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Friday, December 14, 2018

Framing with an Artist's Eye at Framed NKY

Framed NKY is open for business and features the work of local artists as well as framing services.
By Robin Gee

The framing of art is an art itself says Jennifer Sierra, whose new frame shop and gallery, Framed NKY, opened this fall in Fort Thomas.

"Framing protects and preserves the art, but it also enhances it."

When choosing a frame, she said, it’s important to know as much about where the artwork will go as it is the artwork itself. A frame is a design choice and must fit in with the environment around it. Framing art, if done well, is also an exacting and careful craft.

 "You want somebody who knows how to handle the art without damaging it…cutting the matt and hand fitting with care, there’s an art to that as well."

The right place at the right time

Sierra is an artist and author. She owned a gallery a few years ago but was not looking for a new business. She was driving through Fort Thomas one day last August and what happened next can be described as "serendipitous."

"I saw a sign that Ken Bowman was closing his store. I had many of my pieces framed there when I was an active artist, and I felt he and his staff’s work was meticulous. So, I stopped the car and went in to ask why he was selling."

Bowman was ready to leave the business after 30 years, but he still had a strong clientele. Over the course of their conversation he asked Sierra if she was interested.

"It was not my intention, but I thought about it and I thought 'I just can’t let this go.' And since I bought the place, many people have stopped by to thank me."

Sierra brings with her an artist’s eye. "For framing you need a very good design sense, a knowledge of architectural styles, design styles to help people determine the best frame for a piece of art."

Good framers not only know what kind of mat and frame to use with each piece of art but what type of glass is needed to protect the item and prevent glare as well as what will work within a space. It’s a wholistic approach, said Sierra. "There’s a dance to it."

Local and regional artists featured

Sierra said she was excited to be able to keep former employees on as part of her plan to maintain high quality framing at the site. She has painted and redesigned the store’s interior and added signage for the new business, which puts an emphasis on providing access to local art and artists as well as framing.

"I want to use the space to introduce local and regional artists. I will curate a new show about every eight weeks," she said.

Her first artists are Cincinnati-based Paula Wiggins and Fort Thomas native Beverly Erschell, whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Erschell designed a commemorative holiday ornament for Framed NKY, now available at the store. Sierra said she is starting a tradition of offering a new ornament designed by a different local artist each year.

Collectable ornament by Beverly Erschell

Art isn’t the only thing people want framed. Sierra has been working on reframing a customer’s museum-level collection of Hank Williams memorabilia. It’s not uncommon, she said, for people to want to frame team jerseys, prized collections, almost anything.

"These days we are doing a lot of tv framing. We can do all sorts of things with that. It carries the same possibilities as framing a picture. Your tv can be made to look like a work of art. It’s fun to be able to think of new ways to do new things," she said.

The window for turnaround on framing for the holidays is slim at this point, but Framed NKY offers gift certificates as well as a wide variety of art-related gift items. In addition to the Erschell ornament, the store offers other artist inspired ornaments, such as those featuring local favorite Charlie Harper’s work as well as artist-designed notecards and other small gifts.

Sierra’s own children’s book, Merry Christmas, Y’all – A Kentucky Christmas Story, as well as a children’s book by Erschell, are also available at the store.

Framed NKY offers artist-designed gift items as well as framing.

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