Framing is a craft in itself and framers will grab pretty much anything that will stay still long enough. At any one time, a number of framing books are available, most of which are project based and, while they usually include a few construction techniques, they’re aimed very much at the amateur and are usually designed more to look pretty than to be useful.
Good books on framing where the intention is to display a work of art on paper or canvas to advantage and to support it effectively are relatively few and far between. You can tell that this volume falls in the latter camp just by flicking through it. The predominance of technical line illustrations over colour plates is marked, as is the illustration of some fairly heavy items of machinery.
Mainly aimed at someone who wants to set themselves up as a professional framer, the book begins with an extensive look at setting up and equipping a workshop along with the construction and layout of the workspace and what material to keep in stock. This section is divided between what is necessary for the amateur or hobbyist and for the professional workshop and contains a great deal of information on constructing frames as well as how to keep a record of costs and other business matters which will be important if your aim is to make a profit from your activities.
There are copious very clear line drawings of how frames and stretchers etc are constructed and the colour illustrations take over where photographs of specific processes are desirable. These are clearly reproduced and well lit so that there’s never any doubt about what you’re seeing. As a result, the colours and lighting have a slightly false look about them, but the illustrations are there for a purpose, not to look good and it is much to the credit of the author and publishers that there is no attempt to pretty this book up.
It would, in all probability, be a very bad idea to set up any business with just a teach-yourself guidebook to help you. Although this book is very comprehensively written there can be no substitute for experience and it would certainly desirable, if you were thinking of taking framing up professionally, to get work in an established business first.
However, if you want to frame your own pictures (or perhaps just understand the process), then this is a good solid introduction. Equip a good workshop, understand the creative aspects (choice of mount and moulding for instance) and be confident and competent with your equipment and it’s likely that other work will come your way. The semi-professional, a level very thoroughly covered here, is probably about as much as you can aim for without a great deal more guidance.
At nearly twenty pounds (in paperback), this is not a cheap book, but there has been no attempt to appeal to a popular audience and, as this inevitably limits sales, it must affect the price. For the information given, which is not easily available elsewhere, however, it’s excellent value.
The cover blurb tells us little about the author, except that he has twenty years experience of running a successful picture framing business. Assuming this to be correct (and there’s no reason not to), he should know what he’s talking about.
Year published: 2006
List price: £19.99