In the Frame

7 Dec

I’ve already talked about how style is subjective, but, for me, nowhere is this more magnified than when it comes to choosing art. Whether it’s a bold typographic print or a set of family snaps, hanging something on your wall is a massive statement about the kind of person you are.

With that kind of pressure it’s no wonder that lots of us make safe choices or settle for empty walls. Go to a gallery or a chic lifestyle boutique and it can end up costing a fortune; shop on the high street or a run-of-the-mill online retailer and you can get the feeling you’ve plumped for nothing more than identikit art.  There’s no doubt about it – genuinely individual, affordable art isn’t easy to find.

What’s more, once you’ve found a piece to set your pulse racing there’s still the business of finding its perfect position, and – the real challenge – a frame to give it the presence it deserves.

I’ve done quite a bit of research recently, and there are some stunning, original, breathtakingly beautiful works of art available if you look a little off the beaten track. And, even better, they are significantly less pricey than their high street equivalents. In fact, there’s a whole underworld of talented designers coming up with clever creations available on websites such as etsy, and directly through a multitude of individual blogs and websites. {I’ll share some of my favourites with you in a future post.} The thing is, they almost always recommend hanging these prized pieces in an IKEA frame.

Now, I’ve got nothing against IKEA. Go there lots, love it, have bought tons of IKEA frames in my time {little tip for you though – Ribba frames look miles better painted in an accent colour picked out from your picture}. But, there is an alternative…

Original vintage frame

Discovering this little treasure in a junk shop started my rather passionate love affair with old picture frames. This one has been left untouched – it’s too gorgeous to cover a single inch of its faded gilded detail. But even the most wonky, dusty, dilapidated frames can have a new life with a lick of paint. Match that with an original piece of art that has character, originality and bit of personality and you have something that can hang on your wall with pride.

Thought you might like to see a couple of my recent projects {available to buy where marked}.

Framed butterflies {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Large butterfly collage in vintage frame


The original frame {picked up from an interesting dealer at Fontwell racecourse} housed a rather austere canvas print of Sir Winston Churchill, but I’m afraid he got consigned to the cast-off pile. I repainted the frame in Annie Sloan Old White and brought back some of the intricate detailing on this fantastically chunky and unusually deep frame. The interior is a collection of vintage detail butterfly postcards embellished with buttons and sequins and sat on scraps of threadbare hessian.

Small framed butterflies {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Small butterfly collage in vintage frame

This is the kind of frame just crying out for something pretty to live in it. I painted it with yep, you know what, added a little wax for a creamy finish then rediscovered some of that delicate gilding underneath. For the image I chose a vintage style paper and used a decoupage technique to add some flying butterflies for a collage-y feel.

Antique chair prints {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Antique chairs print

Antique sofas print

Both these frames and the prints came from Ardingly antiques market. I chose a Duck Egg Blue for the frame {Annie Sloan, of course} and followed that colour scheme through into the prints by adding a delicate wash of colour to the architectural style sketches. A dramatic mount with black interior gives this classy little couple a graphic finish.

Commissions {contact me if you have something similar in mind}

A friend of mine came across my collection of frames {casually stacked and cluttering up my hallway} and asked if I would frame two of her recent acquisitions – a sweet Rob Ryan original and a Clerk Ink Well letterpress poster.

Rob Ryan in vintage frame

For the Rob Ryan I chose a decorative little gilded number, painted it in Annie Sloan Old White and gave it an antique white mount just so it could be shown off in all its simple, endearing splendor.

Clerk Ink Well poster in vintage frame

The letterpress poster makes a bold statement, so it had to be something grand in dimension, but unfussy in its detail for the frame. It’s been deliberately knocked about and distressed for bashed-up appeal and I couldn’t resist giving the pared back print an unashamedly self-confident mount in berry and black to match its cheeky {fabulous} sentiment.

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