I love framing, I love teaching others to frame and I like meeting the people who I frame pieces for. That must mean that it was a clear path for me to choose to become a framer. Not so! I speak to younger people trying to decide on career paths and others who want to switch out of the jobs they’re in to do something (anything?) different. They often say I’m lucky I knew what I wanted to do. Not so! It was a happy accident.
I do love the way life evolves and moves and how often you can see a path through the journey, without quite realizing it was a journey. I started out as a school teacher, teaching mathematics, which evolved into teaching in a computer software company which evolved into writing training courses in the company, and evolved and evolved. Alongside that, I was taking photographs and wanted to frame them, so I learned to frame. Framing for a living was never the plan.
I love framing because the framing community is warm, welcoming and generous with their knowledge. The work varies from day to day, the people I meet are interesting and bring different challenges, different pieces to frame and different stories to tell.
I love to teach framing too – as someone recently said, the materials are interesting and a day in the workshop can move from paper to colours, to mountboards and then wood and glass, and then types of glass and the impact it has on a piece of art. It’s not all plain sailing; this month I have framed three of the biggest pieces I have ever framed and 2 of the smallest! I love working with glass and cut glass to size with ease and confidence, but I broke the biggest piece of glass I’ve ever worked with and I dropped some scrap on a concrete floor recently – the mess was pretty spectacular. So things don’t always go to plan. They shouldn’t always go to plan. If we don’t make mistakes we’ll never learn. A framing friend of mine said based on that idea – “I’m learning so much”.
Now I’m not suggesting we all become picture framers, but I do suggest finding a framer near you and take in a picture and get it framed, take something you’ve been meaning to have framed, and spend some time with there – they should have time for you – and get it framed. Get to know your framer, let them get to know you, whether you like bold colours or gentle hues, whether your house is dramatic with shades of blacks and white, or a flourish of colour. Better still, if life is getting too busy and you’ve no time to think, find a framing workshop and spend a day framing things yourself. It’ll be a mental holiday. Let life take you on that unexpected journey!