Friday, 21 August 2009

The Great Frame Caper

Back in the mists of a timidly emerging Beijing spring, I purchased some paintings as wedding gifts for my friends. The prevailing framing choice was a ‘traditional’ Chinese scroll, which, however, I felt goes a little bit too far from ‘something cool my friend bought me from China’ towards ‘my house now looks like a suburban Chinese restaurant’.

No problems, I thought, they’ll look much better in something sleek and contemporary. Arriving home, picture framing wasn’t exactly top of my ‘to-do’ list, and I confess, I left it until a week before the wedding to get them – after all, it would just be a matter of nipping into a shop.
Obviously, it wasn’t until I was in the aforesaid shop that I realised that the standard frame sizes might be different between the UK and China, and that apparently Britain doesn’t do square frames anyway. I searched, I bought, I got them home and discovered they were slightly too small. I returned them, gave up on square frame and went for a rectangle with black mount.

I’m quite short, the frames were quite big and Brighton is quite hilly, so I alternated between accidentally banging my bags into the pavement [sidewalk] in front of me and holding them in my arms, only just managing to peer over the top in an endeavour to avoid the dozens of people that didn’t seem to notice that the person struggling to maintain control over a package half her size might actually need more room to get by than, say, a catwalk model about to die of heart failure.

But, I thought, hard part over, only black paper to get. I went into a paper shop, a shop that actually has ‘paper’ in its name, only to be told by the snotty sales assistant that they didn’t have any, as if I was some kind of loon for even thinking they’d stock something so boringly essential.

I eventually found black paper back in my home town, after finding that all the shops I thought would have it have either closed down or don’t, in a backstreet art shop run by someone whose demeanour and shirt pattern suggest him a potential warning for a teenage drug awareness campaign.

Seriously – all of this for two picture frames and two sheets of black paper? Please tell me the result was worth it. (And if you don’t, I wouldn’t say so, cos I might just find out where you live.)


  1. The framed photos look fantastic and your friends will love them! Excellent choice of frames and black paper. That was a lot of effort you went through...I hope they appreciate that, too.

  2. What are those things that look sort of like poached eggs in the third photo?

  3. Well done--excellent result--looks great--well worth all your efforts. As an artist, I can assure you that the hardest part of making art is framing it.

    I assume the 3rd photo is the gift, artfully wrapped?

  4. They look great, Jane. :-)

    But does the receiver of your gifts read your blog? ;-)

  5. I'm sorry. Now I can see that they are silk roses decorating the package.

  6. Good job. Ooh I love the green in the first print. They are beautiful!

  7. I do think the framed photos look great. Does sound like you had a chore getting them completed. I hope the recipients appreciate the effort!