Recently in Oversized Frames Category

What's In A Frame?

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What distinguishes a handcrafted frame?

Closed corner picture frames are the ultimate in framing joinery. Our frames are made 'one of a kind. one at a time' to specific dimensions as specified by our customers. Each of our artisans has years of experience creating frames of fine craftsmanship. This is how it's done...frame2.jpg

The strength of splined joinery

On each mitred frame corner we route a slot and insert a wooden spline. We find the strength of this traditional joinery technique vastly superior to the standard nailed picture frame joint.

Meticulous surface preparation

Each natural wood finish requires scraping and sanding with papers of different grit levels. This attention to detail is critical to reveal the distinctive character of the wood.

The versatility of composition

Available in hundreds of patterns, prepared ornaments can be steamed and applied to our frames. This allows us to create unique frame designs at a reasonable price.

Skilled hand carving

Our highly skilled artisans cut the appropriate ornamentation into the frame by hand.

The ability of gesso surfaces

Traditional gesso is a combination of rabbit skin glue and whiting which can be applied only when warm. The preparation and application of gesso is basic to the overall design of the frame. Areas to be given a highly burnished look must be painted with several coats of gesso and meticulously sanded and polished. We may also sponge or stipple the gesso onto areas that will be matte gilded to add texture and interest.

Custom undercoating

We paint the gesso layers with various colors to compliment the artwork. Depending on the effect desired, these colors may be spattered, stippled or wiped onto the surface.

Unique applications of metal leaf

We apply an oil-based size on the colored surface to accept aluminum, brass, copper or variegated leaf. These can be applied evenly or, for more texture, they can be crushed or cracked over the surface. One of our specialties is the combination of different leaves to achieve a unique iridescence.

The character of tarnishing

We achieve some very interesting results using chemicals that react with copper, brass or silver leaf to enhance aspects of the artwork.

The elegance of genuine gold leafing

First, we brush very thin coats of rabbit skin glue mixed with clay onto the frame. This 'bole' acts as an adherent for the leaf. After the clay dries, our artisans float water onto small areas of the frame to activate the glue, which then accepts the gold leaf. Using a wide squirrel hair brush, thin sections of 12k, 16k, 22k gold or silver are carefully applied.


We create a mirror-like polish on carved or raised areas of the frame by burnishing the gold leaf with the rounded tip of an agate stone.

The art of patination

In patination, we use various finishing techniques to bring together the surface, undercoats and leaf in the way that best compliments the artwork. Patination is a process of reworking the finish through distressing, glazing, rubbing through the leaf, spattering, stippling, sponging on casein and dusting.

(photo courtesy of Gallery C)

Frames by Edward Wright artisan Brooks Ann wrote about the custom picture frame she designed to house a valuable Art Nouveau opera poster. Today, we'll begin to look in more detail at how this unique frame came together. Click to see how Brooks Ann designed the custom hand carving.

Frames by Edward Wright recently completed a custom frame which was featured in Carolina Home + Garden magazine. The frame was part of a luxurious condo in Asheville, NC, designed by interior designer Krista Washam LaBlue.

"The homeowner requested that the television set be hidden when not in use -- quite a challenge without introducing an entertainment center. LaBlue's solution was ingenious. A Séura television from CWB Technologies was integrated into a massive mirror over the mantle and surrounded by a custom 6-inch-deep frame by Blackbird Frame and Art."

Such a strong room design demanded a strong frame design. Our client, Blackbird Frame and Art, turned to Frames by Edward Wright. They specified a 5-inch wide moulding, CM-5. We added buildup to make a 6" deep frame that could accommodate the television behind the mirror. A deep cut was added to the top of the frame, for air venting. Tarnished silver leaf provided a subtle, beautiful finish. The result is a versatile technical solution which is simply an elegant mirror frame when the television is not in use.
Frames by Edward Wright recently completed this custom picture frame for a client in the Charlotte, NC area.
IMG_9180.JPGThe frame is based on our sample #5406, with extensive customization by the client to suit her specific needs. She changed the moulding to our SS, a 3-inch moulding, and modified the design of the hand carving. As the finishing touch she specified rounded corners. The client worked closely with our artisan Brooks Ann on her requested modifications, and even provided a detailed drawing, making this custom design a pleasure to create:
5355-sketch.jpg The frame is gilded in precious metals, with tarnished silver across most of the surface and 22k gold on the highlights. At 31" wide and almost 48" tall, this oversized frame is a unique creation which complements the artwork which will be placed inside it.

A Unique Order

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by Brooks Ann

Recently, I got a call from one of our local retailers. She had a customer who needed a very special frame for a very special piece of art. Naturally, her first choice was to work with Frames by Edward Wright to create a completely custom frame.


The piece was a colorful Art Nouveau German Opera Poster from 1898 by Adolph Hohenstien which was approximately 9 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The customer liked our sample 5353 (with a tarnished sliver finish and our latium blue clay undercoat), but wanted a completely custom carve to complement the piece.


I was called in for a consultation to discuss the details of this unique order. When I arrived at our customer's shop, the huge piece took up almost their entire workroom! Due to the height restrictions of the room that the art will ultimately hang, the molding chosen could only be two and a half inches wide and the inside rabbet had to be cut deeper. We discussed the creation of a large asymmetrical Nouveau- inspired corner carve that would drape down the sides of the frame. After taking some photos, I truly became inspired by the beautiful piece and was excited to get started on the order.

IMG_9047.JPGI started researching Art Nouveau decorations, graphics and ornaments that had the same spirit as the piece itself as a starting point for the custom carve. I then cut the raw wood molding to size and began penciling, erasing, drawing, redrawing, and staring at the designs until I was satisfied with how it looked on the frame before carving. I usually carve frames by clamping it into a vice, but because this frame was so big, I clamped it to some tables and began to hand carve the custom design. After hours of hand chiseling, gouging and sanding, I finally had the frame carved enough to join the corners.

I joined the raw wood and added a buildup using the customer's custom dimensions. I created some custom braces to hold the frame in shape until the artwork and glass could be installed at our customer's shop. I carefully rounded each corner using a palm sander and finished the final details of the carve before the first coat of gesso was applied. I then continued our frame making process of gessoing, sanding, undercoating, water gilding the silver leaf, burnishing, tarnishing, antiquing, waxing and dusting this unique oversize frame.

The end result was stunning and a true collaboration between the customers and the artisan. For me, this was a 'dream order' that truly allowed me to create a 'work of art' to complement and house a work of art! The end-customer loved his custom frame and has since become a loyal customer of our retailer, customizing our frames for other works of art in his collection.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Oversized Frames category.

New at Frames by Edward Wright is the previous category.

patination is the next category.

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