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If you're anything like me, you'll have a small (ok, not so small...) collection of prints, artwork, precious items and souvenirs that you've been meaning to get framed for goodness knows how long! Thinking about it, the reason my particular collection of unframed treasures keeps growing, is probably because it seems quite a daunting prospect... Will I make the right choices? Will it cost twice as much as the picture or souvenir itself?
Happily, my recent experience with Bev Saunders at Edge Bespoke Picture Framing (ably assisted by Bonkers the cat), has shown me just how enjoyable and rewarding the process can be!
One of the advantages of running Keep it in Kent is that Steve and I get to meet and get to know so many different independent business owners throughout Kent. As soon as Bev joined Keep it in Kent as one of our Members, I said to Steve "There's no excuse not to get some of our pictures framed now!"
The difficult part was going to decide which pictures to choose! It was back in 2014, that I had spotted a Facebook link to a "Kickstarter" crowd funding campaign by Francesca Baur to fund her fantastic screen printed sustainable textile business "Fable and Base"... I was delighted to be able to offer our support by way of a small donation, and was thrilled to receive a very lovely limited edition print as a thank you. The gorgeous print has been sitting balanced on a shelf in my kitchen, in its original cellophane, with a hand written thank you from Francesca, since then! So when I was picking some pictures for Bev to frame for us, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to combine the talent of two of Kent's entrepreneur creatives!
I also selected two smaller prints for framing that Steve and I had bought whilst on a trip to Cordoba for our first wedding anniversary last September. They were sweet little blue and white Moorish prints which I was keen to get framed before our 2nd anniversary this year.
I arrived at Bev's studio to a friendly welcome, and we got down to the task of selecting the best materials for the job. Unlike a high street framer I'd used in the past, Bev was really interested in the artwork, and we chatted about the significance of each of them. I was interested to learn that Bev's background in Textiles meant that there was a real synergy with Francesca's work at Fable and Base, and her colour consultancy experience helped her to find the best way to showcase the prints for me. We worked together, looking at different options for the frames, mounts and even the most appropriate glass type suited to where I would be hanging them (who knew?!) Once we were both happy with the choices, Bev tapped the details into her very efficient billing software, and gave me a detailed pricing for the job based on all the different sizes and options.
Bev's framing service is clearly very different to picking up an off-the-shelf cheap frame from the supermarket. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it wasn't going to be nearly as expensive as I thought it could be...
A couple of weeks after the consultation, Bev called to tell me that my pictures were ready to be collected. This time, Steve and I drove over to the Edge studio in Hythe together. We were both thrilled with the results! Seeing all three prints properly and lovingly framed somehow gave them the respect and tlc they had always deserved!
Business over, we had time to chat over a cuppa, and I asked Bev a bit more about her background and the framing business she's been running for the past four years. She explained that it's important to her to develop a relationship with her clients as well as the work they're presenting. It helps her to put everything into getting it right both aesthetically and technically for them. She fondly recounted a time that she framed a signed One Direction t-shirt for a poorly little girl, which meant the world to her. "With bespoke framing, you never know what's coming through the door", Bev explained. Bespoke framing isn't just for photos, prints, drawings and artwork, it can be an antique, or something precious - such as the Tower of London commemorative Poppy that she recently enjoyed framing. As well as her background in textiles and colour consultancy, Bev draws on her training in, and love of interior design. She's also at the stage where she's able to pass on her knowledge to those who are learning the craft, and has had articles published in a national Art and Framing magazine.
Bev is extremely flexible in her approach to business, and is just as happy taking on a one off framing project as she is taking on larger commissions from local businesses. Bev is currently busy framing a wonderful collection of photographs that will soon be adorning the walls of a local hotel...
So if you are like me, and you do have some precious images, or artwork stashed away, crying out to be properly framed and displayed... then why not give Bev a call and arrange to have a no-obligation consultation? I'm sure you'll be as delighted as we are with the end result!
For Bev's contact details, check out the Edge Bespoke Picture Framing listing in the Keep it in Kent Directory
May 1959. I was born into a traditional Lincolnshire family, and to the disappointment of my Dad, I wasn’t a boy. Sibling rivalry ensued when my brother arrived five-years later, and although he proved academically more gifted, he lacked tenacity. That wasn’t a problem for me; my dedication resulted in an A-level in Art and a place at Croydon Art College studying textile design. Hard work and missing out on late-night parties resulted in me staying consistently in the top five students. The freedom to experiment, and develop knowledge of the textile industry just filled my world (much to the disenchantment of my landlady who moaned that I used too much electricity and gas).
I spent the early years of my working life trying to maintain a foothold in a creative career, every now and then having to dip out and diversify to maintain an income, but never giving up. During one of these diversities, a breakthrough came when I asked a simple question of a picture framer, “Need any help?” What was meant to be a temporary situation resulted in me working with the best picture framer in Bristol for seven years, no longer producing the artwork, but enhancing it through creative presentation.
These happy days came to an end with a promotion for my husband and a move to Kent. I worked for a local joinery company, designing but sadly clashed, as many did with the company manager, and decided it was time for a change. Having caught the attention of the creative director he opened doors for me in designing specialist joinery and furniture. I found a new job but recession soon hit, and was looking for another in a fickle market. I ended up taking anything and spent a soul-destroying seven years with the local authority as an events facilitator, battling with bureaucracy, managers and the public. I was a square peg in a round hole and longed to get back to my passion.
Those dark years ended when a friend bought a collection of second-hand picture framing equipment I could use. He didn’t want to go into partnership, and after struggling with the ethics of setting myself up in competition with him, I did anyway (he’s still a good mate).
By spring 2012 the creative edge and quality of my work got around, I converted the garage and built an extension to accommodate a picture framing workshop. I was on my way but an enforced six-month ‘break’ after a nasty ice-skating accident only allowed me to create a list of prospective clients!
Now life is exciting, I’m a member and have featured in The Fine Art Trade Guild trade magazine, and I have an active Blog about picture framing, from the aesthetics to the technical; helping clients understand picture framing. Framing has become my life and when I’m not ‘doing’, I’m teaching, and love fascinating people with how much there is to designing and manufacturing something that on the surface seems so simple.
I particularly enjoy working with artists and photographers on major projects, such as Kathryn Rennie, a talented artist whose inaugural exhibition in her new Canterbury gallery was in March 2016. Now I’m encouraging business owners to create stimulating workspace for staff by providing beautifully framed prints and original work.
I think Dad would be proud.
... Yes Bev, we think he would!
Tina and Steve x