Every artwork is unique and different moulding profiles and mountboards will suit different works. But there are general trends that can act as a good springboard for ideas about how to frame new works or reframe your existing collection.
1. Narrow mouldings are featuring strongly in galleries and interior design projects at the moment. Thin profiles are a great way of letting the work speak for itself whilst retaining a clear defined edge. The thin moulding is the go-to profile for a simple, clean and contemporary design. Smooth metal finishes are popular for conceptual illustrative works or urban works, whereas hand-finished waxed woods and painted greys, navy, and whites work well for paintings and more traditional media. Large works can be hard to frame with a thin moulding because they aren’t as strong and big works under glass can be heavy. Ask your framer for guidance.
2. Whatever your choice of profile, neutral and natural colours work well. Where dark colours are needed, its a good idea to avoid jet black and instead go for a deep navy moulding or mount.
3. Bold colours are on-trend this year, but you don’t want to detract from your artwork by using strong colours in your frame. Instead, go bold with your wall paint and wallpaper. Use the contrast of a sophisticated frame to really make your work stand out. Patterned wallpapers are also popular, but often need breaking up. Salon style picture hanging can really compliment bold wallpapers. If you love a patterned wallpaper but can’t go as far as papering your entire wall with it, consider framing an offcut.
Remember: it rarely works to pick out a colour from your artwork when choosing the moulding or mountboard colour, except occasionally with neutral colours. You don’t want your frame to draw your eye away from the artwork, especially when hung on bold walls. The role of the frame is to hold the eye in the artwork, not to draw it to the frame and beyond.
4. We’ve noticed a turn towards displaying framed artwork propped on shelves, or even on the floor, propped against the wall. This can look great, but make sure you secure the frame by fixing it to the wall using picture hooks.
5. Craft and artisan is becoming an increasingly important antidote to this post-truth neoliberal world. Hand-dyed and stitched fabrics, locally-made products and hand-carved spoons are all joyful products to surround ourselves with. In Spring/ Summer 2017 Mount will launch a new range of mouldings from two of the South West’s leading craftspeople. Master gilder Karen Dawkin’s range of gilded mouldings mix the contemporary and traditional. Cabinet-maker Russ Denman of Denman & Gould is making a new range of designer frame mouldings for Mount. This new range celebrates natural woods and draws inspiration from his beautiful converted church studio in deepest darkest Dorset. Russ’s partner Eleanor Goulding produces textiles and watercolour paintings that are a beautiful addition to the home. You can buy Eleanor’s wares from new Frome gallery Kobi & Teal (Catherine Hill). Sculptor Stephen Coles based near Shaftesbury is making a variety of small bronze and metal sculptures for the home, as well as casting new letters for Dorset’s traditional fingerpost signs.
6. You don’t have to spend a fortune on loads of original artwork from high end galleries. Prints and old illustrated book pages can look great when framed. So what sort of bargain prints are really going to look ten times their value on your walls? With the world in political turmoil, designers are returning to nature for inspiration. Botanicals, birds and butterflies are definitely good images to go for. We had a lovely couple come to us with a collection of bird illustrations taken from an old book. The prints looked amazing in dark-stained hand-finished frames and AR glass. Displaying your framed prints alongside houseplants is a great way to bring the great outdoors indoors.
7. In 2015 and 2016 we saw a few frames that sandwich work between two panels of glass so you can see both the front and the back of the work. This is a great way of showing double-sided work, but make sure your framer knows that artwork should never be in direct contact with glass; specify acrylic instead. (Condensation can build up between layers of glass, which causes the work to fuse and bond permanently with the glass – eventually destroying the work.) Ask your framer about hanging systems that mean you can flip the frame around.
8. gilded and metal frames are proving increasingly popular, and ornate frames are having a come-back. Pairing ornate frames with very contemporary work can seem a bit passe these days, so stick to traditional styles if you’re unsure. Some contemporary artwork does suit ornate frames, so do ask your framer for advice. Contemporary art looks great in clean, contemporary gilded frames, and this is definitely something we’re seeing a lot more of.
9. Raw whites are ever popular, particularly for objects such as ceramics. We’ve noticed a turn towards raw whites in framing too, and we’re excited by bespoke gesso frames. We framed two John Adams paintings with hand-gessoed mouldings, and complimented the clean stylish front with an equally white and sophisticated back, using white backing board and even white sealing tape.
10. Lightboxes. We love lightboxes. The close association between photography and light means that in many cases photographs are best printed on transparency film an viewed backlit. Stained glass works best backlit – so if you don’t want to display stained glass in your window, consider getting it framed with a lightbox. We’ve worked on a couple of lightbox frame projects, and learnt a lot about the process. We’re developing new ideas for internal frame lighting, so watch this space!
Contact us for advice about your upcoming frame and print projects firstname.lastname@example.org
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