I've been collecting art for a while but have been remiss in getting things framed. Framing is an art in itself. You’ve got to get the colours, textures and proportions right. Never mind keeping everything straight and precise. Now that I have the wall space to display some of my collection, I've finally got around to having some of my favourites framed – at last.
What a joy on Saturday to collect four special pieces from Andrew Halliday, my local framer, ready to hang. Read on to learn about the framing decisions Andrew and I agreed to bring out the best in four very different pieces of art.
These four original artworks aren’t my own creations but rather ones from other lovely creators that I’m honoured to display in my new home. Collectively, they represent four different corners of the world: China, South Africa, Australia, and England. They’re each created in entirely different media and on very different paper stocks so are a lovely assortment.
First up, the artwork Andrew is holding up in the photo: the title He Wu Jin Qiu translates into Cranes dancing in the autumn. I love the link to dance in the title and the glowing colours. This delicate creation was hand-painted on rice paper in 2017 by painter and calligrapher, Zhang Jianzhong.
A fellow researcher (with whom I collaborate in my academic life) kindly brought this elegant artwork back for me from China. Framing-wise, a black wooden frame (I like the grain of the wood) to complement the black in the artwork seemed an obvious choice for this piece. But I left the decision between a warm white or cool chalk mount with Andrew. The paper is creamy but there are some lovely white highlights in the painting so both options were tempting. He went with the warm white, which complements the warm hues of the sky beautifully.
My second treasure is an etching that never ceases to make me smile. This lovely creation is one I nabbed in the late 90s. The artist is the wonderful Fiona van Wezel who, these days, specialises in beautifully detailed pet portraits. You can read more about her current portfolio here.
Back in the 90s when she was specialising in printmaking, Fi had given this etching a wide black mount. I wanted to replace and replicate the original mount, which had suffered some wear and tear. Yet, I wasn’t sure about what sort of frame would work with the black mount as I was hesitant to go for black on black. Andrew presented a range of options and I chose a medium pewter frame. This ensured we had sufficient tonal contrast between the mount and frame, which complements the tonal variety in the etching and the warmth of the original paper stock.
On to the third piece: I’m delighted to own this fabulous contemporary creation from my favourite contemporary abstract artist, Jane Thompson. All the way from Brisbane, Jane generously sent this to me (with a lovely inscription on the back) when I bought a stunning art scarf from her last year. Jane has played an important role in my online art journey. She was one of the first artists I connected with on Instagram when I ventured onto that platform and her expressive brushwork and distinctive colour creations convinced me that "wow, there's some inspiring art on this platform" and maybe Insta was worth a go. You can dip into her website here.
For Jane's piece, I opted for a warm grey frame. I wanted something a little bit more subtle (but that would still work with the other dark frames if everything is hung in proximity). We chose an off-white mount that works well with the frame and those gorgeous pinks that are often distinctive in Jane's work (I just adore her signature colour palettes). Andrew framed it so that it has a glass back and I can still turn it over to read Jane's kind inscription.
Finally, the newest piece in my collection: an original letterpress print from one of the loveliest colleagues I have ever had the pleasure to work with, Geoff Wyeth. Geoff is a printmaker, bookbinder and everybody’s favourite lecturer. He also shares my love of classic minis. I love the bright magenta paper combined with the textured print. And, of course, my inner typographer loved the pun (if you're not a font geek and missed the pun: the typeface used here is historically classified as a fat face). You can look up Geoff on Insta @geoffwyeth.
Andrew recommended a brilliant chalk white as a good choice to offset the zing of the magenta paper. I opted to pair this with a black frame that had a bit of a grain to it, to echo the sense of texture in the printed fat face type.
Thanks to all my creative friends for sharing these wonderful artworks. I know how exciting it is for me when I see my work all grown up and framed, so I do hope you’re happy with what we’ve done with yours.
Big shout out to Andrew and Sarah at Wydale Framing for the wonderful framing. You can find out more about them here or catch them at the Otley farmer's market on Fridays and Saturdays. Next batch coming soon but first I need to put up more hooks on my walls.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my personal collection and found the thinking behind our mount and frame choices useful. I'd love to read about your framing tips in the comments below.