A Frame-Maker’s Journal

TimHolton writingUpdates and ruminations on our work and mission to revive the art and craft of framing pictures. Here I'll show you new jobs we're especially proud of and keep you up on what's going on at the Gallery, as well as discuss topics germane to our work, including handcraft and work generally, the place of art, and ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement (especially its greatest leaders, John Ruskin and William Morris).

I hope you’ll subscribe (see the form in the left column) or at least check back often. And I welcome your comments!

—Tim Holton

Framing a Hudson River School Painting

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

Feeling very privileged indeed to have had the chance to frame this classic view of the Hudson River by a Hudson River School painter, Charles Wilson Knapp (1823-1900). Just completed this week, the frame is a 4″ wide Compound Mitered frame, in a slope form with a... continue reading.

Framing the Simple Home (One by Raymond Dabb Yelland)

Posted on December 8th, 2014

There’s something about a cabin in the wilderness, a simple home completely at home in the natural landscape, making us part of the landscape ourselves—placing us in our true element, placing us in the great frame of creation. One of the images in my last post (... continue reading.

Good Citizen’s Picture Frames

Posted on December 6th, 2014

We’ve recently framed some pretty great pieces in the fairly plain and simple, but hefty mortise-and-tenon frames that have been a specialty of ours from day one (twenty-one years ago!). You can scroll down to see notable examples. I like to borrow a phrase from W... continue reading.

An Event Framing John Ruskin and William Morris

Posted on November 29th, 2014

This past spring I helped organize an all-day symposium called “Helping in the Work of Creation: John Ruskin and William Morris Today.” The event came out of The Hillside Club Round Table, which I began and lead at Berkeley’s historic Hillside Club, an... continue reading.

Fixing a “Very Prevalent Error”: Recent Re-framings, and a New Page on Wood vs Gold Frames

Posted on November 22nd, 2014

In the nineteenth century, reflecting the great turmoil that the arts were going through, many painters protested what could be called “the gold frame convention”—not only a prevailing taste but an actual rule among exhibitions that paintings must receive ... continue reading.

Framing Arnold Friberg

Posted on November 17th, 2014

A year ago I posted in the portfolio a large painting by Arnold Friberg, “The Eyes of Chief Joseph”, which we were especially proud to frame. Just recently we got to frame three more by this important American illustrator. All are in substantial carved quart... continue reading.

Reviving the Art and Craft of Sign Painting

Posted on November 14th, 2014

A shop selling handcrafted frames should have a handcrafted sign. So a few weeks ago we had our name painted in the window by a for-real sign painter—a breed of artisan that not long ago many thought would soon be made extinct by vinyl signs. Derek MacDonald and Tina ... continue reading.

Framing Mary Curtis Richardson

Posted on November 8th, 2014

We recently framed this 1898 oil painting by notable California artist Mary Curtis Richardson (1848-1931) titled “Hal & His Dog”. Hal is comfortably seated in—and so framed by—a sturdy mission oak chair. From this, and also (conveniently) in harmony... continue reading.

Framing a Good Life: Lessons from the Stones of Siena

Posted on October 11th, 2014

I’ve been writing about some of Italy’s most spectacular frames, including the Basilica San Marco in Venice and Giotto’s Tower in Florence, and great lessons their stones still teach about the place of art and the unity of the arts—two fundamental concerns of th... continue reading.