On the Other Side of Art

I recently was hired at a frame shop. I was a little nervous because I’m not very precise all of the time, and with this job, precision is key. I just chalked it up as a good learning experience. What I’ve discovered working at the frame shop isn’t exactly a profound artistic breakthrough, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.

I ended up catching onto the precision thing quickly, but not without a lot of failures. Cutting the mats was the hardest thing for me to get the hang of. I messed up so many times we had to ship another mat in the same color overnight to the shop. Thankfully my supervisor was patient enough not to kill me before I understood what I was doing, like I’m sure he wanted to.

I’ve had the chance to handle some really interesting things, such as the original deed to someone’s property dated 1857, original and reproduced artwork*, and sentimental pictures. So far I really love the job. Something about taking care of a document or artwork that people take pride in also makes me take pride in my work.

It’s also really interesting being on the other side of the artwork: the preservation. I’ve realized how important it is to take care of your work. There are a lot of different options for protection, like glass with UV protection, moisture-proof and acid free tape.

Cutting the mats, cutting glass, and putting the frames together is like an artistic process in itself. There are a ton of things to take into consideration before you make a move, so that the end product is what you and the customer can be happy with.


*Do you remember how I was talking about how cool it is to recognize a piece of artwork? That happens at the frame shop a lot. I nearly jumped out of my skin because I was so excited when I saw a reproduction of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase getting framed.**

**I wonder if they’re hanging it in their staircase.

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