Nope – that’s not a typo.  This isn’t a post about organic gardening, rather, it’s about being a professional in an industry that doesn’t actually require much by way of professional commitments.  Huh?  Well, here’s the thing – being a picture framer isn’t like being a lawyer, or an accountant, or any other vocation which requires education, training or licensing.  In theory, all it takes to have a picture framing business is a space and a few tools.  Many framers working today haven’t actually had ANY formal training – they learned from their parents, or their former boss, or they just made it up as they went along.  As Derek is so fond of saying in his classes, “Any idiot can put a frame on a picture, and many do.”

So who’s YOUR framer?  Has your framer had anything in the way of formal education, learning how to correctly frame your treasured possessions?  Does your framer take advantage of educational offerings, attending trade shows and seminars to learn about trends in the industry?  Does your framer network with others and keep abreast of the most currently accepted methods for handling and preserving artwork for display?  Does your framer teach other framers innovative techniques for creating unique frame designs?  If we’re your framers, then the answer to all of the above questions is “YES!”

Derek just spent four days in Las Vegas, attending the West Coast Art and Framing Show, the largest trade show and educational expo in the United States. He was there to teach a class on stacked moulding designs, which will be reproduced over the next few months in Picture Framing Magazine (PFM), the largest trade publication for professional framers.  Derek was also invited to participate as the sole independent framer on the annual breakfast panel, a “state of the industry” event hosted by the magazine’s editors and moderated by the owner of the largest retail framing business in the United States – a prestigious honor indeed.  And it’s not his first rodeo, so to speak: over the years, Derek has taught at several national conventions, both for PFM and for the Professional Picture Framers’ Association (the national trade association.)  He served a term on the national board of directors for the PPFA, and both he and Christine have served as president of the Northern Rockies Chapter of the PPFA and have written articles in PFM.  Derek has also taught privately and consulted for several picture framing businesses in Western Montana, helping with training, marketing and shop setup.

What’s the point of all of this rah rah talk?  Shameless self promotion?  Honestly, YES! We know that picture framing is expensive!  It’s one of the few things left in this world that is truly custom, and beyond design, the vast majority of the work is hidden in the package where the consumer can’t see it.  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done right!  We see what amounts to criminal damage done by other framers on a regular basis when we take apart pieces for reframing.  Artwork held in with masking tape, surgical tape, even duct tape – none of which are appropriate for coming into contact with your artwork.  Mats made from wood pulp which will discolor and acid burn your artwork.  Treasured objects stuck down with silicone or white glue.  Does it really matter?  Maybe not for the $15 poster that can be easily replaced, but for almost everything else, from your child’s school art project to your wedding photos to your grandfather’s apothecary tools, of course it matters!  Framing should preserve your treasures for future generations, not harm them and cause them to deteriorate because the framers didn’t take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

So, who’s your framer?