Monday, May 14, 2012

The 8 Easy Steps to Designing a Custom Collage Mat Board

If you have several pictures you'd like to display together within a single frame, think about creating your your own collage mat specifically for your collection. It's easy, affordable, and best of all, it's CUSTOM! Here are the steps.

1) Choose your mat board by price, color or archival quality. The outside dimension of of the board is limited to 30 x 38 but within that, we can cut your openings in the arrangement you design. The smallest size opening we can make is 1” x 1” and we do like at least 1” between each opening and around the outside borders.  
2) Now, decide on the layout, or arrangement of your collage and the size of the openings you’d like to see. Get creative! This is a custom mat! Use any combination of shapes: rectangles, circles, ovals & squares and sketch it out on paper.
3) Once you’ve determined the layout, mark the sizes of each opening and the space you want between them as well as mat board borders.  Remember to allow for an overlap so your picture stays within the mat board window. A 1/8" overlap is usually sufficient and can be easily figured by subtracting 1/4"from the width and the height of each opening.  
4) Then, calculate the outside dimensions (the width & height) of the cut mat board and mark those numbers on your drawing. Check your math and make sure the inside dimensions add up to the final width & height you want.  Drawings do not have to be to scale but all dimensions must be marked. Now your custom collage mat is designed!
As you can see, the sketch doesn't have to be anything fancy.
This works just fine!

5) If you want a double mat please submit a separate drawing with the openings and dimensions to accompany the first design. Often a top mat will contain more openings than the bottom to allow for floating of an image or an object, such as an engraved plate or pin, within a specific mat opening.
6) Figuring your price is easy. It’s the mat board price plus $3.00 per extra opening. The first opening is free.  For example, an $8.00 board with 5 openings would be priced at $20.00, plus whatever other framing materials you purchase. How’s that for value?
7) Place your order in the way that’s most comfortable for you. If you order your materials online, please alert us in “special instructions” at checkout that a drawing will be sent to us, then simply email your design to or fax it to (800)893-3898   marked with your online order number so the two can be properly matched.
If you prefer the phone please call us at 800-537-0944 M-F but still send us your drawing either by fax or email with your contact information attached.
8) Enjoy the uniqueness of the custom treatment you just created!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Featured Artist Mark Friedman

Multi-faceted artist and technophile Mark Friedman is always looking to synthesize and integrate.  “I want to use technology to create art that you couldn’t make otherwise.”  Consistent with this enthusiasm, Friedman is both a photographer and a digital artist, using several types of specialized software to “paint” digital originals. 

“One of the greatest things about digital work is how much exploration and experimentation you can do, because it’s so easy to undo things that don’t work out.”

Friedman got interested in art at the age of fifteen, when his mother “dragged” him to a Van Gogh exhibit and the work “blew him away.”  He began working with images through photography as well as expressing himself through poetry and music.  It was the poetry that led to his interest in digital art.  “I was designing the back cover of a book of my poems and got carried away.”

Since then he has concentrated on his visual art, particularly striving to mimic impressionist brushstrokes and texture with digital tools.  In addition he has recently been experimenting with the creation of an art genre he calls “digital poetry,” in which he adds animation and sound to his poetry in a digital medium, such as iTunes.  For more on Mark’s work you can check out his website at

The featured piece, “Swimming,” won first place in the Lafayette Community Art Show in 2011.  “I had been to Key West that year on tour with my band and was blown away by the underwater world.  The colors haunted me until I did this piece.”

When displaying his work Friedman often forgoes the frame in favor of an unframed stretched canvas.  He has also mounted paper prints on backboard beveled so that, when hung, the piece appears to float off the wall. 

We’ve framed “Swimming” in a traditional manner.  Affordably printed on paper and dry mounted for durability, the piece is accented by three mats and a shimmery charcoal-colored moulding from our solid-wood Motif collection.  The frame’s soft metallic finish speaks to the reflective qualities of the image’s colors and its simple lines pair well with the abstract, contemporary twist on sea-life.  The bottom mat is a warm white (CS9509), creating the necessary break between the image and the dark brown (CS9836) of the accent mat which comes next.  The top most dominant mat is a neutral peach (CS9517), several shades lighter than the brown mat to stay in keeping with the mellow vibe of Friedman’s image. 

Product Details:
Swimming (30 x 19 3/8”)   $50.00

Motif frame in Slate Black 26404 (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”) $85.66 
Bottom mat in Half & Half CS9509 (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”), borders 3”    $17.30
Middle mat in Spice CS9836 (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”) borders 2 ¾”           $17.30
Top mat in Peach Fuzz CS9517 ((35 ¾” x 25 1/8”) borders 2 ¼”      $8.88
Paper-Hot Press Bright DPHPB (30 x 19 3/8”)                                 $47.35
Non-Glare Acrylic AANG (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”)                                       $46.34
Mounting Board-Artcare Restore MTBAR (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”)             $17.28
DryMounting Service (35 ¾” x 25 1/8”)                                               $9.21

TOTAL: 299.31

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