Thursday, November 04, 2021

The Old Frame Shop is Back Open


Today I had two tasks to take care of at the Studio.  First was clear off my table enough that I could use it to cut a window mat.  The second was to get out my mat cutting machine and cut the thing and then frame the new work.  

My table is a bit of a mess.  Half is covered with old blocks and occasionally prints.  Some of this is leftover from Hurricane Sandy.  What wasn't destroyed by flood, I quickly got out of the basement and to my car.  Shortly after that, I took whatever was stashed in my car and moved it to the Studio.   Some is in smaller boxes on the shelves, some just got stacked on the table.  Occasionally I have pulled stuff out of this pile, so it has become a bit disorganized.  The Studio being broken into last year didn't help matters either.  I have a portion of it that is clear of the mess, with some large boards on top that I slide out of the way so I can work, and put back when I leave.  However I knew my specially hand built mat cutting machine (some tongue and groove boards I found in my home basement, some other scraps of wood, a long heavy straight edge with a beveled cutting side, a long strip of lattice wood, a C-clamp, a squeeze clamp, and a hand held bevel cutter) takes up a bit of room, so this needed to be done first.

For music I put on my disc of the Reverend Horton Heat.  I learned of this band back in grad school, a tape that was sent to me by a professor who had been a visiting printmaker.  The cover of the cassette was the image from the album "The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of Reverend Horton Heat" with his added words, "This is not for Sunday."  He wasn't kidding.  This is straight up Texas psychobilly, and I eventually got that album on disc.  This disc is a copy of that album and eleven more songs from a greatest hits compilation.  I had always assumed that the leader of the trio was Horton Heat, but I learned years later that the singer's name was actually Jim Heath.  Makes no difference.  When that ended, I put on a compilation of Billy Childish songs from a double CD set pulled from maybe 50 different albums from different bands he had.  (one write up once stated that he'd rather sell 1000 copies each of fifty different albums than 50,000 copies of one album) Not psychobilly, but various low fidelity styles of garage rock.  It worked together.

So I started with the table.  I threw away a few things, put a few things away, and reorganized some stuff, while checking out what was actually there.  When I was done (and swept away lots of sawdust and splinters) I had a lot more table to work with.  (again, if I ever get the photos out of my phone, I have one of this)  

With that done, I moved on to the framing project.  I moved my mat cutting machine from behind the drying rack and to the table, which was quite an ordeal.  I had brought with me the framed piece I was planning to take apart for my brother's piece.

Looking through the rack of framed artworks, I decided to use this one for the frame. It's called "Kitchen Print", based on a dishtowel I had gotten as a Christmas present.  The original towel had a pizza theme, with the red checkerboard pattern seen above, but with slices of pizza on top, the words "Pizza Toppings" at the top and bottom, and in handwritten words all around the slices, the names of various toppings.  In this version (I think made at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an artist colony I had received a fellowship to), the name of the towel was changed to "Household Chemicals", the images are of items found in the basement (leftover from what my grandfather left behind when he moved), and words in script are all taken from the labels of those containers.  Things like, "alkyd resin", "Control noA-27148", "clear gloss varnish", and "aluminum paste".  I wasn't sure of the last time I showed it, but I do have a document on my computer listing exhibitions, and I found two references to this work, a juried art show at Monmouth Museum back in 1999, and in Belmar in 2013 (where I found this image on this blog).  Can't think of any place I need to show this piece any time soon, so it became the candidate to donate its frame. 

I couldn't find a flat head screwdriver of the right size to unscrew the brackets that hold the frame together (we do have 6 philips head screwdrivers in the drawer in the kitchen), so I hoped there would be one up at the Studio I could use.  I knew I had had one there, but the place was broken into last year and my locking cabinet torn open.  I had determined that the responsible party had not stolen my bevel mat cutter (I had lost a tote bag, and they took some of Molly's old power tools, but left behind lots of stuff that was probably more valuable, certainly more costly to us artists), but I hadn't checked for anything else.  When I got there I checked the drawer, and there it was.  An added bonus- my spare roll of pH neutral linen tape, which I use for hinges to hold the artwork. 

I started by taking apart the framed work, and measured the previous mat for the outer size, then cut my new mat board to meet those dimensions.  I had brought my brother's poster with me, and used that to measure what I would need for the window, and marked that in pencil, and cut it out with the bevel cutter.  After that, pieces of linen tape to secure the poster in place, reassembled it, put it all in the frame, and screwed it together. It looked good, so I decided to clean up.  I put away my mat cutting machine, and found I had a bigger table space than I had before.  Took two trips to get it all to the car, but better safe than sorry.


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