A Hand Finished Frame

I was recently asked to make a frame to surround a picture being entered for the Association of Wildlife Artists annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.

The artist wanted a simple square profile in gold. I suggested a hand finished frame with a distressed gold finish. The wood was to be solid ash.

As the frame was to be made from a single profile it was therefore fairly simple to make.

The frame was cut from a simple square ash profile which was then hand painted with several layers of gesso. The finish was to be fairly rough and to have an aged look so rubbing down and smoothing was limited to a quick removal of the high spots and any rough edges.

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The next step was to apply the ‘bole’. Traditionally this is made from red clay and is used prior to water gilding to provide a porous but perfectly smooth surface on which to lay the gold leaf. In this case, however the bole was to provide the effect of ageing and to be seen through the gold when finally finished. Two coats of red clay frame paint were applied.

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Finally a layer of Liberon gilt varnish was applied and when dry rubbed back to reveal the red clay undercoat. This was done gently to give a patchy, aged look. Finally the frame was waxed, the back was taped and it was packed up and dispatched along with all the fittings required for fitting the canvas and hanging.

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I really enjoy making this type of hand finished frame and will be expanding the range of frames offered both on-line and at the workshop.

Frames are supplied in a tough shipping box made in our workshop. This provides good protection for the frame in transit and can be used for onward shipping if you need to submit your work via art couriers.

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