Jan. 22nd, 2014

Arisia, such as it was, was rather a blur for me this year. I was only there for the day on Saturday, and even then only because I was on two program items: the "Picture Framer's Docent Tour Of The Art Show" and another talk on picture framing for artists in the afternoon.

It actually started the day before. I was at work on Friday when I get a panic call from the art show director: apparently three of Lubov's frames had broken in shipping and could I fix them? We helped them out of a jam last year when the glass broke in one of Roger Dean's frames, so they figured they'd try us again.

Their layman descriptions of the damage were of limited usefulness, so I asked them to email me pictures. Once I got the pictures I knew what I was up against -- several of the miters had broken apart.

Saturday morning at the butt-crack of dawn I go to the shop, pack up some tools and supplies along with the framing examples for my afternoon talk and take the first train into town. The art show wasn't even open when I got there, but one of the staffers knew what I was there for and let me in. Then it was a bit of "hurry-up-and-wait" while they tried to track down Lubov to show me the patients. This gave me a chance to wander through the art show and make mental notes for my docent tour.

Eventually Lubov's assistant shows up, fetches the broken frame bits, and I set up on a couple of tables. Long story short, I was able to re-join the frames and reinforce the corners. Not my best work and certainly not of the quality I'd let out of my shop, but I told them that it was field surgery and it would last through the weekend at least. They were positively thrilled and hailed me as a "miracle worker". Well, if they're happy then I'm happy :)

Then came my docent tour. It was a nice little crowd, about a half-dozen people more or less. One of them was an artist with a lot of questions. There were some nice examples of creative framing, a few things that I would have done differently, and one or two creative things that made me want to run right back to the shop to play with possibilities :) In a couple of cases artists framed nearly identical items with different frames so I could point out the difference that frame choice can make.

There was one "uh-oh" moment when I pointed out that the frames chosen for a particular trio of items would not have been my first choice. The artist-with-questions piped up "Actually, this is my panel" Open mouth, insert foot? Not really this time; turns out *she* was not entirely happy with those frames either.

I got to point out my work in the show as well; two of the artists had had giclee prints done at my shop.

Tour over, I wandered around for a while -- dealers room, con suite, hotel lobby, trying to run into as many friends as I could for at least a drive-by hello or hug. I don't get out to very many parties or such these days, so I wanted to connect with as many folks as I could.

Then it was time for my talk. Although it was primarily geared for artists, I made sure there was enough material for non-artists so as to make it worthwhile for everybody. I really was kind of winging it; I had a list of suggested topics on my iPad, and I'd made up some examples the night before. The first thing I showed was the same print framed different ways: first just the print alone in a clear bag, then the print in a same-sized frame with no mat, then the print with a white mat in an economy standard-sized frame, then finally a full custom frame with double mat and well-chosen moulding. Seeing these all next to each other really shows off how different the same piece of art looks when framed. I then talked about mounting and hinging techniques, showing both positive and negative examples ("Repeat after me: MASKING TAPE IS EVIL!"). Finally I gave some tips for the artists on how to keep framers happy (Don't paint right to the edge of the paper, leave a border around your image, and for the love of all that is holy FIX YOUR PASTELS!)

All this was interspersed with various war stories about particularly memorable jobs in the shop.

The talk was very well-received; one guy came up to me afterwards and said he learned more from my talk than any other panel he'd been to.

After that it was more hanging out until it was time to take the train back home. It would have been nice to have stayed for parties and the like, but my cellphone was dead and I needed to get back in case something needed my attention at the shop.

I notice that the four-day format gives the con a different vibe and made me sad that I was only there for Saturday. Most cons the bulk of the "good stuff" happens on Saturday. Having a second "full day" of good stuff is a real treat. Wish I could have taken advantage of it.

I'm hoping that by next year we'll have the shop-staffing and cat-sitting situation sorted out enough so that we *can* go for the whole con.

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