gifts are great options, but they often end up being too time-consuming to squeeze into the already-packed holiday season.

Never fear — the professionals at American Frame are here to make creating personalized, heartfelt gifts quick and easy. Here are a few ideas for how to capture your memories with loved ones and turn them into keepsakes they’ll treasure forever:

  1. A framed memento is a fun and unique alternative to a framed photo. Try framing a particularly meaningful poem or maybe an old family recipe to bring warmth to a kitchen. Adding a framed wedding or baby shower invitation can be a creative addition to the photos from the event itself that someone may already have framed, or it can stand alone as a hallmark of a wonderful memory.


  2. Frame a jersey for the sports fan or athlete in your life! This is the perfect decoration for the den or basement where everybody gathers to watch big games. Our Jersey Display Case makes it quick and easy — and it’s 30% off for a limited time! Plus, it’ll keep a collectable jersey safe from wear and tear.
  3. Put a special record in a frame to give a musical gift in a creative way. Maybe a couple you know would like a framed copy of the record that includes their “first dance” song. Or, for the music collector in your life, a beautifully, safely stored record or CD in mint condition is a lovely decoration.
  4. Create a shadowbox to showcase three-dimensional items for a unique keepsake. We’ve already walked you through framing guitar picks, but this method works for all kinds of objects. Get creative and you’ll end up with an art piece that nobody could buy in a store.

  5. Elevate your Instagram photos with specially designed frames. Those memories don’t just have to stay online where they’ll eventually get buried by newer ones. These real-life snapshots can feel fresh and personal in a way that professional portraits don’t.

  6. Create a collage to showcase a complete memory from all angles! Our collage frames make it easy to bring different photos together without sacrificing quality or style. A collage can showcase many photos from the same event or day, or it can show the passage of time with a collection of photos spanning years.

  7. Use a tabletop frame to showcase an extra special image or as a gift for someone with limited wall space. Tabletop frames can stand up on their own because of their depth and are available in so many sizes and colors, you’re bound to find the perfect frame! If you need an idea to get started, take a look at the brand-new Metallics collection for on-trend wood tabletop frames!

  8. Children’s art makes a fun and whimsical decoration when highlighted with a nice frame! Our colorful metal frames bring playful crayon art to life and make lovely gifts for parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles, and teachers.

Make sure your gift is as special as the person you’re giving it to. Our DIY framing kits make personalized keepsakes easy. All you provide are the memories!

If you create something inspired by these ideas, we’d love to see it! Share the result with us on social media using the hashtag #FramingHappiness

Need help finding the perfect frame for your gift? American Frame is the go-to source for learning how to custom frame photography, art, canvases, and memorabilia. Contact us for guidance on the best way to frame your gifts this year.


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Is the Best American Holiday — Even When It’s Unpredictable

To me, this is the greatest American holiday: I absolutely love Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving with our friends, the McCurrens
It’s the one day that binds our heritage with a focus on gratitude; a ritual opportunity to pause as a nation and celebrate our love for one another and how lucky we are to live in this great country.

Typically, Thanksgiving in our household is somewhat unpredictable. I never really know — until the very last minute — who might be joining us or how many friends (and pets) they’ll bring. I rarely know if I’ll have enough space to seat whomever will decide to show up, whether it’ll be a low-key event, or if the party might continue into the next morning.

The McCurren boys and their “pre-feast pass-out”
What I do know is that my family and I are fortunate to always have more than enough food and drink to entertain for that day … and at least a few thereafter. Believe me, having come from a clan that started with nothing but an idea and a strong work ethic, I always appreciate the simple pleasures of plentiful food, good wine, and a safe, comfortable, and beautiful home.

Little Fiona bossing our dog Louie
Michaela brought me flowers!
My dad often remarks that “Only in America can a poor boy from the north end of Toledo take a risk, work hard, and build a self-sustaining successful business.” How lucky we are! And who would’ve guessed?

This year should be especially unpredictable. My husband — the one who cooks on Thanksgiving from start to finish — literally just had his hip replaced two days ago! In his case, it’s the price of lifelong running and high school contact sports. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same? While surgery is never fun, we’re grateful it’s only a hip as opposed to disease and he should be up and about within less than a week.

The men and the customary turkey carving
Then our daughter Dana and her new husband Josh are expecting their first child around the same time. What if it happens that day? Fine by me! Some may be stressed, but I’ll happily call a “babysitter” for my husband, escape dinner, and spend the evening in the hospital to greet the new baby!

Why am I writing this and who cares?

Here is my point: It doesn’t matter. It’s Thanksgiving! No one is expecting a gift. Nobody will feel slighted if I can’t uphold our traditions. We’re lucky. And if you’re reading this, my guess is you’re lucky too. No matter what you’ve faced this year — the good, the challenging, the life-changing, the tragic, and even the innocuous — on this day, it’s gratitude that binds us. It’s part of our national identity and makes me proud to be an American.

My family all together is what matters most to me!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from my family to yours,

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Share a photo of your holiday custom — or a non-traditional celebration you’ve enjoyed — with us on social media using the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Friday, November 18, 2016

American Frame Joins Forces with Carbonite to Secure Digital Image Files

Seventy percent of the professional photographers and artists who do business with us do not back up their digital images. As a result, we partnered with industry-leading Carbonite to protect our customers’ valued work.


Our goal is to help our customers secure their digital imagery. Digital images, like anything else on your computer, are vulnerable to a crash or virus attack. Many of our customers are serious art enthusiasts who spend hours taking and refining their photos for both personal pleasure and professional resale, so we’re going to give them the opportunity to protect their investment.

At American Frame, a leader in the do-it-yourself framing industry, we work to anticipate growing and changing market demands.

Carbonite is the leader in providing cloud-based backup and restore solutions to the health and financial industry. We knew it would be a natural fit for them to protect the valuable data of our creative community easily and economically.

Our statistics mirror national numbers about storing valuable memories in a secure environment online. The most recent Pew Research Center study found that only 37% of internet users store photos online. However, a Future of the Internet report found that an overwhelming number of people agreed with the statement, “Most people will be storing and working in a secure cloud-based environment by 2020.”

Carbonite protects millions of devices and their valuable data for individuals as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

“At Carbonite, we recognize that photographers, artists, and other creative professionals consider data the lifeblood of their business,” says Carbonite Senior Vice President Norman Guadagno. “We are proud of our partnership with American Frame, which ensures that creative professionals have peace of mind that digital assets are secure and available.”

Learn more about Carbonite protection and the relationship between Carbonite and American Frame.

 

Do you back up your work? Let us know how you protect your photos and digital artwork on social media with the hashtag #FramingHappiness.


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meet the ‘Bearded Ladies’

The Bearded Lady Project started out as a joke.

Today, its creators are well on their way to a feature-length live-action documentary and a touring art display portrait series, the proceeds of which will go toward a scholarship to support future women scientists. But when Dr. Ellen Currano, University of Wyoming paleontologist, and Lexi Jamieson Marsh, founder of On Your Feet Entertainment, were having dinner in April 2014, the idea of wearing a fake beard while doing field work started out as a lighthearted response to a heavy issue.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Looking the part

"You can imagine how shocking and demoralizing it was to hear Ellen even suggest — let alone state — how difficult it was to gain respect in her field for the simple fact that she’s a woman," Marsh says.

The two women joked.

"The only way to gain respect as a field scientist would be to put on a beard!"
Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

The more Marsh thought about it, the better an idea it seemed.

Marsh and Currano teamed up with Kelsey Vance, fine art photographer, and began reaching out to women paleontologists to find those willing to don beards for the sake of an art project with a message.

"All of the women who have participated in this project have been an inspiration," Marsh says. "I love reviewing their interviews, finding the common ground as well as where they differ. Being a successful woman can mean so many different things."

Completing the picture

The team previewed the first eighteen portraits from The Bearded Lady Project at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver. Making sure they were displayed properly was a top priority. Vance, who previously worked with American Frame, knew we would be able to bring the right professional finish to the portraits.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"The ability to customize every aspect of the frame was very important," Marsh says. "We were working with large portraits, so to have the ability to decide the size, color, and wood type was very appealing."

And with their small team, the fact that they could have the frames shipped to them and just drop the pictures in themselves was a big bonus.

Each portrait is a 24- by-30-inch black and white photograph, and it was important to the Bearded Lady team that the framing match the organic feel of the work. Choosing maple for their custom frames was just the thing.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"They were a wonderful balance of warmth to bring out the dark colors in the images," Marsh says. "We were beyond thrilled with the end results."

More than bearded ladies

For the Bearded Lady team, American Frame professional custom frames made the difference when it came to people taking the project seriously.

"Yes, we’re putting fake beards on female paleontologists," Marsh explains, "but there is a deeper problem we’re confronting. These portraits are really beautiful pieces of art, and the frames quite literally complete the picture."

Marsh says that the frame choice was driven primarily by focusing on the story they wanted to tell with their images.

"Our portraits were photographed to replicate the historical pictures of paleontologists past," she says. "We wanted something very natural that would not necessarily take focus from the portraits but would complement them."

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

And of course, if you aren’t sure what sort of frames would best complement your images, our experts are happy to offer guidance. We also proposed a winning solution to The Bearded Lady Project team’s slightly more challenging task of deciding how to frame the smaller, full-color images that were included in the show as well.

Not only was the response to the first eighteen portraits extremely positive but The Bearded Lady Project team has also since received multiple requests from museums interested in hosting the full exhibition when it’s complete in early 2017.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"I can’t even begin to describe how much of an impact American Frame made on our project," Marsh says. "To partner with such a great company was a dream come true."

Looking for the perfect frames to complete your images? Check out the great selection of metal and wood frames from American Frame, including these on-sale offerings!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fayum Portraits Are the Original Picture Frames

Frames have existed since the second century B.C. The first “frames” were lines artists drew around Etruscan wall paintings and those around Egyptian portraits of the dead painted on wood. These paintings, known as Fayum mummy portraits, have wooden and fabric frames around them. Archaeologists and scholars speculate they were displayed in the households of the deceased before being placed on the mummies.


Fayum portraits are considered the oldest modernist paintings and the origins of framed art. Artists created images of the deceased using a technique known as encaustic painting, which consisted of using colored pigment mixed with heated beeswax. The portraits would sometimes extend onto the cloth wrappings.


Artists painted the majority of the portraits on panels or boards made from different imported hardwoods, including cedar, cypress, oak, lime, and sycamore. They cut the wood into thin panels and smoothed the pieces. Upon finishing the panels, they would set the portraits into layers of wrapping that enclosed the bodies, surrounding them with bands of cloth. This gave a window-like opening effect through which faces of the deceased could be seen, essentially framing the portraits.


Looking for the perfect frames to complete your images? Check out the great selection of metal and wood frames from American Frame, including these on-sale offerings!


Ramon Keys works in the showroom here at American Frame. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Two-Dimensional Studies from Bowling Green State University with an emphasis in graphic design. Ramon resides in Toledo, Ohio, and in his free time enjoys watching sports, traveling, cooking, painting, and baking cupcakes. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

6 Ideas: Dress Your Art with This Hot Trend

Have you seen the new design and fashion trend of using monochromatic color schemes? I know what you’re thinking: Monochromatic color schemes are boring. But they aren’t! They provide relaxing, understated elegance and create harmonious, visually cohesive looks.

Monochrome is simply containing or using only one color. So "monochromatic" includes all the hues — tints, tones, and shades — of a single color. It’s important when using this color scheme that you choose plenty of shade variations within the main color you’ve chosen. Combining these varied tones with lots of textures and patterns ensures that your design will be far from boring.

When choosing the monochromatic piece you’ll frame next, the art doesn’t have to be completely monochromatic. The main color in the art should be the main hue of your color scheme. Check out our six examples:
  1. Brown schemes give feelings of warmth, comfort, and security. Brown is a natural and down-to-earth color that is often seen as very solid. For this art, we combined our Radius Colorcast Walnut (RC19) with a Chestnut PaperMat (E4119). They go perfectly with this watercolor nest, emphasizing the detail.
Artist: Laura Barnhardt-Corle
Image: Nest #5
http://photorealisticwatercolors.com/
  1. The color white conveys freshness, cleanliness, and peacefulness. It can also create a sense of open space and add highlights. In fact, designers often use the color white to make rooms seem larger and more spacious. White often seems like a blank slate, symbolizing a new beginning or a fresh start. We chose a Basics Wood Frame (L1192) and AlphaMat in Spanish White (8463) to help accentuate the movement in this art.
Artist: Kelly Brown
Image: Fashion Bride
http://artbykelly.com/
  1. Blue color schemes often invoke feelings of stability and reliability as well as calmness and serenity. Blue is peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly, and it's often used in fashion, design, and marketing because of these traits. We framed this colorful art in Radius Colorcast Indigo (RC58) and Midnight Blue PaperMat (E4837) to highlight the beautiful blue tones in the feathers.
Artist: Cady Driver
Image: Morning Strut
http://www.artbycady.com/
  1. Black can be a very confident and empowering color, giving the feeling of control. Black is also associated with being formal and sophisticated. For this treatment, we used our Restorations Frame (31504) and Black PaperMat (E4089). The white of the bevel core creates the perfect contrast from the image while our use of a black frame and mat allows the blues, purples, and pinks of the sky to shine.
Artist: Darren White
Image: Sunset in the Rockies
http://darrenwhitephotography.com/
  1. Because green is heavily associated with nature, it is a refreshing and tranquil color. It also symbolizes good luck and health. Because of its calming effect, green is also thought to relieve stress and help heal the body and mind. For this image inspired by nature, we used our Twilight Metal Frame (TW249) and Green Olive AlphaMat (8412).
  1. The gray palette is clean and sophisticated. It is conservative, dependable, and practical. Because gray is the transition between black and white, it is often referred to as the color of compromise. The closer gray gets to black, the more dramatic and mysterious it becomes. The closer it gets to white, the more illuminating and lively it becomes. Check out our examples of both below.
Natural Steel Metal Frame (RC58) and Ash Mat (8518)
Artist: Cynthia Decker
Image: Showoff
http://curious3d.com/


Not sure which color to highlight when choosing a frame and mat board for your monochromatic art? Simply find a frame you like and click on the large frame image. On the framing engine page, you can upload your image, dress it up in different combinations of frames and mat boards, and play with sizes, colors, and more until you find the perfect look to complement your monochromatic piece!

Still undecided? At American Frame, we love to help you frame it right! Visit our website where you can check out our Framing FAQ page or contact us for personalized assistance. Already have a beautiful monochromatic piece displayed in one of our frames? Let us know! Share a photo on social media with the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Lindsey Harrison is the Showroom Manager here at American Frame. She has an interior design degree and joined our team after working as a designer for 8-plus years, although in her free time she still helps clients with smaller projects. Lindsey resides in Maumee, Ohio, with her husband and their rescue dog, Lucy. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her nieces and nephews.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Art Inspires an Appreciation for Beauty

Photographs and paintings can evoke meaningful emotions as we take the time to pause and reflect upon their beauty. This act of slowing down is one of Vineta Cook’s primary artistic goals. An accomplished photographer and painter, we featured Cook’s work in our showroom here at American Frame — and we had the pleasure of learning more about Cook’s journey to becoming a full-time, award-winning artist.

Cook resides in Maumee, Ohio, but was born in northern Lithuania. Art has long played a role in Cook’s life, and, with her family’s full support, she began dabbling when she was young.

“From childhood, I was into the arts. I would paint and draw as far as I can remember,” Cook says. “After receiving my BA degree in arts and technology from Vilnius University of Educational Sciences in Lithuania, I started to pursue an artist's career full time.”


Accomplished beyond awards


Since becoming a full-time artist, Cook has received a number of notable accolades, including awards from the European Union and Manhattan Arts International. She was also dubbed “Best Emerging Artist” of 2007 by Artsource New York, and her work has even been featured in movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Cook says, “I think my biggest accomplishment would be to uplift the viewers. If I achieved that — that's my biggest award and accomplishment.”

Balancing inspiration and discipline




Art is a constant balance between channeling inspiration and remaining dedicated to the discipline required to be a full-time artist, which Cook has mastered through her many years of work.

A painting is finished to me when I feel inside it matches the emotion or memory I have,
“I work usually in the mornings. It's very disciplined because I develop photography editions and they need to fit a particular theme,” Cook says. “With paintings, I'm more free. I like to paint fast to capture a particular emotion of the day. If I come back to the same painting after a week, I paint over it with a completely different image because that mood in which I was at the time is gone.”

For Cook, a piece isn’t done until she achieves the proper feeling.

“A painting is finished to me when I feel inside it matches the emotion or memory I have,” Cook says.



What inspires such an accomplished artist?

“I paint because I am a creator that can only exist while creating, and I want to share my internal world and conceptions with my external world — this world that we all share. I really do want to do my part in making this world more colorful, beautiful, and spiritual,” Cook says. “It is a social norm that we do not slow down enough — we get too wrapped up in routine to breathe in the meaning of life, being human, or developing our higher spirit. Yet, it is my goal to slow people down for this: just for a moment to reflect on such things.”

Cook also lists Mark Rothko, Edvard Munch, and Mikalojus K. Ciurlionis as influential to her work, and the ability to simply change mediums inspires her further.

“If I have a block in painting, I take a break and I do photography. If I have block in photography and painting, I do a drawing,” Cook says. “This way, I never stop creating.”

Framing, pricing, and work in progress


When it comes to deciding upon the more practical aspects of her work, Cook shares tips on pricing.

“I base it on my achievements and the art market,” Cook explains. “It's always healthy to look at other artists working in similar styles and their achievements. I look more what's going on in the art world worldwide instead of just local. My clients are usually all around the world.”



And when it comes time to frame her pieces, Cook tends to lean toward simplicity.

“My art is very colorful, so I often choose more simple, modern frames,” Cook says.

Here at American Frame, we are constantly inspired by the dedicated work of professional artists like Cook. We look forward to continuing to watch her work evolve as she delves deeper into the themes she has created. Be sure to follow her on Facebook or visit her website to learn more about her art and see her work.

Are you looking for a simple, modern frame a la Cook? Check out the great selection of metal and wood frames from American Frame, including these on-sale offerings!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.
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