Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In the New York Times, Sept 3, 2009

"One Man's Trash"...

Great picture and interesting article. I've never imagined frame corners being used like this!

Monday, September 28, 2009

So, What's With the White Roof?

It was a little noisy around here last month as we re-roofed our primary building here in Arrowhead Park. After almost 35 years in this location, it was time, and may I say, timely.
Had we done this a few years ago, we most likely would have implemented another black roll top commercial style roofing system. After a bit of research, we found that a white roof was the most logical and environmentally friendly choice, even though we’re situated in northern Ohio.
Our original thought was that a white roof would not be helpful given our long cold winters; that we would be better off keeping it black and benefiting from a net heat gain to our building environment. However, in our research we learned that the potential for energy savings is much more substantial in the summer than the winter as it takes considerably more resources to air condition a space than it does to heat it. The white roof will reflect the summer sun rather than absorb it, thus making the cooling the inside easier while preventing heat gain into the atmosphere from our building (contributing to the “urban island” effect which makes cities effectively 5-8 degrees warmer than outlying areas, make sense?). Also; something else we didn’t think about, since snow tends to cover our roof through much of the winter season, a black roof doesn’t necessarily help trap heat as it is covered in white anyways.
Since it reflects rather than traps heat, the white roof will support the longevity of our building which is exactly what we need as we plan on being here for a very long time!
So, it just made sense to go this route. Pretty cool, right?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Success Story:  Artist Christina Pellegrino, Salt Lake City , Utah

Today I’d like to feature an artist we’ve had the pleasure of serving over many years, Christina (Chris) Pellegrino, a classically trained artist who now specializes in digital media.

I personally became involved with Chris and her work in 2006, and since then she has been thoughtful in keeping me current on her exhibitions and accomplishments in the world of fine art. Featured visually in this blog are the two pieces from the most recent “Utah Women Artists Exhibition” in which she received the Juror’s Award from a Curator for the San Francisco MOMA - Chris provides the details in her story below.

This is a truly inspiring story of how exposure from our on-line art gallery created opportunities and successes which gave her the confidence to do what she loves. We’re proud to be a partner in her journey.

“I believe I was among the first artists to upload to your new gallery option in late 2006. I had worked in a frame shop in upstate NY back in the early 1980’s. I noticed your ad in American Artist and began ordering frames from American Frame. Shortly thereafter I believe you started carrying the Nielsen stock and I was thrilled. Over the years, you have been my dependable source for quality framing that I could afford. I phoned, then faxed orders and was delighted when American Frame began online service.

“That is how I noticed your announcement for the gallery. I have been a commercial artist for years, but wanted to make art again. Your gallery offered the ideal beginning.

“I have been a painter, sculptor, photographer and stain glass artisan over the years and had just recently discovered Photoshop. I submitted one print “Yosemite Pond” which was my first and only work in this discipline. You noticed it and “Wireless” chose to market it in their catalog. This was a turning point. The encouragement from that opportunity sent me into a creative frenzy and I re-entered the world of art. Next you approached me with an offer from Target. Still get chills. And they chose 4 prints to include in their on-line art gallery in November of 2007. I continued to refine my style. In late 2008, A wonderful friend, excited by these events, took me by the hand and introduced me to the owner of “Every Blooming Thing” Gallery in downtown Salt Lake . Quietly, Pam March reviewed my work and offered me a one-women show. An art collector, she personally bought 5 pieces. I was stunned. I had 4 months to prepare 40 framed pieces. (Thank you American Frame!) I have a day job so I worked into the night. In the meantime, a gallery co-op offered me a place, I was honored but I was unable to take on both commitments and decided to concentrate on the show at hand. Pam warned me not to be too excited that she had rarely sold any pieces during these types of shows. In the meantime, she sold 3 prints to her clients and as I was delivering art for the show, a couple purchased 2 prints I was just carrying in! I prepared postcards for Pam’s clientele and utilized social networking to announce the show. My pieces are thoughtful and have quite a bit of social commentary which seems to interest a good deal of people when I’m given the chance to explain.

Past Perfect

A collection of works that celebrate the sublime in imperfection.

By getting past perfect, I was able to move beyond

my desire for the unattainable and develop an appreciation for

what is within my grasp. Life takes us on a journey,

an adventure recorded in dense layers of imperfection.

I’ve learned to embrace the rich imaginings that

belong to the old, worn, and discarded. I respond to the whispers,

“Let me tell you my story,” delighting in the reactions

from those who also take the time to listen.

And, it is in the embrace of nostalgia that I am most comforted.

For only in my remembrances of the past

do I finally find perfection.

“The place was packed the night of the opening. 17 prints sold!!!—with 5 going to a prominent local designer. I broke all records for the gallery and they have offered me display space into the foreseeable future.

“ Next I entered my first exhibition show. Utah Women Artists Exhibition; a biennial show sponsored by the American Association of University Women. 170 pieces of art were submitted and 70 were chosen for the show. 2 of my prints were accepted. I was delighted. Next I learned I had received the Juror’s Award! This is a fantastic honor as the juror was Apsara DiQuinzio, Assistant Curator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Still pinching myself. It was a generous cash prize which I have immediately invested in a quality camera—I have been using a pocket variety to date. Now I am preparing for another gallery event at “Every Blooming Thing” and putting together submissions for 2 more exhibitions. I believe I have a guardian angel and somehow that angel whispered in your ear. Sincerely, thank you for helping me believe in myself again. This is a grand adventure and it really began with you and American Frame.”

Many Congratulations Christina !

Featured Images: Abandonment Blues and This Corrosion

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kulicke Update: Was he REALLY the inventor of the Aluminum Section Frame?

On July 7, 2009, I kicked off our Summer Celebration Metal Sale with a tribute to Robert Kulicke, creator of the original welded aluminum frame for MOMA, and acclaimed inventor of the aluminum section frame – the product on which our business was built. When I wrote my commentary, I consulted trusted sources like the New York Times and Picture Framing Magazine. What I have come to learn is that there is another side of the story; a very compelling side which has evidence of patents and a daughter’s memory of her father. So, today I would like to relate what I’ve learned about a gentleman named Donald P. Herbert, father of Catherine Yee, who contacted me last week about my blog.

This is her story, in her own words:

“My father was a frame designer. Strangely enough he got his start in Toledo , OH when he opened a frame shop in conjunction with his antiquarian bookstore in 1953. He then returned to the NYC area and opened a frame shop in 1957 in White Plains , NY . In 1963-64 he worked for Dain-Schiff and in 1965 started working for Kulicke Frames. So yes, he knew Bob personally. In fact, at one time they even lived in the same apartment building in New York City , for a time across the hall from each other. They were still speaking to each other in 1978 when I moved in with my father. By the time he died in 1982 I don’t believe that they were.”

“My dad did sell the welded aluminum frames which Bob designed for MOMA while he had his shop in White Plains . No one in my family disputes that Kulicke developed the welded aluminum frame. What I can tell you is that Bob did not design the metal section frame.”

“According to my father, the design idea developed following his attendance at a museum conference in 1967 in Toronto . During this trip he met with Dr. Harold Joachim, curator of Prints and Drawings for the Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Joachim stated that they had many prints they could not display but would be willing to loan to galleries if there was an affordable way to frame them. Following this meeting, my dad started working on sketches. My step-mother remembers him working on them even as they traveled back to NYC from the conference.”

Ms. Yee sent me this link which is the most compelling evidence of all that Mr. Herbert was, in fact, the original designer of the aluminum section frame.,534,490

He had a US patent as well as several international patents including Canada ,




and also Belgium , Great Britain , The Netherlands and Germany .

So, this is what I have learned about Donald P. Herbert. He was born in Manhattan in 1926. His early childhood was spent between New York and Maryland . He was not formally educated in art and design. He had a high school level education so must have learned his craft through apprenticeships.

Mr. Herbert moved to our area of the country, Toledo , Ohio in 1952, and opened an antiquarian book store at 1205 Adams Street called “Maumee Valley Book Shop”. How or why he came to this area is unclear. It was then, however, that he became interested in picture frame designing and offered custom framing services out of that location.

In 1955, he left Toledo , married Catherine Yee’s mother, and moved back to White Plains , New York where he opened another shop named “Van Horn-Herbert”.

By 1963-64 he went to work for the Dain-Schiff Gallery in New York where apparently he studied more about framing and frame design. In 1965 he began working with Robert Kulicke who invented the welded metal frame in 1960.

Referencing the chronology presented by Ms.Yee, it was in 1967 that her father started creating sketches of his idea for an aluminum section frame (including the hardware) which could be custom cut for a variety of sizes and manufactured at a low cost. She believes that the confusion in the industry stems from the fact that Kulicke Frames’ contract division was the original manufacturer of the designs, and that over the years “Kulicke the man” has been confused with “Kulicke the company”.

In 1970, Mr. Herbert sold his Canadian Patent to FrameGuild Mouldings which is now a division of NielsenBainbridge in Canada .

Mr. Herbert subsequently opened another company, Presentation Sales Corporation. In 1972, he sold the assets of this company, including his US Patent to Structural Industries in Hicksville NY . The sale of the company and technology transfer has never been challenged, further evidence that he was the originator and lawful patent holder of the aluminum sectional picture frame.

In 1982, Mr. Herbert died suddenly after a short illness.

Nielsen created improvements in the design of the hardware, which were patented in 1971. The Nielsen patent references Mr. Herbert’s 1968 patent on the original design.

In closing, I would like to state that I am by no means a journalist, nor do I care to challenge Robert Kulicke’s legacy in the industry. However, I find it interesting that Mr. Herbert is not the recognized designer of the aluminum section frame. Mr. Kulicke referenced his name in the Picture Framing Magazine interview, Jan/Feb 1990 as a salesperson who brought back the design of the hardware after a trip to Canada , however does not credit him with the design itself. Catherine Yee and I spoke on the phone on Friday, August 28th so I could try to make sense out of all the information she sent to me. I asked her if it were at all possible, that this idea was the result of a great collaboration, that possibly Mr. Kulicke had conceptualized the product while her father actually designed it, but she refutes that possibility, based on her memories of interactions of the two men at that time.

It appears that creating picture frames which could be easily assembled and disassembled was an issue that Kulicke and Herbert were not the first to try to address. In our research, we also found patent #2,654,451 issued to a Mr. John Schmidgall, applied for in 1950 and issued in 1953 which describes a modular assembly for wood frames. In my mind, the fact of this earlier patent makes it clear that neither Mr. Herbert nor Mr. Kulicke originally conceptualized the idea as applied to framing. It may be possible that they discussed this problem as framers prior to Mr. Herbert designing the solution for the metal frame specifically.

Perhaps this is why Robert Kulicke never patented this design, as stated in my original posting. He does have two other patents in his name, contrary to the claim made in his interview that he does not see himself as a designer but as a developer, and that developers do not patent their designs. The numbers are 2777 232 1957 and 3003 272 1961. The first shows a sectional drawing but is a patent for mounting assemblages within the frame. The second is for a mounting system for mirrors.

I welcome comments and additional information.

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