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BUSINESS ÂŁ6.50 April 2014

Retail sales advice Frame pricing survey

Focus on digital paper Business tips


Contents Art Business Today, April 2014, Issue 2



First published June 1905 as the Fine Art Trade Journal


An extended business section made possible by support from Arqadia 28 People buy from people Tips on how to make sales and develop loyal customers 32 Keeping it local Building a rapport with your local community is essential 36 Putting digital media in the frame Does social media activity actually help your bottom line? 38 The price is right? The results of ABT’s frame pricing survey are analysed


ART 42 Pricing artwork: a guide for artists The Guild’s Fine Art Committee share their expertise 44 Choosing digital paper Guidelines for artists on which paper may be best for their work


FRAMING 52 Supersize frame Mark Greer makes a water gilded 14.5’ frame that weighs 35 stone 58 Rising to the challenge Richard Williams GCF takes on some unusual framing jobs


REGULARS 8 Trade news 16 Comment 23 Face to face: Mary Shaw 24 Product news 41 The art of good business 50 Business tips for artists 56 Pete Bingham’s agony 63 Trade secrets 64 B2B: classifieds 66 Last word: Isabel Garcia Imhof, Wimbledon Art Studios

COVER In the Straw by Kate Wyatt is published by Buckingham Fine Art. See their advertisment on page 3. ART BUSINESS TODAY

16 April 2014 5

Letter from the editor Selling art and framing in the 21st century

Art Business Today Published by the Fine Art Trade Guild 16-18 Empress Place, London SW6 1TT, UK T: +44 (0)20 7381 6616 Publisher Louise Hay Editor Annabelle Ruston Advertising manager Kasia Szkolnicka Subscriptions Moira Sanders Contributors Emma Bell Pete Bingham GCF Steve Burke Mark Greer Eve Parkin Alan Reed Richard Williams GCF Leszek Wolnik Publication dates Art Business Today is published five times per year: January, April, June, August and October Subscriptions 2014 UK Europe World One year £30 £36 £44 Two years £53 £62 £74 To subscribe, call 020 7381 6616 or visit our website,, and click on the ‘go to Art Business Today magazine’ button Liability ©All rights reserved. ABT is intended to inform but no liability can be accepted for action taken, or not taken, in reliance on it Guild CEO Louise Hay Master of the Guild Steve McKee GCF Adv Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

6 April 2014


he way we sell art has shifted, subtly yet significantly, since the 1980s,’ a gallery owner informed me at this year’s London Art Fair. Back then, apparently, buyers were susceptible to aggressive marketing messages and sales techniques. The UK business environment was being modernised and Americanised, so people found the direct approach refreshingly invigorating. ‘If I hung some decent pictures on the wall and my prices were fair, people would buy them,’ explained another dealer. ‘It was a straightforward transaction. Now, when people buy art they are buying into something more complicated.’ This change has been driven by the internet: you can buy anything at any price online, and find the best deal in a couple of keystrokes, but it’s a cold, charmless exchange devoid of human contact, driven by cost and convenience. Since we are sociable beings this style of transaction does not satisfy us; it’s fine for household necessities and the weekly supermarket shop, but people seek to balance this retail experience with more intimate or community-based exchanges. Therefore when people buy face-to-face from galleries, bespoke framers or artists today they are looking for a more enjoyable, enriching experience. They want a bit of theatre, anecdotes they can tell their friends about, a taste of the life of the romanic artist, or at least some hospitality. They could buy a landscape painting online after all, but it’s more fun to visit an open studio event. ‘Gallery owners have to invest in the community now, and form bonds with customers. People don’t want to dash in and buy a painting in ten seconds they could do that online - they want to have lunch and discuss their views on art. They want me to help develop their perception of themselves as art collectors. They want to be part of the London art scene,’ said my new friend. We are all business-savvy these days and we can see through sales techniques that might have convinced in the 1980s. The hard sell seems a bit tawdry and dated. But we’re all susceptible to being made to feel knowledgeable or clever, to being flattered with the attention of an expert. An estate agent friend of mine, who’s been in the business for many years, has just started sponsoring a series of lectures on art and politics at a local homeless shelter, and now holds rotating displays of local artists’ work in her shop. She’s never done anything like it before, but she recognises that to succeed in today’s business environment she needs to consolidate her position as a friendly neighbourhood business with the interests of local people at heart. The commission-hungry estate agent of the 1980s boom doesn’t appeal to today’s customers. An article in the Guardian entitled ‘The changing face of shop culture’ compounded my thoughts. ‘Retail is getting complicated,’ began the piece. ‘It is no longer a case of simply stocking shelves with desirable goods and waiting for shoppers to flock through the doors. Consumers are becoming more demanding.’ Apparently retailers have to provide seamless customer service, otherwise we lambast them via social media, message boards and online reviews. And they’ve got to provide a pleasurable shopping experience, convey expertise and honesty and, above all, show that they care about their customers and community. That may all sound rather exhausting, and quite complicated, but running a business according to these 21st century retailing principles will surely allow creative types to flourish, which can only be good for artists, framers and gallery owners. Annabelle Ruston ART BUSINESS TODAY

News Please email news stories to

The handengraved glass trophy that will be presented to the winners

Art and framing awards finalists revealed Art Business Website sponsor: e-mango Art Retailer sponsor: Besso Ltd Angles of Art Creative Picture Framing Fruit Art / Norton Print & Frame Haddon Galleries Harrison Lord Best Mount Design sponsor: Framers Corner/Wizard Andrea Cooke GCF, Picture It Cath Friend GCF, Emerald Frames David Wilkie GCF, The Eagle Gallery Emma Wright, The Framery Simon Jay GCF, Frames to You Stuart Hibberdine GCF, Angles of Art

Best Selling Published Artist sponsor: Arqadia Alister Colley Kerry Darlington Mark Braithwaite Mary Ann Rogers Mary Shaw Richard Young Customer Service sponsor: Fine Art Trade Guild Arqadia LION Picture Framing Supplies Wessex Pictures Guild Challenge Award sponsor: Valiani Ann Carroll, Picture This Art & Framing Cath Friend GCF, Emerald Frames Kevin Nihill, The Eagle Gallery Simon Jay GCF, Frames to You Tanous Frames

Innovation sponsor: i2i Events Group Art Retail Network for their online gallery solution LION Picture Framing Supplies for the MW Hanger Slater Harrison for Colourmount’s triple-mount effect monochrome mountboard Lion Picture & Frames (India) for their bevelled glass picture plaque Up & Coming Published Artist sponsor: Daler-Rowney Antonio Russo Cheri Hunston Jackie Gale John Withey Leigh Lambert Lhouette


HAMPAGNE CORKS are popping and celebrations are underway since the Fine Art Trade Guild, organisers of the annual Art & Framing Convention, announced a particularly strong shortlist for this year’s fiercely contested awards. Both technical framing awards were judged anonymously by a panel which included D&J Simons’ Joe Davis, Topmount’s Jenny Isaacson GCF, Framers Corner’s Sam Cook and the Guild’s own Stephanie Winn. The trade and the public voted online for the two artist awards, and a staggering 2000 votes were received. Art and framing businesses made online nominations for the customer service award, and while many companies were nominated, three stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Entries for the other awards were assessed by a panel of experts. The deadline for the Digital Printer of the Year, which is sponsored by PermaJet, has been extended to 11 April. Fine art printers wishing to submit their work should visit to see entry details in full. ‘We will be awarding Best in Show for the Guild Artists’ Exhibition,’ says CEO Louise Hay, ‘And this year for the first time there will be an award for Best Frame in the framing awards display, which will be voted for by attendees. All frames will be displayed, so even if your piece is not a finalist you could still be a winner.’ The overall winners will be revealed at the awards dinner on Saturday 17 May at the Holiday Inn, Elstree. This glamorous black tie event is an opportunity to celebrate what’s best about our industry and to network with D&J Simons’ Joe Davis other like-minded professionals. Tickets for the whole awards helps judge the weekend are £112 + VAT per person, for those sharing a room, technical framing awards (top) and a which includes dinner, hotel room, a full English breakfast and hand gilded and finished frame from access to all training sessions. Tanous, which made it to the shortlist 8 April 2014


NEWS A previous Making Pictures event in Bristol

ABT expands its online offering

Making Pictures dates announced THREE MAKING Pictures mini-trade shows have been announced by organiser, the Fine Art Trade Guild. The first event will take place on Wednesday 23 April at FW Holroyd in Glasgow; the second on Monday 23 June at Haddon Galleries in Torquay, and the third will be held on Thursday 10 July at Arqadia’s Bedford HQ. The Making Pictures formula has proved extremely popular with artists, framers and gallery owners over the last few years. Events are held in the evening, with refreshments available, and visitors are able to chat informally with a range of suppliers. There are demonstrations of printing techniques, frame finishing, image capture, framing equipment and more. Highlights of the Bedford event include Mal Reynolds GCF Adv presenting talks on conservation framing; Peter Cleevely GCF demonstrating creative mountcutting techniques; Neil Duguid discussing the concept of up-selling; framing demos from Jan Stanlick GCF and Stuart McMahon; Mark Wilson on framing pricing; and Eve Parkin on PR and social media. Arqadia are kindly providing refreshments and the event is free to attend.

ART BUSINESS Today’s online version regularly attracts 3000 readers per month, and this month the Fine Art Trade Guild / Art Business Today website attracted 13,000 visits, 10,000 of which were unique. In the light of this rapidly growing popularity, ABT’s online presence is being expanded. To complement the successful digital page-flip version of the magazine, an online ABT news section is being launched, which will be regularly updated with important industry news, forthcoming events and launches. ‘Research shows that our readers hold onto ABT for many months and frequently refer to each copy,’ says editor Annabelle Ruston. ‘Our print and online versions have a loyal readership; the launch of the newsfeed will develop our reach even further.’ Please email news and views to

Contemporary art in Reading THE FIFTH Reading Contemporary Art Fair will take place on 26 and 27 April, showcasing work from over 100 artists, with prices between £40 and £4000. Exhibitors are from all over the UK, but there’s an emphasis on local artists and galleries, such as Emerald Gallery, Art in Bloom, Angles of Art and Art on the Street CIC. Visitors can participate in printing and drawing workshops, with sessions on drypoint etching, collage and drawing with ink. Miniature canvases donated by exhibiting artists will be on sale for £40 each to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. Winter Plum by Karen Hollis, whose business, Art in Bloom, will be exhibiting at the fair


The online page-flip version of ABT already attracts 3000 readers each month

Guild AGM THE FINE Art Trade Guild’s AGM will take place at 9.30am on Sunday 18 May at the Holiday Inn, Elstree, during the Art & Framing Convention. All members are welcome to attend. If you would like to stand for the Court, contact CEO Louise Hay, April 2014 9


Individuated editions sell out SELECTIVE PRINTS are pleased to report that their new individuated editions sold out within 24 hours, so a further eight images are now available. The images are published in editions of 30, but each one is handembellished so no two are the same.

New Emafyl website EMAFYL, THE UK manufacturers of extruded polystyrene mouldings, has launched a new website. The site includes a comprehensive search function, making it easy to track down mouldings of the design, colour, size and rebate depth that you require. Mouldings can be ordered online from this clean, easy-tonavigate website. ‘We are proud of the new product search facility,’ says company director Daniel Simons, ‘as well as the shopping basket management function. Users can browse over 600 mouldings, compare products, request samples and even buy gift vouchers.’

Wild Apple catalogue THE NEW catalogue from US publisher Wild Apple Graphics features work from more than 40 artists. ‘We are very proud of this catalogue,’ says company president John Chester. ‘The new size and layout make it a portable, ontrend book filled with amazing art, artist features, inspiration and more.’ Wild Apple’s UK distributor is Beaver Lodge Prints. 10 April 2014

Eight Trees is a signed individuated edition by Margaret Hughlock. Image size 410x410mm; trade price £70; RRP £168 (inc VAT)

Mary Portas nominates Martin Tracy GCF FOLLOWING A 12 month campaign run in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph to identify individuals who have made a difference to the survival of their high street, Mary Portas met with Martin Tracy GCF of The Framing Workshop in Bath. Martin was revealed to be one of four selected ‘champions of the high street’. Martin is the only retailer on the list; the others were residents who championed their local high streets. One helped reverse the demise of Chislehurst high street, another started an artisan market in Wilmslow and the third co-ordinated a campaign to stop Tesco and Sainsbury decimating Ledbury. ‘I couldn’t be held up as a champion of the high street,’ explains Martin, ‘without having a sublime street to work with in the first place. In the 25 years I have been trading on Walcot Street our street has never been better – we are currently in a very good place.’ Walcot, along with many high streets across the country, has been through difficult times, whether it be recession, the threat of out-of-town supermarkets/shopping malls, online shopping or the lack of interest from local and central government. ‘Our disparate and eclectic band of traders make Walcot Street fun,’ continues Martin. ‘I am immensely proud to have been selected from

hundreds of nominations from right across the country and would like to say thank you to all those who took the time to nominate me (and Walcot Street) for this national recognition.’ As chairman of the street’s traders’ association Martin has worked tirelessly to attract footfall to Walcot Street, by helping it develop a distinctive identity and staging oneoff events. ‘I truly admire individuals like Martin,’ said Mary Portas. ‘Individuals who have a vision over and above the needs of their own business and who are prepared to fight for it.’

Mary Portas and Martin Tracy GCF


Anne Hayton, Designline Systems, at a previous event

Book now for the art and framing convention DON’T MISS the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Art & Framing Convention on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 May. The event includes the Guild Artists’ Exhibition, the awards dinner, a tabletop trade show and a series of training sessions. The Guild’s AGM takes place first thing on Sunday morning. The venue is the Holiday Inn at Elstree, just north of London near the M25 and A1 motorways. On Saturday, between 1pm and 4pm, there will be a Lunch & Learn masterclass with US trainer Rob Markoff. Guests will hear Rob’s ideas on running a profitable framing business, and will be able to discuss how these can be adapted to suit their own businesses. Sunday sees a masterclass on frame design from 11am to 11.45am, then a session with Framiac’s Mark Wilson and Rob Markoff which focuses on the business side of framing (12.301.30pm). Master of the Guild Steve McKee GCF Adv will present a session on calibrating and servicing

your Morsø at 2.30pm. The evening kicks off at 6.30pm with a drinks reception and a first viewing of the frames that have made the shortlist for the technical framing awards. The three-course dinner and awards ceremony are followed by dancing to a live band. Exhibitors at the table-top trade show include Arqadia, Framiac, LifeSaver Software, LION Picture Framing Supplies, D & J Simons, Slater Harrison (the makers of Colourmount mountboard). Visitors will also be able to see the Guild Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by PermaJet, which will feature around 70 original paintings, including work from established artists such as Colin Ruffell, Gordon King and Karen Hollis. Tickets for the weekend are £112 + VAT per person, for those sharing a room, which includes dinner, hotel room, a full English breakfast and The poster for access to all training sessions. this year’s Artists’ Exhibition Paper conservator Louise Vaille and framer David Wilkie GCF (left) teaching at a previous convention Rob Markoff CPF will be teaching at this year’s convention Past framing competition winner Katie Herriman GCF

Innovation from Innova Art THE JETMASTER range attracted a lot of attention for Innova Art at The Photography Show. ‘Our on-stand demonstrations showed that it couldn’t be easier to convert flat prints into 3D products,’ says Jon Courtiour. The JetMaster Photo Panel, the latest innovation in the range, is a lightweight alternative to MDF blocks which is available in two matt finishes and a range of sizes from 5x7” to 24x32”. ART BUSINESS TODAY

April 2014 11


UP-COMING BRANCH EVENTS: dates for your diary Vettriano collection unveiled SOUTH WEST BRANCH MASTER Fiona Haddon, Haddon Galleries 01803 313133 18 Jul NORTH WEST BRANCH MASTER Anne Corless 01253 780734 17 Apr, 24 Jul, 2 Oct, 5 Dec WEST MIDLANDS REGIONAL ORGANISER Louise Hill, Imaging Warehouse 01789 739200 29 Nov REPUBLIC OF IRELAND BRANCH MASTER Leszek Wolnik, The Copper House Gallery 353 1 5354332 28 May LONDON, INC MIDDX & SURREY BRANCH MASTER Nick Hood, Hook Framing 01442 878472 24 May, 16 Jul, 24 Sept, 26 Nov

NEW LIMITED editions of Jack Vettriano’s work will be released this April by his publisher, Heartbreak Publishing. The Red Room Collection, featuring five erotic images, is available as a folio set, each one being an edition of 100 plus 30 artist’s proofs.

Three of the five images in The Red Room Collection

Jack Vettriano: A Retrospective, held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, welcomed more than 80,000 visitors and was listed as one of the top ten art shows of 2013 in the Guardian.

Mal frames Sir Joseph Banks exhibition MAL REYNOLDS GCF Adv, Harlequin Frames, was honoured to be asked to frame an exhibition entitled Joseph Banks, A Great Endeavour – A Lincolnshire Gentleman and his Legacy, which was held at The Collection, which is Lincoln’s city art gallery. The exhibition run until 11 May. ‘I was approached by the museum curator,’ explains Mal. ‘Sir Joseph Banks travelled on The Endeavour with James Cook and brought back many specimens and artifacts. He was a passionate botanist and explorer.’ Mal printed and framed certain images for the show, while others had to be framed in the presence of a Natural History Museum conservator in controlled conditions. Arqadia kindly sponsored the show and provided all the framing materials required.

COTSWOLDS REGIONAL ORGANISER Cath Friend GCF, Emerald Frames 07507 774017 22 Apr, 1 Jul, 16 Sept, 25 Nov

Details of upcoming branch events, reports on past events and information about officers and regions can be found at

12 April 2014

Mal Reynolds GCF Adv (left) with Sir David Attenborough, president of the Joseph Banks Society, at the opening of the show (photograph copyright Andy Weekes)


Spring Fair: better show, smaller art and framing section ORGANISERS i2i Events Group report that 66,500 buyers from 130 countries visited this year’s Spring Fair International. ‘What has been widely billed as the most successful show in years revealed a clear upswing in the home and gift trade, and billions of pounds worth of transactions will be carried out as a direct result of participation in the show,’ report i2i. However, there were only 50 exhibitors in the art and framing section, whereas 20 years ago there were 300. Many of those who exhibited were pleased with the show, ‘We received lots of enquiries from new customer and start-ups’, reports Ashley Younger of Wessex Pictures. ‘And our existing customers appreciated being able to handle products and talk to our staff.’ Chantry Publications have been exhibiting at Spring Fair since the 1980s. ‘It’s certainly a smaller cake, but that means we get a bigger bite,’ says Andrew Prince. ‘There were department store buyers at the show, as well as those from gift chains and garden centres. We made lots of good

contacts.’ ‘The Spring Fair was an overwhelming success for Framiac Software,’ says MD Mark Wilson. ‘There was a great deal of interest and a substantial uptake of software in the weeks that followed.’ The seminars and workshops organised by the Fine Art Trade Guild were universally well attended. Technical framing sessions included mounting limited editions and framing sports shirts, and there were seminars focusing on the business of retail and pricing for artists. US trainer Rob Markoff CPF flew to the UK specially to deliver training at the event. Due to the small size of the sector the organisers are discussing plans for re-structuring art and framing next year. Changes have not yet been finalised and the Guild is working closely with i2i Events on this. From top: Framers Corner’s Sam Cook with a customer; Rob Paston, takes an order; Mark Wilson (centre) with Mark and Dan from Art of Framing, Nantwich

Trade show in Bologna in March

AAA exhibition details announced THE ANNUAL Association of Animal Artists exhibition runs from 11 April to 18 May at the Castle Park Arts Centre in Cheshire. The show, which occupies three galleries, includes all types of animals, not just wildlife, and works are executed in a range of media. ART BUSINESS TODAY

FOLLOWING THE announcement this January that a framing and art trade show would take place in Bologna, Italy, this spring, it is reported that over 50 manufacturers are taking part on 21 and 22 March. This year’s event was marketed as FamaArt Preview and a fully-fledged FamaArt show was scheduled for 2015. However, this year’s event has grown into a proper show with exhibitors including Alfamacchine, Arqadia, Cresent, Fletcher Terry, Framers Corner, Tru Vue and Valiani confirmed. The new show is organised by Bologna Fiere in collaboration with FAMA Europe, the Frame Accessories Manufacturing Association. April 2014 13


WCAF Show: well organised and lots of training opportunities THE WEST Coast Art & Frame Show, held annually in Las Vegas, was vibrant and busy. There were around 200 exhibitors at the event, which is the largest art and framing show in the USA. Publishers taking part included Art in Motion, Rosenstiel’s and McGaw Graphics, while many major frame supplies companies were there, such as Larson Juhl, Crescent and Tru Vue. The range of training sessions available was impressive. Technical framing classes covered topics such as frame restoration, box framing and making fabric-wrapped mounts. Retail seminars covered lighting for galleries, sales strategies and customer psychology. The Fine Art Trade Guild’s Kasia Szkolnicka attended the show, ‘This show is as much about training as selling goods. There were over 100 training sessions, some free and some sponsored, and they were packed. I

went to one on frame design and another on social media marketing, and both were excellent. The show was very well organised and exhibitors made a real effort to attract visitors to their stands with offers and competitions.’ LION Picture Framing Supplies exhibited in order to promote their new US catalogue. Nicola Harrold reports, ‘It was very well attended. We were talking to a steady flow of customers from the moment it opened until closing time. Our catalogue is a new venture, so people were very interested; they loved the Everest range in particular. We gave away about 600 copies of the catalogue.’ LifeSaver Software also had a good show. ‘WCAF was really good for us,’ says Eric Crowe, ‘There was a great reception to our special offer, which makes it easy for any framer to get started with framing software.’ ‘WCAF is about education,

inspiration and motivation,’ says trainer and demonstrator Jared Davis GCF MCPF, who travelled from Australia to attend. ‘There’s an extensive offering of educational classes and workshops; virtually every aspect of our profession is covered in some form of class, which makes the journey worthwhile for people from far afield. I find WCAF to be a platform for framers and friends from around the globe to get together and share their knowledge and experience, as well as an opportunity to learn about current products and technology from many suppliers. After nine consecutive years of working and teaching at this event, I always come back with new ideas that keep me motivated until the next year.’ Next year’s show will be held at a different venue in Las Vegas, this time the Mirage Resort & Casino. The show will run from 26 to 28 January.

Graham Clarke joins Globe Theatre tour

60% off at Online Paper Co THE ONLINE Paper Company, which was founded in 1999, is offering 60 per cent off sample packs of a range of leading papers. The company’s stock includes the complete Hahnemühle range, as well as papers from Canson, PermaJet, Fotospeed, St Cuthberts Mill and Museo. The new Ilford Options Smooth Pearl Explorer Test Pack is just £3.99 and includes two sheets of each of leading papers designed to replace Ilford. Quote ABT4 for a discount and free UK shipping until 30 April. 14 April 2014

AN EXHIBITION by printmaker Graham Clarke is taking place at London’s Globe Theatre until 11 April. ‘Theatrickles is a collection of my work which expresses my love of history in general and Shakespeare in particular. In it, I explore the characters and contexts of Shakespeare’s plays. I met Sam Wanamaker several times at my studio in Kent in the early 70s, when the Globe was his great dream. 40 years later it is a pleasure to exhibit my work there, now that his dream is a reality,’ says Graham. I Will is an etching by Graham Clarke



London showcase for unrepresented artists THE OTHER Art Fair will take place for the sixth time from 24 to 27 April in Marylebone, London. The event will feature work by 100 unrepresented artists coupled with a program of talks, workshops and events. A version of the show held last October attracted 12,000 visitors. Allan Taylor with his two Epson printers

Fine art printing saves business ALLAN TAYLOR, owner of Westcliff Photographic Solutions in Westcliffon-Sea, has turned his photographic business around by providing large format fine art printing services for around 50 art galleries. ‘This new facet to my business is generating revenues of £2000 each week,’ says Allan. ‘Profits are good: I charge £25 for a 24x32” print, which costs just £7 to produce using Fujifilm media. Once the limited editions are framed, galleries sell from for over £300.’

‘Printing has quickly become the major part of my business. As soon as I arrive at work both my 44” and my 24” Epson printers start operating, and they don’t stop all day. I find Fujifilm’s Photographic Artwork Range of fine art papers perfect for all my requirements. The great thing about fine art printing is that it’s not as seasonal as other types of phtographic work.’

Gunnar winner announced THE WINNER of a framing competition organised by computerised mountcutter manufacturer Gunnar is revealed to be David Wilkie GCF, Eagle Gallery. The finalists, whose frames were all on show at Spring Fair International, were: Benjamin Grapes, Norwich Framing Centre; Sandra Klembt, Shorelines Gallery; Lyn Hall GCF Adv, Fringe Arts; Jonathan Gooders GCF, Wimbledon Framers; and Kevin Nihill GCF, Eagle Gallery. All of these framers are Gunnar CMC users. The artwork for the competition was supplied by children’s book illustrator Shelli Graham. The winner received a tablet computer.

David Wilkie GCF’s winning frame

The finalists included frames made by Sandra Klembt (far left) and Jonathan Gooders GCF (left)


April 2014 15

Comment Producing archival quality prints is more complicated than you might suppose, says printing expert LESZEK WOLNIK Printers at The Copper House wearing nitrile gloves and facemasks while producing a high quality image, and Leszek Wolnik (top)


would like to delve deeper into what we consider to be a ‘high quality’ print, especially in terms of conservation value, and how we achieve that quality. At The Copper House we are often asked about the ‘archival’ properties of various papers, and we are surprised by how complex the answer needs to be. We prefer to use the term ‘conservation value’ rather than ‘archival quality’ when discussing the possible longevity of a print. The complexity of the answer is dictated by the need to consider the environmental conditions of the print’s production and long term care. Combinations of modern printers, papers and inks can provide longevity before fading of between 80 and 200 years, depending on storage or display conditions. Where previously the papers and inks used by studios had to be individually tested, quality can now be taken as a given for a range of print systems. In establishing optimal conservation values we need to look at the production environment, as print integrity can easily be compromised, an everyday sin unwittingly committed by many printers. Fine art prints, like any paper-based art, can be damaged by the transfer of oils and volatiles, by atmospheric pollution and by inappropriate handling during printing and finishing. You may think it over-the-top to wear a facemask and nitrile gloves

Customer service means exceeding the customer’s expectations, says Emma Bell

16 April 2014

when producing work of moderate value. The same goes for working on a glass table and donning a Tyvek suit when producing work of the highest quality. However, these extreme precautions are necessary. Glass tables and gloves prevent us transferring natural oils, volatiles and ambient dirt to prints whilst printing, trimming and finishing. As we breathe and speak we unconciously emit an aerosol of saliva, which will fall on the print without the use of a facemask. We don a Tyvek suit when we want to be sure that there is no transfer of oils and volatiles from our clothes when producing very high value work. These measures are obviously not necessary for most of the standard work we do. Achieving conservation values in production provides great selling opportunities. Clients will choose a Museum Level frame for a print that has been this carefully produced. We love making frames with 99.7 per cent UV glazing and nice thick 4mm museum quality bevel mounts. Clients adore the classic finish and the assurance that the combination of print and frame is the best that can be achieved. Leszek Wolnik is curator and strategist at The Copper House Gallery, Dublin.


f customer service is one of the biggest selling points for an independent retailer, we have to ask, what is good customer service? For us, the answer is simply this: going beyond the customer’s expectations. It’s an approach we’ve adopted after seven years with retail mentor Peter Cooper, of ArtySmith2. Peter brought to our attention the theories of Alf Dunbar, author of Just Looking Thanks. Dunbar’s ideas are based on how we like to be treated as customers, and are behind the success of businesses such as M&S, John Lewis and Selfridges. This has formed the basis of our customer service philosophy. First, consider the value of the customer. If they spend a couple of ART BUSINESS TODAY

Comment Artist Alan Reed offers advice on planning a summer exhibition


ummer may seem a long way off, but now is a good time to prepare for a summer exhibition, either through a gallery or at your own studio. These days, the easiest (and most enjoyable) part of putting on an exhibition is the painting process, it’s finding buyers which can be the hardest. I’m a member of Network Artists (, an independent association of professional artists working and living in Northumberland. It promotes economic growth in the artistic community, especially through the hugely successful Art Tour which is held annually during the summer months, with associated events before Christmas. 80 artists open their studios to the public across Northumberland. Visitors have the chance to see the creative process, talk to artists and purchase work, as well as enjoying a day out in the countryside. The cost of leaflets, fliers and posters is shared which, as well as keeping costs down, enables the Art Tour to gain a wide audience. Many artists club together to hold exhibitions in public venues such as church halls and community centres rather than their own studios, which may be too small or inconveniently located. Whatever type of event you decide to hold to sell your work, there are lots of important tasks to start to ensure that as many of the

right folk see your work as possible. One of the most important is to step up your networking activity to grow awareness about you and your work. Nowadays there are lots of networking organisations which put on various events, from breakfasts to evening meetings. These are great to attend to meet new people from different industries. Many networking organisations are also on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so you can maintain relationships outside of face-to-face networking events through social media. I find that once I start tweeting images of my paintings, particularly from a forthcoming exhibition (along with dates and venue information), those tweets are re-tweeted to a wide audience. This is an extremely cost effective method of advertising. It’s free and ensures that you are engaging with potential buyers before your show opens. You must grow your database through networking; a strong up-to-date database is a vital marketing tool. Be sure to collect email addresses from folk who would like to receive your e-newsletters, as this is another great way to promote your event. People still like to receive printed invitations through the post so invest time in growing your postal address book too. Allow plenty

of time for invitations to be designed and printed and make sure you post them two to three weeks before the event to give your customers plenty of time to put the show in their diaries. Remember to allow your picture framer enough time to frame everything too.

pounds on a birthday card, is this their worth? Far from it. We work towards securing that customer’s return, in the hope that they become a champion of the shop and a lifetime customer. Think of it this way: if they buy items varying from cards to stationery, or frames to original art, they might tot up an average spend of about £30 a month. Multiply that by 12 for a year’s spend and it’s £360. Or times it by 40 for a lifetime’s loyalty and that person has spent £14,400. So we can’t afford to be grumpy when we sell that card. As Walt Disney once said, ‘Do what you do so well that they will want to come again and bring their friends’. At the heart of the issue is the sales person. They have the power to

impress customers. It’s often the shopping experience, not the purchase, that people talk about afterwards. There are dozens of things we can do to create a positive atmosphere in the gallery, from playing toe-tapping music to remembering personal details; a simple ‘Is your wife feeling better?’ goes a long way. As Alf Dunbar puts it, ‘Good customer service is the cheapest and most effective form of advertising’. As a minimum, we say hello, smile and make eye contact with every customer, but where appropriate we try to give a little of ourselves too. Recently my business partner’s father passed away and when an elderly couple came in, squabbling goodnaturedly before enquiring about a

painting, Sonia found space to tell them of her loss and made the comment ‘You’re so lucky to have one another’. The couple went away, made some measurements, then telephoned to order the artwork. At the end of the call, they thanked Sonia for her openness and warmth the previous day. People don’t forget how you make them feel. Fortunately the art world seems to attract genuinely nice customers. Being good to them means they’re good to us, so leave your personal frustrations at home and make work a positive place. Even on bad days, it’s worth bearing in mind Henry Ford’s remark, ‘It is the customer who pays the wages’. Emma Bell is a director of The Mulberry Tree Gallery


The Art Tour is organised by Network Artists in Northumberland

April 2014 17


Art in Action once again at Waterperry Gardens 400 ARTISTS and makers will gather in Waterperry Gardens to show their work, demonstrate their skills and teach classes to 25,000 visitors at Art in Action, from 17 to 20 July. The event, which features disciplines as diverse as glass engraving and enamelling, has been held at the Oxfordshire venue since 1977. Printmaker Sue Brown at Art in Action

New Morsø for taller users

Darren Baker with his own dog, who inspired the story, and an illustration from the book

Darren Baker supports the Prince’s Trust DARREN BAKER, who recently painted HM The Queen at home in Buckingham Palace, has illustrated a children’s book written by his wife, Abigail Baker. All proceeds from the book will be donated to The Prince’s Trust, the charity that helped launch Darren’s career many years ago. Since his portrait of The Queen was unveiled by Princess Anne in 2011, Darren has painted Prince Charles, Tony Blair and several sporting stars. So illustrating the tale of Albert The Handydog, a pug with DIY skills, represents a significant departure for the artist. A set of signed limited edition prints after the 12 pastels from the book are available. 18 April 2014

DAN-LIST, the Danish manufacturers of the Morsø mitre guillotine, have launched a model for the taller user, ‘The Morsø F was first made in 1911, when it was the right height. Since then, everyone has grown taller, but the Morsø F had not – until now,’ says Dan-List’s Claus Pedersen. The foot-operated Morsø F Plus Ten has an elevated working height. The standard model has a working height of 84cm, which is fine for most people, while the new model is raised to 94cm. Previously, tall framers raised their Morsø onto a pallet, but that meant that you had to raise you foot higher to reach the pedal. The height of the foot pedal has not been raised on the new model. ‘10cm might not seem a lot, but we can guarantee that this makes a significant difference,’ explains Claus Pedersen. ‘The ergonomics are completely different and users will feel the difference immediately.’ ART BUSINESS TODAY

Comment Guild CEO LOUISE HAY considers this spring’s art and framing shows, both established and new

W Five-star reviews for Guild book ANNABELLE RUSTON’S updated edition of the best-selling Artist’s Guide to Selling Work has already earned top reviews. ‘This fantastic new edition has been updated with essential advice on how to make full use of digital opportunities for selling your work, such as social networking and emarketing,’ says an Amazon review. reports, ‘This volume boasts detail and rigour. The book has been updated to take account of the growing importance of the internet and social networking. The advice given is practical, understandable and above all reliable, making this an essential tool for anyone seeking to make an income from their work.’ Also new from the same author is Frame Design, which is available spiral bound or as an e-book. This book focuses on the looks that are currently fashionable, along with advice on design theory and working with customers. Colour illustrations throughout bring the author’s ideas to life. Order both books online at, and browse the Guild’s selection of specialist framing and art titles, many of which aren’t available anywhere else. ART BUSINESS TODAY

e are coming to the end of a busy show season. January saw the West Coast Art & Frame Show, which never fails to impress. Over 100 training sessions were delivered by the USA’s top art and frame educators. The trade fair is not half bad either; stands filling two halls of the Paris Las Vegas showed ingenious products and materials, many of which don’t make their way across the pond to Europe. Organisers PFM go out of their way to provide a welcoming atmosphere for exhibitors and visitors alike. Spring Fair International at the Birmingham NEC turned out better than expected; the 37 stands listed in the show guide had increased significantly by the time we opened. Organisers, i2i Events Group, boosted their investment in the training zone and the Guild was able to provide a well-considered selection of talks and classes, many of which were oversubscribed. We couldn’t put on this programme without massive support from i2i and our fantastic team of speakers, so thank you Jan, Stuart & Pete, Rob, Mark, Martin T & Ian P, Martin H, Colin, David, Mal and Ian W. You know who you are. Exhibitors at the show reported lower footfall than they might like, but met good quality contacts. We were constantly busy at the Guild stand. As I write, Maxwell Roberts is preparing to go to China on the Guild’s behalf to visit the CAFEXPO fair in Shanghai. The purpose of the visit is threefold; to support the organisers, who are Guild members, in their efforts to develop a copy-free show; to assess the Chinese market for our exporting members; and to meet art and framing industry professionals in China to check out the potential for Guild programmes and membership. The visit has been supported by a Market Information Research grant from UKTI, and huge amounts of practical help and information from the ChinaBritish Business Council. If anyone would like information on these sources of export development help, then do drop me a line. Two new shows opened this spring. India saw the inaugural PAMA Framing & Art Show, while FamaArt opened in Bologna with over 40 exhibiting companies. It’s encouraging to see new events after a period of uncertainty and recession, and I sincerely hope both events become fixtures on the art and framing calendar. For those of you who couldn’t make it to these exotic locations (yes, I mean Birmingham, of course) there is an opportunity to meet with suppliers and artists at the Guild’s Art & Framing Convention, Elstree, on 17 and 18 May. The event will include a trade tabletop fair as well as seminars and discussion groups on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday, 10.30-3.30. To tempt you further, there is our fantastic Guild Artists’ Exhibition and display of the framing awards entries. We hope to see many of our members and friends at the event, which offers an unrivalled networking opportunity in a relaxed and comfortable environment. April 2014 19


Mick and Keith

Replacement for Iford Galerie FOLLOWING THE closure of Ilford Switzerland, Fotospeed have launched Photo Smooth Pearl 290, a paper designed to replace Ilford’s popular Galerie Smooth Pearl 290. ‘If you compare the two papers you will see that our product ticks all the boxes,’ says Fotospeed’s Toby Herlinger. ‘Customers are guaranteed a virtually seamless swap. There was a huge amount of interest in this paper at The Photography Show.’

Record exhibitors for Tendence TENDENCE, GERMANY’S second season consumer goods fair, reports record bookings from exhibitors. The show, which is held in Frankfurt, attracted an impressive 38,000 visitors last year, with 1300 exhibitors from 55 countries. The show’s focus is on the mid to high-end market and it is divided into ‘Living’ and ‘Giving’ sections. The latter includes products as diverse as jewellery and stationery, while Living encompasses furniture, home textiles, lamps and garden accessories. 20 April 2014

Breaking records at Buckingham NEW BUCKINGHAM Fine Art artist Ben Riley makes his work entirely from broken records. Even the fine detail is achieved with powdered vinyl; there is no pigment on the pictures at all. Buckingham have sold everything that Ben has produced over the last 12 months and several one-man shows are in the pipeline. Buckingham MD Ray Loud explains how he discovered Ben’s artwork, ‘I arrived at Ben’s studio with quite low expectations, feeling that icon art is a bit tired, but I hadn’t realised how skillfully his work is produced. I was blown away by the quality; usually with icon art some aspect of the composition isn’t quite right, maybe a hand or gesture, but Ben’s work is technically faultless. I bought the entire contents of his studio on the spot.’ Ben powders the vinyl himself, using tools such as a series of coffee

grinders. ‘His creative process is something of a mystery to me,’ says Ray. ‘You need to stand three or four paces away from his artwork for the composition to make sense, but Ben tells me that he doesn’t step away while working, he just instinctively knows what will work.’ ‘Ben is something of an enigma. He seems shy and reserved, so imagine my surprise at finding out from his mother that he was once a live tribute performer of the rapper Eminem, performing to crowds of 5000.’ Ben’s framed pictures, which measure between 30x40” and 60x40”, retail for £1500 up to around £2800. A pair of canvas limited editions are being released, featuring Mick and Keith and Frank Sinatra, for those who can’t afford originals. These will retail at around £395 and will be limited to 50 copies.

Ben Riley, left, and John Lennon



New mouldings catalogue from DIY

Lisa Gillard, reprographics manager, checking the quality of a giclée print

Digital Colour Services celebrates ten years SPECIALIST FINE art printing house Digital Colour Services, based in Devon, is celebrating a decade in business. The company, which was founded by imaging expert David Cole, specialises in printing archival-quality giclée prints, as well as greeting cards and photographs. Digital Colour Services has launched MiMo Semi-Archival Mounted Print to mark this milestone. This new range, designed to fill the gap between postcard prints and full-size giclée prints, is ideal for selling at fairs. The prints are supplied mounted and wrapped, and fit into standard frames.

DIY FRAMING has published a new online mouldings catalogue, which is free to download as a hi res pdf. The professionally designed 36page catalogue, which also features framing sundries and mountboard, makes it easy to order and find up-to-date prices. All mouldings are illustrated and grouped by colour and style. DIY Framing is the sister company to the UK School of Framing, which runs courses on all aspects of framing and running a framing business at venues around the UK.

Crowds flock to inaugural Photography Show THE PHOTOGRAPHY Show was a first-time event, taking the slot previously occupied by Focus on Imaging at the Birmingham NEC. The event is organised by Future plc, a publisher of photographic magazines, and has the support of the Royal Photographic Society, the British Institute of Professional Photography, the Master Photographers’ Association and the Photo Marketing Association. The show attracted big names in the photographic industry, including Canon, Epson, Nikon, Panasonic, Samsung and Adobe. Exhibitors known to readers from within the art and framing industry included Fotospeed, PermaJet, DIY Framing, Wessex Pictures, Innova Art, Fujifilm and Hahnemühle. There was a live stage, catwalk and a range of workshops. Many exhibitors chose to launch ART BUSINESS TODAY

innovative new products at the event, such as Hahnemühle’s DIY stretcher frames and their metallic inkjet canvas, and Fotospeed’s Photo Smooth Pearl 290, a paper designed to replace Ilford’s popular Galerie Smooth Pearl 290. Robert Burtle, head trainer at DIY Framing, ran workshops at the show, ‘It has been absolutely brilliant. Many people want to learn framing as a hobby or add it to their portfolio. Everybody has been fascinated by our workshops and loved the practical element of getting their hands on materials and equipment. As soon as we finished each session, there was a tidal wave of people going to purchase the products they used.’ The Fine Art Trade Guild’s Kasia Szkolnicka visited, ‘You could hardly walk down the aisles, there were so many people. There were serious

buyers and business was written; it wasn’t just an event for amateur photographers. The workshops and seminars were all packed too.’ PermaJet did very well at the show, says Joseph Reiner. ‘Business was good, especially on the last two days, which were trade only. We launched three papers at the event, which are replacement Ilford papers. Visitors really valued being able to touch and feel these products and to examine them under our white light. We sold quite a bit of equipment as well as consumables. I’ve no doubt that next year’s show will be bigger and better.’ ‘The show was packed,’ says Wessex Pictures’ Ashley Younger. ‘Even if you’d pre-registered there was a queue of 100m to get in. They were good quality customers too.’

April 2014 21

Nico Valiani (second left) shows the Valiani CMC to customers


Successful first art and framing show takes place in India INDIA’S FIRST dedicated framing and art trade show was held in Mumbai in March. PAMA Frame & Art Show, organised by the All Photoframe Moulding Manufacturer & Trade Association, saw a steady flow of visitors over three days. ‘Huge stands were set up by Indu Photo Frames, Lion India, Ara Frames, Om Mouldings, Tag Mouldings, SA Enterprises and others,’ says Manish Gourisaria, vice president of the show. ‘Their frames and machines were beautifully displayed, along with live demonstrations. All exhibitors did lots of business and visitors valued seeing the latest technology and designs under one roof. The show, the first of its kind in India, was a great success.’ Representatives from many US and

35th Artexpo opens its doors this April ARTEXPO NEW York returns to Pier 94 from 4 to 6 April. This year, there will be three shows under one roof: Artexpo showcases the best of contemporary art; [SOLO] features work by emerging artists; and Deco Expo is a trade-only art and framing show. Artists exhibiting at [SOLO] are selected by a panel of jurors, ensuring a high standard of work. Decor will feature framing suppliers selling materials and equipment. More than 400 artists, galleries and publishers from around the world will be exhibiting and around 15,000 visitors are expected.

22 April 2014

European companies attended the show to support their distributors and customers. These included Morsø from Denmark; Alfamacchine, Valiani and Scappi Cartoni from Italy; Cassese from France; Wizard from the USA; Hot Press and Framers Corner from the UK; and Nielsen Bainbridge from Germany. D Mukherjee from exhibitor Lion India reports, ‘Trade visitors included framers, photographers, interior designers, architects and artists from all over India and neighbouring countries. The show was definitely a grand success.’ Framers Corner’s Sam Cook supported their distributor at the show, ‘It was an extremely positive event and very well organised. In the past, framing has

been tagged onto a huge photography show in India, which was so busy with amateur photographers that it was hard to identify serious customer and engage with them. This is a stand-alone framing and art show so all the visitors were potential customers. I’m sure next year’s show will be even better.’ Nico Valiani also supported his distributor, ‘There were a lot of people interested in machinery and keen to learn about the latest technology. There is good access to credit for businesses in India, so people can invest in technology for their framing shops. The show was definitely a success for us.’

New collection from Slater Harrison SLATER HARRISON, the makers of Colourmount mountboard, have launched a monochrome range, which gives the effect of a triple mount, though only one cut is required. The board is ideal for framing black and white photography, pencil drawings and charcoal sketches. The board, which is available in three thicknesses, comes with white facing papers and a black core, or black facing papers and a white core. Sheets measure 815x1200mm and are packed in quantities of five.



MARY SHAW ‘If you want to earn a living by painting you’ve got to be adaptable and paint what the market wants’ Have you always been an artist? I’ve earned my living by painting for the last 40 years. I left school at 15 and went to work in an art materials shop in Clifton. I opened my own art materials shop in Bristol when I was 19; I painted in the shop while waiting to serve customers and I soon found that I was making more money selling my pictures than selling art supplies. I approached galleries at the same time, and developed quite a few regular trade customers. I eventually employed an agent who took my work around the country. Do you still own a shop? Not at the moment. I’ve owned five galleries over the years and I particularly miss talking with customers and hearing their feedback, which is invaluable to an artist. The lease on my last gallery, a tiny shop in Bath, ran out during the recession a few years ago and it didn’t seem a sensible time to renew. I’ve always taught art; I teach four art groups a week now, mainly working in acrylics. In the past I’ve spent more time teaching and my classes have helped me keep my studio going. It’s important for artists not to be isolated in a studio all day.

country; it’s hard for individual artists to achieve such efficient coverage. When I was marketing my own work I admit that I struggled with the logistics of delivery and fulfilment. I’ve been approached by publishers over the years, but, until now, I’ve wanted to be in control. Circumstances change, as do your priorities. Now I’m thrilled to be handing marketing over to an expert. You paint in several quite distinct styles . . . If you want to earn your living by painting, you have to be adaptable and practical. You’ve got to paint what the market wants. I like trying my hand at different styles and types of subject matter, as that’s how you learn and develop your art. Over the years I’ve painted chickens, children on the beach, bluebell woods, minimalist

seascapes, Tuscan landscapes and much more. I’m currently enjoying particular success with my meadow flowers and Venetian scenes. Some types of work have general appeal. I tend to know as soon as I’ve finished a painting in a new style whether it’s going to work. I’ve got a wide-format Epson printer, but I’m focusing on producing reasonably priced original work at the moment, as that’s what’s selling. Any advice for new artists? Look carefully at what’s selling and aim to create something better, and to make your own mark on a popular style or theme. You can’t afford to ignore trends. People love bluebell woods and so do I, so I’m happy to paint them. You’ve got to paint pictures with wide general appeal. Keep your eyes open. Go round galleries and art fairs and look online for what’s popular. I’m not suggesting copying other people’s work, but you need inspiration and you can’t work in a vacuum. ■ See Mary’s artwork on page 24

How do you market your work? Buckingham Fine Art sell my work to the trade and they are brilliant at marketing, leaving me free to spend all day painting. I used to publish and market my own work. In the 1990s I exhibited at Spring Fair International twice, which was an excellent way of picking up galleries, many of which become longstanding customers. Artists sometimes under-estimate the importance of marketing, but you can be creating the best paintings in the world and still not be earning a decent living if you haven’t got effective marketing in place. Buckingham have a network of sales agents covering the whole ART BUSINESS TODAY

April 2014 23

PRODUCT NEWS Buckingham Fine Art


Original paintings by Mary Shaw are available to the trade from Buckingham Fine Art.

The new Intermezzo collection by Larson Juhl provides traditional yet contemporary elegance to complement any home interior. Wrapped with cherry veneers and embossed to heighten the uniqueness of the finishes, Intermezzo has a polished wax lustre to bring sophistication to oil paintings or photographic projects. The carefully selected modern shapes ensure that the Intermezzo collection maintains a broad appeal for customers. Intermezzo is currently available in five colour profiles including a mountslip, and can be ordered from £2.99 per metre.

01908 658830

01234 852777

Alex Borissov

Jonathan Shaw

The long painting in support of sustainability by Alex Borissov has received a new impetus with a part of it recently painted in London opposite the Houses of Parliament. To encourage creative thinking about recycling, Alex paints on used cotton hand towel rolls. ‘Sustainability requires the efforts of people beyond national borders. To bring this point to the forefront I have painted parts of the long painting in Austria, Brazil, Italy, Maldives, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and the UK. The paining is now 1822 metres long and is growing,’ says Alex.

Jonathan Shaw’s originals are now available direct from the artist.

00 41 79 843 7881

01282 865700

Marialuisa Marino

Framiac Software

The 9th Symphony (illustrated) is inspired by the music of Sir Malcolm Arnold CBE. Artist Marialuisa Marino can be

contacted at, or or look for her on LinkedIn.

07770 553787 24 April 2014

Anna-Marie Bartlett GCF from The Framing Lady has this to say about FramR software: ‘Framiac is easy to use, very accurate, and one of the best features is that you can customise it easily. Creating templates is simple for tasks like needlework, football shirts and frames with spacers and fillets. I like the price breakdown sheet, where I can see my hourly rate applied to the different framing tasks. I can see the actual material and labour costs and also a mark-up for my profit. An updated price list of my favourite suppliers is easily imported into the system and I have confidence when I quote that it is a reasonable and fair price each and every time. No more guessing and inconsistency . . . FramR makes my day!’

0117 904 7153 07938 508 343

To advertise here, call Kasia Szkolnicka on 020 7381 6616 or email: Entries are £80 for Guild members, £150 for non-members (+ VAT)

Karen Hollis at Art in Bloom

Illustrated is Tempestuous, which is available as a print from artist Karen Hollis.

D & J Simons D&J Simons are pleased to introduce the aluminium range. These new mouldings feature aluminium on wood profiles at affordable prices. There are three sizes available: 80mm wide x 25mm high; 64mm wide x 17mm high; and 35mm wide x 18mm high. There are two finishes, bright and satin alumnimum. The price for the 80mm is £7.21 per metre, 64mm profiles are £4.92 per metre and 35mm profiles are £3.28 per metre.

01491 671476

020 7739 3744

Selective Prints

Keith Melling

The first batch of Margaret Hughlock individuated editions sold out within 24 hours. A further batch of eight images is now available. To increase their saleability still further, each edition will be limited to 30 copies only, with a trade price of only £70. Each one carries a signature block and the edition number. The eight images can be seen at

Keith Melling, mainly known as a landscape artist, has just finished ten still lifes, painted alla prima, directly from the subject. In this one he plays the yellow of the lemons against a deep blue background and offsets them with a blue cup.

01948 818181

01282 696641

LION Picture Framing



Artist: Keith Melling Title: still life with three lemons Format: giclée, signed limited edition of 495 Image size: 6x1 inches Originals are also available

Join Valiani in celebrating their 40th anniversary with exciting offers, including significant product discounts and giveaways. Offers end 31 May 2014 and are not available in the USA. Visit valiani/happy birthday

SeaLion cold and hot mounting and laminating materials are superb professional quality at great value trade prices, made for LION in the UK. To help you test SeaLion materials, many are available in 5m test rolls. For a SeaLion samples pack contact 0121 773 1230

PRODUCT NEWS April 2014 25


LifeSaver Software

D & J Simons has a new versatile mechanical press. Unlike vacuum presses, which are limited by the size of the vacuum lid, this machine works like a trouser press, which means you can slide artwork in and seal as much as you want. The machine is available in two sizes, 18.5" deep x 23" wide and 26" deep x 36" wide. It is ideal for mounting and laminating

FrameVue is new digital preview software from the makers of LifeSaver Software for picture framers. The company was founded in the USA in 1994 and co-founder Eric Crowe has just relocated to the UK in order to promote the company’s products in Europe. FrameVue, which integrates with LifeSaver Software, creates a library of mounts and mouldings, eliminating the need to recapture. Mountboard can be re-positioned without re-shooting and multi-opening mount designs can be displayed. Users can create bespoke slide show presentations and email designs to customers.

020 7739 3744

020 3286 5431

Richard Young FRSA

Mike Payne Studio

Original dance and figurative fine art oil paintings, pastels and self-published giclée prints. Publisher, gallery, agent representation and exhibition opportunities always welcomed.

Mike Payne is probably best known for his many cartoons and his creation ‘Tatty Teddy’, the grey bear with the blue nose for the ‘Me to You’ concept which he drew for some 17 years. He has now embarked on a totally different creative path, starting with his stunning Beach Collection. This can be seen on Mike’s new website.

07813 138680


Mainline Mouldings

2014 is a year to celebrate; a year to celebrate ’40 Years of Innovation.’ 40 years during which Valiani has developed a wide range of mountcutters, including nine CMCs, which have provided custom framers with innovative and intuitive cutting solutions. Valiani is especially proud that a business started in 1974 by Franco Valiani remains a family concern, dedicated to providing an outstanding level of support for its customers.

Mainline’s fantastic new Frame Visualiser makes it easy to experiment with different frame and mount combinations. Simply upload an image and add mounts, slips and frames to view a fully rendered framing solution in a matter of seconds. The free of charge Visualiser inspires creativity, increases framing options and saves time by instantly and accurately visualising your ideas. Try it out now at: _visualiser.php Mainline continue the development of Polcore with finishes inspired by the elite of bespoke picture framing craftsmen. This hand finished moulding from the Verona range is stippled cream with gold and bronze highlights, mixing contemporary finishes with traditional profiles.

01949 861000

26 April 2014


To advertise here, call Kasia Szkolnicka on 020 7381 6616 or email: Entries are £80 for Guild members, £150 for non-members (+ VAT)


Selective Prints

New Photo Silk Baryta 310gsm from Hahnemühle is the perfect replacement for Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk. This white, baryta paper gives the impression of traditional silver halide photo paper. The unique barium sulphate coating ensures an extraordinary image result with very large colour space, creamy shades of white and velvety deep black. A high colour density and brilliance guarantee an impressive sharpness of detail for high resolution, vivid images of a sensational quality. This 100% alpha cellulose paper is acid-free and meets the criteria for durability to ISO9706. Available now as sheet or roll.

The first batch of Margaret Hughlock individuated editions sold out within 24 hours. A further batch of eight images is now available. To increase their saleability still further, each edition will be limited to 30 copies only, with a trade price of only £70. Each one carries a signature block and the edition number. The eight images can be seen at

0116 289 3644

01948 818181

Jonathan Shaw


Alfamacchine Jonathan Shaw’s originals are now available direct from the artist.

Alfamacchine’s MP/Multi- Channel unit is a highly advanced frame joining machine for the picture framing and woodworking industries. Balancing sophistication and operating flexibility for joining picture frames, window and door frames. With data storage of 5000 different frame profiles, the operator can easily recall any frame profile either alphabetically, numerically or scanned using the barcode reading option. This machine is ideal for medium type production facilities requiring flexibility for different sized V-nail fasteners or a common mm size through the use of a market exclusive configurable channel magazine feature.

01282 865700

St Cuthberts Mill


Looking for a quality inkjet paper that won’t break the bank? Somerset Enhanced is an exquisite 100% cotton paper that’s excellent quality and great value. Made in England (just outside Wells in Somerset) by St Cuthberts Mill, who are specialists in making high quality, archival artists’ papers. Generic ICC profiles are available from For information on where to buy, contact their distributors: RK Burt, 0207 4076474,; John Purcell Paper, 0207 7375199,

Picture perfect presentation is now even easier for framers to achieve thanks to the launch of two new products in the Clarity by Larson Juhl collection. A new invisible waterwhite glass that offers up to 92 per cent UV protection, and specialist float glass that delivers 90 per cent UV protection, are added to the Clarity brand. The new ranges join Arqadia’s existing Clarity product which offers 70 per cent UV filtering and reduces reflections to less than one per cent. For ease of handling, Clarity has a smooth surface with a durable and scratch resistant coating. No special cleaning products are required and because both sides of the glass hold the same properties, either side can be placed against the art. Clarity is available in 800x1100mm and 1100x1600mm sizes, each with a thickness of 2mm. It is priced from £31.68 per sheet. A free specifier is available.

01234 852777


April2014 27


Image courtesy of Lakestore Limited

21st century shoppers are savvy and expect value for money. Foot-in-the-door sales techniques aren’t going to work. People buy products and services that they perceive as solving a problem, or improving their lives, from people they trust. Business journalist Linda Becklow provides tips on how to sell in a modern retail environment

People buy from people



It’s much, much easier to sell products and services if you are genuinely enthusiastic about their benefits and quality. There’s no point in trying to sell things you don’t believe in. Make sure that your sales staff understand the value of your products and services. Enthusiasm, belief and conviction are infectious. As are doubt and distain. Make sure you use positive, up-beat words when talking to customers. Let the fact that you love your work shine through. 28 April 2014



Convey the idea that you are an expert in your field without patronising customers or making them feel ignorant. Compliment their suggestions and show interest in their ideas. Try to guide the customer’s choices, while making them feel that they have made the key purchasing decisions. If you come across as an expert, the customer should be reassured that spending money according to your suggestions is sensible. The way you dress can help convey expertise, as people start judging

others before they’ve had time to speak. Wear the right tool belt, overalls, business suit or uniform, whatever helps reinforce your role as the experienced expert.


Polite and friendly

Remember that people buy from people they trust, like or have faith in. Customers can probably buy the same products elsewhere, but they come to you because they like you. Be polite and friendly at all times. However good your product, if people don’t enjoy the experience of ART BUSINESS TODAY

This extended business section is brought to you by Arqadia

shopping with you they are unlikely to come back. Comfy chairs, coffee and pleasing interior design can help generate a positive impression, but it’s the people your customers meet who really make a lasting impression. You may be in a bad mood due to something that happened at home or on the way to work, but you mustn’t let this show. Hostility is infectious and can lose you sales. Nothing annoys people more than being ignored; if you are busy serving a customer, smile, make eye contact and offer the waiting customer a seat with an assurance that you won’t be long. Conversely, people love to be remembered, so don’t just think, ‘Oh, I’m terrible with names!’ If necessary, develop a system for remembering them, or refer to the details of their last visit.


Don’t judge Don’t make assumptions about people’s spending power based on first impressions. People’s priorities differ. It’s not for


you to decide how much a person can afford to spend, and it’s insulting to assume someone is only interested in second best. Provide everyone who comes in with the best solution to their problem, regardless of price, and adjust the examples you show as you listen to them. All experienced retailers have stories of modest looking customers spending a fortune, and vice versa.


Keep your promises

Don’t get carried away and promise benefits you can’t deliver. That’s not the way to generate repeat business. You’ve got to promise a lot and deliver even more. Never let the customer down. Think of ways of delivering a little extra, maybe free delivery, a small complementary product, out-of-hours service or gift wrapping. Loyalty bonuses for good customers work well. We all love something for nothing and that’s what people tell their friends about.


Sell the benefits

Explain why the customer’s life will be improved by buying your products. Maybe their home will be transformed, or their giftbuying problems solved. The item might be of exceptional quality and last a lifetime, it may be the envy of all their friends, or it may be available at an amazingly low price. In order to make a sale you must address the inevitable un-asked question, ‘What’s in it for me?’



Listen to your customer’s problem and try to find the solution. This is very different from selling someone something they don’t actually want. Ask questions and listen carefully to the responses. If the customer gives an unequivocal ‘No!’, then smile politely and show alternative features. As you get closer to solving the customer’s problem, their answers will become more positive. ➺

April 2014 29

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Listen to their concerns and address these; don’t confuse the customer with every possible piece of information about the product. Stick to the key points. Repeating key words from your customer reinforces the idea that they have your full attention, which is flattering and helps win their trust.



You’re not going to win every sale and some people were never going to buy. Take the time to think why that customer left empty handed. If a pattern develops, you should consider new price brackets, products, training or staffing options. Some rejection is inevitable, so don’t let it get you down, but you mustn’t ignore a trend.


Look to the future

Marketing professionals claim that it’s between five and 13 times easier (depending who you ask) to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Always ask for customers’ contact details and assure them that these won’t be passed on to anyone else. Work hard at developing and maintaining your customer database; it’s one of the most valuable assets of your business.


Repeat business

Remember that you won’t have to work so hard when the customer comes back a second time. Once you’ve won their trust, subsequent sales will take less time. Time spent with new customers should be seen as an investment from which you will reap dividends for many years to come. Don’t let your staff see customers as merely an interruption to what they are doing; remember, it’s customers who pay the wages, however timeconsuming you may find them. It’s much easier to switch supplier when you are buying a product than a service, so service-orientated businesses have a lot to gain by investing time and effort in new customers. ■

30 April 2014

FROM THE SHOPFLOOR Peter Cleevely GCF, Picture Corner


ou’ve got to convey a depth of knowledge and experience combined with a ‘Can do!’ attitude and a friendly manner. When I recommend framing options I focus on what will suit the artwork, not the cost. Sometimes a simple inexpensive option will work best, sometimes something more elaborate is called for. My customers trust me to come up with the best solution and they know that if my recommendation is pricey, there’s a good reason for it, I’m not just trying to make money out of them. I might show a customer three framing options at three different price points, but I recommend one of them. In most cases the customer will go with my recommendation. Some need lots of time and reassurance, but they’ll come back to the option I highlighted at the beginning. When the customer is obviously uncertain about how to buy framing you need to take control and make suggestions. Even the confident ones tend to go with my recommendations.

80 per cent of customers make decisions based on price, but you still need to show them the best option for their artwork. It’s very hard to guess which type of customer a person is going to be. It’s essential that you listen to customers. If you show them framing choices that ignore their primary concerns they will walk out of the door. Ask what they have in mind and if necessary ask further questions about the style and colours of the room where the picture will hang. It comes down to good manners; it’s rude not to listen to people. Many of my regulars have been customers for 25 years. They trust me, like my style of framing and are happy with my prices. Some of them just drop in their artwork saying, ‘Here’s a picture. Please frame it’. It’s important to develop a personal rapport with customers, because framing is a highly personal business. People value the fact that I ask after their families and remember details, and they return the compliment.’


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From mouldings to mountboard, frames to glass (and everything in-between). Whatever you’re looking for, Arqadia gives you plenty of options. Visit to view our range.


Keeping it local The majority of framers’ customers are local. The internet has created business opportunities further afield and professional framers hold onto customers after they move away, but most people still look for a framer close by. It therefore makes sense to focus your marketing activities on getting involved at a local level. Annabelle Ruston finds out how framers develop loyalty within the community uilding a local rapport is about more than signing up for Google Adwords, taking an ad in the local paper or doing a doordrop, it’s about showing you care. Framers repeatedly tell me that customers appreciate businesses that support local events and services, and that people make a point of patronising those that are seen to ‘give something back’ to the community. You need to go further than ensuring that local people are aware of your business and services. Build loyalty by getting involved in theatre productions, school projects, fetes and summer fairs, art and photography groups, charity auctions or tourist initiatives. If you support the local community, it will support you. ‘Building a local rapport is essential,’ says Ian Dixon GCF, whose business is based in a Surrey village. ‘It

Photo copyright of Tom J Brydone


doesn’t matter whether or not you have a shop front and passing trade, you still need to develop loyal local customers. You need to get involved with schools, business groups, art circles, the Women’s Institute or the local church. Look at the charities and organisations that play a significant cultural role in your neighbourhood, then get in touch and offer your support.’ Advertising The most straightforward way of supporting local events is to advertise in the programme. This involves minimal time and effort and the cost is generally low. Art Business Today’s 2013 marketing survey showed that 40 per cent of businesses that placed printed ads did so in the programmes for local events. This type of advertising does more than get your name out there, it

indicates an interest in the local scene which customers (and potential customers) appreciate. People who have spent months rehearsing for the Christmas panto feel gratitude towards businesses which pay to appear in the programme, as do the parents who organise the primary school summer fair. This gratitude creates a stronger bond than would be formed with someone who just picked up your leaflet from their doormat. Sponsorship Sponsorship takes many forms, some involving more time and effort than others. Our 2013 survey revealed that over 40 per cent of businesses sponsor local events and 30 per cent support competitions. Some businesses allow people to drop donations for art sales into their shop, or they sell tickets for dramatic productions. Though time-consuming,

Ian Kenny Framing & Gallery sponsors Team Smith, this year’s Scottish Junior Curling Champions. The sponsor’s name is embroidered on the team uniform

32 April 2014


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this brings people with an interest in the arts right into your shop, where you can dazzle them with enticing goods and services. Another advantage of this type of sponsorship is that it doesn’t entail handing over either cash or goods. There are other types of sponsorship that don’t actually cost the sponsor, but can still generate allimportant goodwill locally. Businesses often put posters for local events in their window and include leaflets in shopping bags. ‘We don’t have a lot of spare cash to give to local initiatives,’ says Sarah Robson of The Haslemere Framing Company, ‘But it’s important to be part of the community so we help where we can, and our customers appreciate it. We sponsor Christmas decorations, frame football shirts that are auctioned for charity, and we support the Haslemere Christmas Fair and the Charter Fair in May.’ Ian Kenny Framing & Gallery, Lanarkshire, sponsors Team Smith, which became the Scottish Junior Curling Champions this year. ‘One of the lads in the team is from Hamilton, where my business is based,’ explains Ian Kenny GCF. ‘Our name and logo appear on their shirts and jackets, but it is largely down to me to make the best of the sponsorship opportunity. We have a poster in the window congratulating the team on their win and wishing them luck in the world championships, along with a framed team shirt. The media coverage has been good. We have a video of the team in action, cut with footage of us framing the team shirt, on the homepage of our website.’ Sponsoring a sports team, as opposed to an arts event, may seem a surprising choice for an art-based business. Ian Kenny explains why curling is a good fit, ‘The sponsorship was a business decision: curling is a minority sport that is primarily supported by the type of well-off Scottish people who are my target customers. I have created positive attitudes to my business with people who I want as customers.’ Competitions and prizes Donating prizes to charity auctions or the winners of art competitions makes sense. The perceived value of the prize is often greater than the bottom line ART BUSINESS TODAY

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cost to you. Mike Royall GCF, Royall Framing, sponsors a school art competition, ‘I help judge the competition and donate art materials, which only costs a few pounds but generates enormous goodwill. You can offer to frame the winning images, donate prizes or hold a reception for the winners. The combination of children and art appeals to the media so you should

34 April 2014

achieve good publicity as well as the gratitude of parents, teaches and school governors.’ The Camera Centre, Shetland, regularly donates framing vouchers and photographic accessories to charities such as Children in Need, says owner Cecil Hughson GCF. ‘We donate lots of prizes; a £60 framing voucher makes a good raffle prize. It makes people feel good about our

Harrison Lord (top left) work hard to develop ties with the local community. Talking about framing to art groups (above) works well for many, as does advertising in ‘am dram’ programmes


business, helps raise our profile and brings new people into the shop.’ Frames & Boxes, Devon, donates around 25 pictures each year as prizes for local events. ‘The community supports us, so we support them,’ explains Steve Robertson GCF. ‘The value of the item varies; we recently framed a £400 limited edition for a charity raffle, but sometimes we give smaller items. Donating prizes generates goodwill and people often come in to thank us. We always put a sticker on the back of the frame saying that we donated the picture.’ Expertise and sponsorship Presenting talks to art, craft, photography and needlework groups has the benefit of reinforcing your role as an expert in your field. Goody bags mean that people leave with positive attitudes towards you and your business, as well as ensuring that they take your contact details with them. As well as a few complementary items, these may include special discount vouchers. ‘The Women’s Institute is always looking for good speakers,’ says Mike


Royall GCF, ‘and their members are happy to pay to attend quality presentations. About half the guests do cross-stitch and have very little idea what a difference a frame makes.’ Les Cliff GCF, Framearound, has talked to a range of local painting and needlework groups over the years. ‘I normally take pre-cut mounts and frames in standard sizes, which is a good way of using up off-cuts, and I also give a 20 per cent discount on all bespoke framing orders. People are interested to see how different frame designs affect artwork and to learn about conservation framing. I’ve spoken to photography groups as well as people specialising in techniques from cross-stitch to stumpwork, acrylics to watercolour. The students and tutors value my support and I find new customers.’ Many businesses sponsor regular community events and fundraisers. This puts their name in front of local people and reminds them that the business is an integral part of the local cultural scene. Kerensa Carr GCF owns The Framing Room, which is in Dornoch

in the Scottish Highlands. ‘We sponsor the Dornoch Highland Gathering every year. Our sponsorship funds the senior pibroch, which is a bagpipe competition, and the under 16’s Highland dancing. Framing is a very local business, so it’s important to support local events.’ The Camera Centre holds an annual coffee morning in the shop, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. ‘Rates of cancer are particularly high up here in Shetland,’ explains Cecil Hughson GCF, ‘Probably as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. We work hard to publicise the event and attract about 100 people, many from local businesses.’ Frames & Boxes also support Macmillan. ‘The charity’s volunteers congregate in our back room and leave their things there while they are out rattling tins,’ says Steve Robertson GCF. ‘They warm up here and we offer refreshments. It’s important to help with this kind of thing and involvement by local businesses benefits everyone.’ The message is resoundingly that you can’t expect the community to support you, if you don’t reciprocate.■

April 2014 35

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Arqadia’s STEVE BURKE discusses how businesses can effectively capitalise on the shift towards online media, and answers the frequently asked question, ‘Can social networking really help improve my bottom line?’

Putting digital media in the frame


here’s no doubt that social media has revolutionised human communication. Social networks provide a way for people to connect, communicate and share information and knowledge in ways that, a decade ago, most people would never have dreamed of. Naturally, this has impacted on the consumer world and the purchasing process, meaning that brands and companies who don’t adapt to using new media channels to communicate with their customers can run the risk of falling behind competitors that do. ‘What will my return on investment be?’ It’s a commonly asked and quite logical question when embarking on any new venture. In a challenging market, where competition is rife, very few will feel they have the time or money to invest in something new if they can’t accurately ascertain what the business benefits will be. Using social media as a business tool is about generating results. However, do remember that it is far from being a sales channel, and should not be approached as one. It cannot and will not sell your products

36 April 2014

directly. But it can, if used properly, make your business seem like a desirable and trusted choice for potential customers. As such, the issue of return on investment can be more of a matter of interpretation, rather than a cold hard look at the figures. The long term goal for social media should be to create brand advocates that will champion your brand online, then govern and respond on your behalf. This will be key to sales, as recommendations are the main driver for purchases online. Giving satisfied customers the forum on which to share their positive experiences will encourage others to trial your services. This is an extremely effective tactic, and even if there is some negative feedback, it will give your customer

Social media is not a sales channel but, if used properly, it can make your business seem like a desirable and trusted choice for customers

relations techniques the chance to shine. It’s paramount to remember that people buy from people, so providing them with a place in which they can interact freely is essential. Through social media, you too can build your own brand personality which can engage with others on a personal level, even if they are hundreds of miles away. It takes away the faceless, nameless nature of business which is significant for building effective, responsive relationships which could eventually become lucrative. You can and should continually add value to your online community via content, offers and competitions, in order to keep them interacting with you, and spreading your messages further. By doing this, you will build the advocacy that brands require in order to see business benefit from social media. Calls to action are important. Done correctly, they may be one of your biggest referrers of website traffic, which is where you will ultimately convert interest into sales. Consider having a blog or news section on your website that is ART BUSINESS TODAY


Social media can help build your ‘brand personality’ which can engage with others on a personal level, even if they are miles away

regularly updated and can be posted about on social media. You will see people click through and continue to return to your site, provided they remain engaging and are updated regularly. Do not forget the search engine optimisation (SEO) or ‘organic search’ benefits of being active with social and digital engagement. In an online era where having a web presence is key, Google results tend to define your business. With Google owning social platforms such as YouTube and Google Plus, and prioritising blogs that have a Google Authorship markup, it’s important to get involved and remain active, as these results tend to be prioritised in searches, and will bump your visibility above that of your competitors. Capturing data is also valuable to any business, no matter how large or small. Do you know who your existing customers are, what they search for, what they interact with? If you do, you will be well on course to attracting more who are actively hunting for the same information. Running competitions or exclusive offers via social media can be brilliant for gathering this information too, and will undoubtedly add potential new customers to your database. Everything online is connected these days. Without a social media presence businesses are missing out on conversations about their brands that they can potentially influence and engage with on a more personal level. You can turn a stranger into a customer, and a disgruntled customer into a happy one, with simple positive proactive engagement. While it may take a leap of faith by many to see how this can help ring in the changes in a financial sense, if you don’t invest the time to find out, how will you ever know what the returns for your business may be? ■ Steve Burke is sales director for Arqadia ART BUSINESS TODAY

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watercolour cross stitch poster



% of retailers



under £24










The price is right? Our pricing survey reveals that the same framing job could cost £25 or £100, depending which framer you ask to do it. Annabelle Ruston analyses the results of ABT’s latest pricing survey and compares the results with those of previous years 38 April 2014

here is an extremely wide variation in the prices asked by different framers for the same job. Art Business Today asked framers to price the same three jobs this year, as in 2008, 2003 and 1998, making year-on-year comparisons straightforward. If you take a 12x16” watercolour into your local framer, the price


quoted might range between £20 and £125, with a few framers asking more than that. The chances are that you would be quoted between £40 and £100 to have a poster dry mounted, and the frame for a tiny cross stitch would probably be somewhere between £25 and £80. Variation The same wide price variation was ART BUSINESS TODAY


In 2003, £70 for the poster was the top end of the pricing spectrum, whereas today that price represents a mid-point. Prices have risen by 15%

majority of bespoke framers today are offering quality products and service, and commensurately higher prices. Only a minority of framers can operate by offering the lowest prices. It is likely that most of the cheapest framers have retired or ceased trading and that those coming into the market are operating at a higher level.

Methodology 100 framers priced the following three frames. There were additional questions about premises, equipment and location, which might influence their pricing structure. Respondents’ anonymity was assured. Watercolour

revealed by our 2008 survey. Our bar chart back then followed a similar curve and range, though today’s prices are inevitably slightly higher. For example, whereas the majority of framers today would charge around £60 for the watercolour, in 2008 that figure was just above £50. The average price quoted for the cross stitch was £45 this year, as opposed to £40 six year ago, and the average price for the poster has risen from around to £60 to £70. In 2003, £70 for the poster was the top end of the pricing spectrum, whereas today that price represents a mid-point. Inflation has not exceeded five per cent during the last six years, yet the price of the average frame has risen by 15 per cent since 2008. There are still framers charging extremely low prices, but it seems that the majority are no longer competing on price. The fact that most framers have increased their prices surely means that most are offering an improved retail experience and a higher quality product. While the cost of essentials such as fuel and food has risen since 2008, consumers can now pay very low prices for clothes, home accessories and electrical gadgets. The range of prices for these goods is massive, influenced by sophisticated marketing and branding strategies. A pair of jeans can cost £5 from Primark, or £200 from 7 For All Mankind. Framing is no different: you can buy disposable frames for a few pounds, or quality items for several hundred. In 2003 and 1998 the range of prices quoted for frames was much less than in 2008 and today. This widening price variation mirrors that in consumer goods generally. But the ART BUSINESS TODAY

The price range As in 2008, ABT analysed the survey results from the 20 per cent who charged the most and the 20 per cent who charged the least, to find out what these businesses have in common. The biggest impact on pricing is location. The framers charging the highest prices are in prosperous locations, or at least within delivery distance of high-earning customers. Framers around the M25 motorway and along the M4 corridor can charge the highest prices, while those located in the rural south west of England and in Midlands towns charge the lowest prices. Framers paying high street overheads have long complained about being undercut by their homeworking rivals. However, our survey reveals that some of the most expensive framers operate from homebased workshops, and some of the cheapest have shop windows and passing trade. Framers based in industrial units charge a wide range of prices. The conclusion is that geographical location affects prices far more than the type of premises framers operate from. If you are in Surrey the chances are that you will find it easier to sell quality framing than if you are in the north east of England, whether or not you have expensive retail premises. Some of the framers charging the lowest prices have both pricing software and a computerised mountcutter. And the highest-charging framers are not necessarily equipped with the latest technology; several of them have neither pricing software nor a CMC. It seems that geographical location affects price more than how your business is run. Technology In 2003, 30 per cent of respondents used pricing software, rising to 53 per cent in 2008 and 58 per cent today. It

How much would you charge to frame a 305x405mm (12x16”) original watercolour with a 50mm unfinished oak moulding, 2mm float glass and a 50mm conservation windowmount? The image should be hinged to a conservation quality undermount. Cross stitch

How much would you charge to frame a 125x180mm (5x7”) cross stitch on aida cloth with a 30mm simple gold frame, 2mm float glass and a 45mm double mount made from standard quality board? The fabric should be laced over its support and a conservation undermount should be between the back board and the fabric. Poster

How much would you charge to frame a 500x700mm poster in a 30mm matt black frame and 2mm non-reflective glass? The poster has to be drymounted onto mountboard and no windowmount used. All three pictures had to be finished with back board, sealed with gummed paper tape and hanging fittings should be attached. Prices are quoted net of VAT.

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➺ is surprising that in today’s high-tech business environment over 40 per cent of framers work out their prices manually. Many framers switched to pricing software earlier in the 21st century, but today the number of new adoptees seems to have dwindled. There has been a great increase in the number of framers using CMCs. In 2003 just nine per cent of respondents used one, rising to 26 per cent in 2008 and 46 per cent today. Manufacturers of CMCs are targeting medium-sized businesses with machines costing less than £10,000 and these can be rented or bought via monthly instalments. CMCs are no longer just for contract framers and are commonly used by sole traders working from home. This year ABT’s survey did not ask whether respondents have a website, since virtually every business has one now. 83 per cent had a website in 2008 and a straw poll of ABT subscribers showed that this figure has risen to almost 100 per cent today. However, the number of framers offering a secure online shopping option has remained static since 2008, remaining at 20 per cent. The ease with which the option to pay via PayPal can be added to a website is likely to have increased the number of retailers offering online shopping in other sectors, but bespoke framing is not a service which can

Framers are re-positioning themselves as specialist service providers and are not primarily competing on price, enabling them to raise prices

easily be bought online. Those accepting online payment are mainly selling artwork and gifts as well as framing. Materials In 2003 we asked framers to quote for a ramin moulding on the watercolour. Today ramin is a threatened species, so from 2008 we have asked framers to quote for an oak moulding. Six years ago we stated that all three pictures should be backed with hardboard or MDF. Very few framers use these heavy, messy and acidic materials today, preferring to use the specially formulated lightweight alternatives that are now readily available. This year, we just asked framers to use back board, leaving the choice of material up to them. In the past, framers have

commented that they do not lace cross-stich work, whereas none of this year’s respondents said that. Stitching is becoming an increasingly popular leisure activity and few framers would turn down this type of work today. Several commented that they do not use standard mountboard, however. Framers are diversifying and offering a wider range of services now, and there is a general move towards profitable conservation-quality work. Employment As in 2008, a tiny minority of framing businesses employ seven people or more. The typical respondent employs two people full-time and plus either one or two part-timers. There are a lot of part-time employees in framing, with around 60 per cent of respondents employing part-timers. National statistics show part-time employment to be at an alltime high at the moment, and framing reflects this trend. The prices charged by the average UK picture framer are rising faster than inflation as framers re-position themselves as specialist service providers and stop primarily competing on price. Framing businesses take many forms, but those in prosperous catchment areas demand the highest prices, regardless of how their businesses are structured. ■



% of retailers



CMC ownership pricing software


secure shopping



2003 40 April 2014



The art of good business Talks and demos attract attention

Networking with I joined our ‘the best of Bolton’ group last autumn and it has generated really valuable publicity for me already. is a local business guide with networking groups all over the country; businesses work together, recommend each other and share discounts and services. The public go onto the site to source businesses and to read and post reviews. You can promote your own events and exhibitions on the website and find out what else is going on in your area, so you don’t miss out on any promotional opportunities. It’s a real community hub. We won a Best Business Award last year, which generated lots of publicity. New customers feel confident to shop with an award-winning business and existing customers noticed too. Our group holds regular networking events, including breakfast meetings, where you meet a wide cross-section of local business owners. Les Cliff GCF, Framearound

I present talks and workshops to a range of groups and organisations, on either conservation framing or framing textiles. Sometimes there are as many as 60 delegates. As a result of these sessions I win business from both attendees and the organisation in charge. I mainly get referrals now; invitations are coming in for 2015 already. I tend to take examples along and talk about them, I don’t work from a script. I discuss the pitfalls of using an unqualified framer and show what a difference the right frame makes. People often have no idea that poor quality framing can actually damage their atwork. I’ve recently presented talks to the Humberside International Women’s Group, the University of Lincoln Conservation Department, the Fine Art Trade Guild and the Embroiderers’ Guild. Mal Reynolds GCF Adv, Harlequin Frames

Radio advertising: a cost-effective option We currently have four adverts being broadcast via a local community radio station. Each one is 30 seconds long and we only pay £1 per play, with a maximum of six plays per day. The radio station made the ads for us; I didn’t like the first voice they chose, so they changed actor, and added suitable background music and sound effects. They sound very professional. The ads emphasise that I’m the only qualified GCF framer in the area and that our work is of the highest quality. After people have been invited to visit our website or give us a call, the voice says, ‘Royall Framing: where the customer is king’. It’s important to stress that we are a bespoke business and that customer service is what drives us. The station is Bradley Stoke Radio. Bradley Stoke is a new fairly prosperous suburb of Bristol with about 12,000 houses. I’ve been trying to win customers in this area for a while and have already tried advertising and leaflet drops. The radio ads are running in conjuction with ads in a local newsletter (for which I’m only paying £28 per month). Marketing is a long-term investment; you have to combine lots of different ways of reaching people and radio can be an effective part of the marketing mix. Mike Royall GCF, Royall Framing ART BUSINESS TODAY

April 2014 41


The Fine Art Trade Guild’s Fine Art Committee offers advice to artists on how to price artwork, and points out mistakes that are easy to make

arning your living as an artist involves many challenges, but perhaps one of the biggest mysteries is how to price artwork, both originals and multiples. There is a perceived glut of artwork (particularly of prints) and diminishing opportunities (due to the recession), so artists can’t afford to get it wrong. It is easy to understand why new artists tend to under-price their artwork. Surprisingly, established artists can also struggle to identify the correct value for their work. It may seem incomprehensible that some artists’ work sells for many thousands of pounds, whereas other equally talented artists find it hard to sell their artwork at all. Artists are left wondering where their artwork sits in terms of its perceived value. This situation is complicated by a retail environment brimming with cutprice sales. The internet has opened up myriad sales avenues for artists, but many online galleries and shops do not offer advice on pricing, as a traditional gallery owner would, leaving artists to fend for themselves.


Key challenges It may initially seem that the best way to price artwork is to consider the time and money involved in creating it, such as art supplies, studio space and equipment. But in reality, these costs are only part of the equation. Some artists gradually increase their prices by steady increments that ‘seem right’, while others price works according to tried and trusted measurements such as price per square inch of canvas. Colin Ruffell has earned his living as an artist for many years. He advises against the ‘cost plus’ beginner’s method, ‘This solution is badly flawed. Artists must be aware of their overheads and selling costs, as well as art materials and other direct costs. Overheads include studio rental, 42 April 2014


a guide for artists utilities, running a vehicle, web access, accountant’s fees and insurance. Selling costs typically include brochure printing, exhibition costs, and hotel and travel when selling away from home. These costs are similar to those for any small business. They must be fully recorded, allowing you to work out the annual cost of running your business, which can then be broken down monthly and weekly. Then the artist can see the true cost of producing their art. However, until the artist has been in business for a while this option is not available. For the beginner, a certain amount of guesswork is required.’ Colin Ruffell continues, ‘Another popular pricing formula focuses on the time that a piece of art takes to make. If it takes a week, then the equivalent of a weekly wage can be asked. The trouble here is that a bad piece of art and a good piece of art could take the same amount of time. And as artists get older and more practiced they can produce art quicker while the novice might take ages.

Moreover, some styles of art are time consuming while others are speedy. Time taken is no indicator of the price that a collector would agree to pay.’ In reality, an artist’s reputation has the biggest impact upon pricing. Simply put, the more well known an artist is, the more their artwork is considered to be worth. Expert advice The best way forward is to seek expert advice from art professionals. Don’t just talk to artist friends in similar situations, or focus on how much artists charge whose work you consider to be similar to yours. The Fine Art Trade Guild has branches across the country which hold regular meetings where those working in the fine art industry can meet socially, network and enjoy talks and demonstrations on every aspect of fine art. Non-members are welcome too. Friendly, expert advice is freely available at these enjoyable events. Running your own business can be tiring and busy, so it’s easy to let these ART BUSINESS TODAY


events slip by, but those who attend regularly confirm that talking to others in the fine art industry is invaluable. A few calm and considered words from another art industry professional can save a lot of time and mistakes. Colin Ruffell reinforces this point, ‘Seek advice from experienced dealers. If you are exhibiting at art fairs, be sure to offer items at a range of price points, such as greeting cards and mugs at low prices and limited editions and originals at premium prices. Remember that the price is set by the seller, but the value is determined by the collector. When price and value agree, sales will take place.’ Artist Peter Hayton GCF says, ‘Don’t under-price your work, as this practice shows a lack of confidence in your ability and buyers may pick up on this when looking at your art. Artists put part of their soul into every painting; this should be felt by the viewer and is surely worth paying for. If a potential buyer sees a painting with a low price they will believe that it has little or no worth. I truly believe that if you price upwards you not only sell more paintings, but you lift your own spirits and produce better works of art.’ Gordon King, an artist with vast knowledge and experience of the business, says, ‘I have established an average retail price for my paintings, with variations for size and medium. I have always worked on the principle that my trade price is 50 per cent of

the retail price. Galleries need to know that your paintings are not being sold all over the place at widely differing prices.’ Anne Corless, Chair of the Fine Art Committee says, ‘It may seem unfair to ask a creative person to value their work commercially. The planning, expertise, energy, and mixture of angst and joy that goes into each piece of artwork is hard to quantify. But in order to survive professionally, artists have to ask what their art is worth to a potential buyer. It’s difficult. I find that discussing my work with other art professionals in the Guild helps me place my artwork and its worth within a commercial context.’ Reputation An artist’s reputation determines prices. Consider your sales record. The internet makes it easy to check past prices for an artist’s work. Your work may be very similar to that of another artist, but if that artist’s work has consistently sold for four-figure sums, and yours hasn’t, then buyers are likely to feel more confident paying a high price for work by the artist with the proven sales record. Awards and notable commissions help inspire confidence in buyers, as do past exhibitions with prestigious galleries. An artist whose work has sold through a respected London gallery for many years, and who has representation in the USA, can ask higher prices than a newcomer. Seeking out awards to enter and interesting commissions to undertake

should be part of artists’ career development, and will help develop prices. All these markers of success raise the value of an artist’s work and encourage buyers to take an interest. Artists often sell through a variety of outlets: galleries; art fairs; online galleries; and direct from their websites. Ensure that prices are the same across the board, and do not undercut galleries that represent you. Fluctuating prices not only look unprofessional, they alienate both gallery owners and customers. This practice does not help develop your reputation in the long-term. Do not change the price of your artwork depending on location; ‘London prices’ should not be higher than regional prices. Instead, consider exhibiting different types of work in each location: simple sketches may sell in rural venues, while large oil paintings may find buyers in big city galleries. Artists must have a proper understanding of their overheads and sales costs, as this will form the basis on their pricing structure. They need to work at developing their reputation, as this will enable them to raise their prices. It’s important not to undercharge, but prices must be realistic for the point at which an artist is at in their career. Artists should not hesitate to seek advice from art professionals.■ This article is by the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Fine Art Committee, which includes Anne Corless (chair), Peter Hayton, Gordon King and Colin Ruffell

Opposite page: Colin Ruffell This page: Gordon King with Anne Corless and Peter Hayton GCF (right)


April 2014 43


Test cards such as this can be used to help assess different papers (image from norman

Choosing digital paper The Fine Art Trade Guild regularly hears from artists seeking guidance on choosing digital paper for fine art work. Annabelle Ruston looks at the papers available in the UK and finds out when each might be appropriate 44 April 2014

quick look at a paper wholesaler’s website reveals that digital art papers can be fibre-based, smooth, textured, doublesided, mould-made and more. The range of tones, weights, finishes and shades is extensive and these numerous options can be daunting for artists.


The basics First things first: fine art prints must be printed on special digital paper. It might be tempting to think that you’ve painted watercolours on a particular paper for many years, so you should use the same paper for printing, as this will ensure that the prints closely resemble your originals. This would be a mistake, as digital ART BUSINESS TODAY


Fine art prints should be printed on paper weighing at least 250gsm. This should lie flat and stand the test of time better than flimsier paper

paper is coated in order to manage the way the ink sits on the paper. The coating ensures that the ink doesn’t bleed or run, and it controls the amount of ink that is absorbed by the paper. Printing ink combines with paper differently from paint. The Fine Art Trade Guild’s wellestablished standards should be a starting point for artists choosing digital paper (see these in full at These recommend that fine art prints should be printed on paper weighing at least 250gsm. Paper of this weight has a quality feel, and is more likely to lie flat and stand the test of time than thinner, flimsier paper. Fine art prints on paper of 250gsm or more can instantly be differentiated from disposable posters. Many digital fine art papers weigh between 300 and 340gsm. Fine art papers are made of quality materials, so they won’t discolour or deteriorate under normal conditions. They are either made from cotton, which does not contain acid, or the acid has been artificially removed and replaced with an alkaline ‘buffer’. Acid content is measured by the pH scale; fine art papers should have a pH reading between seven and ten, which is pH neutral. Some artists print their own work, while others utilise the services of a professional printer. Those taking the latter route must ensure that they are working with a printer who is experienced in the unique aspects of fine art work, ideally a Fine Art Trade Guild accredited printer. Professional fine art printers should have wide knowledge of the range of papers available, and will test new products as they come onto the market. They know which papers will complement a particular artist’s style and will recommend suitable products. Bear in mind that printers don’t make their own paper, so their advice ART BUSINESS TODAY

➺ April 2014 45

ART ➺ You can be sure that a Fine Art Trade Guild recommended printer understands the qualities of different papers

DIGITAL PAPER available in the UK

Peter Hayton GCF (left), Towngate Publications, talks to artist Andrew McNeile Jones about his reproductions

Many of these manufacturers sell their products via wholesalers and online retailers. Visit their websites for details of where to buy their products. Breathing Color, Canson, Coveris Advanced Coatings*, Epson, Fotospeed, Fujifilm, Hahnemühle, Innova Art, LION, Moab by Legion Paper, PermaJet, Senecio, St Cuthberts Mill**, Tecco, * Coveris bought InteliCoat, makers of Magic, Magiclée and Museo papers, in 2013 ** Somerset and Bockingford are trademarks of St Cuthberts Mill

on the best products for you should be neutral. It’s in the printer’s interests for your prints to look as good as possible. The key point is to select a proper fine art printer who is used to working with artists and understands their priorities and concerns. Your set up Artists who are disappointed with the look of their fine art prints may wonder if they have chosen the wrong paper. That could be the case, but, providing they’ve chosen a proper digital art paper, it’s more likely that the quality of the digital file from which the prints were made was inadequate. No paper can compensate for this. It’s not worth skimping on the cost of photography or scanning. In order to achieve perfect digital prints every aspect of the production chain has to be correct. The digital file must be high quality; your monitor, printer and computer must be properly calibrated; and you must be 46 April 2014

working with the right ICC profile, which will tell your printer how much ink to use to achieve the colours you want on your chosen paper. ICC profiles are a vital part of the process and most paper suppliers will make bespoke profiles free of charge for customers. This was not the case a few years ago and it has made accurate printing much easier. Your profile will be unique to your working environment and your printer, ink and paper combination. You need a different profile for each paper. If you use the wrong profile you will never achieve the best results, even with the most expensive paper. Papers and inks react together in very different ways; your printer needs to be told how much ink to use with each paper, as some papers absorb more ink than others. Your choice of ink is important. Many fine art printing specialists won’t touch third party inks, even though they cost less than proprietary

brands, partly because to do so can invalidate the warranty on your printer and consistency of output can be a problem. Others say third party inks can be excellent, provided they are sourced from a reputable supplier whose products have been thoroughly tested for stability, achievable colour gamut and consistency. Your monitor must be properly calibrated on a regular basis, so that the colours you see on your screen match those that will be printed. Otherwise, you won’t have effective control over the printing process; there’s no point in making minute adjustments to your digital file in Photoshop, only for the colours to print out differently. There are various gadgets that can be bought from specialist suppliers to manage calibration. They assess the colour values displayed on your screen and adjust them so that the colours you see are the colours that will be printed. X-Rite ColorMunki is the ART BUSINESS TODAY


Matt finishes have a natural feel, while glossy ones provide contrast and ‘pop’. Choose paper which leaves the right impression for you

market leader in this field. Finally, if you are unhappy with the way your image printed, check that you have printed on the right side of the paper. Some paper is double-sided, so is useful for printing artist’s books, but most is only coated on one side. The packaging should make it clear which side you should print on. The range When it comes to digital fine art papers there are 1000 shades of white. One supplier’s idea of white is likely to be very different from another’s, particularly when the papers are held side-by-side in daylight. Creamier papers give a warmer hue, while brilliant whites can make images look dramatic and high-impact. Inevitably, some papers cost more than others. Artists should start by finding the paper that best achieves the look they require, then consider price. Compromising in order to save a few pounds may not be sensible, but if a less expensive paper from a reputable supplier looks just as good, then it may be worth investigating further. PermaJet’s Ian Windebank offers advice, ‘Opt for the paper that represents your image most successfully, which may or may not be the most expensive option. Some papers cost more to produce, as their manufacture involves additional coatings or production processes. Don’t choose a paper solely because it’s cheap; it must convey quality and enhance your artwork.’ ‘Choosing the paper that best respects your creative vision is essential to your finished product,’ agrees Tina Forbes, graphic artist and colour management specialist at Coveris Advanced Coatings, which makes Museo papers. ‘The three key ART BUSINESS TODAY 01745 857059

➺ April 2014 47


factors are brightness, texture and gloss level. The brighter the paper, the better the achievable colour space or gamut. The better the gamut, the better your contrasts and the smoother your gradients will be. Texture adds depth as well as a luxurious richness to prints. Finally, the level of gloss is a vital component. Personally, I favour a matt surface

48 April 2014

because of the natural feel, but many artists prefer a glossy finish because it provides more contrast and ‘pop’ to the print. Ultimately it is up to you which product will leave the right impression on your audience.’ Hahnemühle’s UK sales manager, Garry Simm, offers further advice, ‘Our digital fine art range includes 21 different papers. To make paper

Printing a high quality digital print at Metro Imaging (left) and John Roland at Salt of the Earth Giclée Print Service working on a digital file, prior to creating a print

selection easy, these are sorted into three families: matt papers with a smooth surface; matt papers with a textured surface; and papers with a glossy finish. A good starting point is to decide if a matt or glossy surface is



Textured papers may not reproduce hard lines and contrast as well as smooth papers, because they replicate the effect of paint

preferred. In general, matt papers are used for art reproductions and glossy papers for photographic applications. If a matt paper is desired then the next choice is to decide if you want a smooth or a textured surface. Textured papers replicate the traditional watercolour papers that have been made in our mill for hundreds of years. If fine detail is key, then smooth paper may best capture the intricacies and nuances of your image. At the end of the day there is no right or wrong choice; it is a subjective decision.’ Many artists are primarily interested

in fidelity to their original artwork, in which case it’s a good idea to choose a digital paper with a tone and texture that closely matches the media on which the original was created. Digital papers from Canson, Hahnemühle and Bockingford appeal to artists who are used to working on watercolour and drawing papers from the same brands. If you are unsure where to start when assessing papers, it may be a good idea to focus on the best-sellers. ‘Hahnemühle’s best-selling papers are our Photo Rag, which has a smooth matt finish, German etching paper, which is matt and textured and our glossy baryta paper,’ says Kristie Becker of Hahnemühle UK. The best-seller for LION Fine Print is their Essentials Photo Archival Matt paper. ‘This paper is very popular,’ says MD Martin Harrold. ‘It is bright white with a smooth matt surface, as well as being pH neutral, water resistant and suitable for use with dye and pigment based inks. Its success is probably down to its versatility: it can used for everything from competition entries to proofing.’

Effects Heavily textured papers may not reproduce hard lines and contrasts as well as smoother papers, because they are designed to the replicate the effects of paint on paper, rather than hard photographic images. Some digital papers replicate textured watercolour papers, while others are glossy and modern looking. More and more specialist papers are coming onto the market, such as Epson’s new translucent Japanese Kozo Paper Thin, which is just 34gsm but is made from strong mulberry fibres, Fujifilm’s semi-gloss faux paper canvas or Fotospeed’s metallic paper with a pearl finish. Fotospeed’s Toby Herlinger emphasises buying from a reputable supplier, ‘Find a supplier of digital consumables that you feel comfortable with, then don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice. Most of us are happy to discuss fine art papers in great depth. We sell products from Canson and Hahnemühle as well as our own Fotospeed papers, so we aren’t just promoting a single product range.’



April 2014 49

ART ➺ Cathy Frood from St Cuthberts Mill, makers of Bockingford and Somerset inkjet papers, urges artists to ensure that they are using archival paper, ‘Some inkjet paper is loaded with optical brightening agents (OBAs) which will fade back to the colour of the original woodpulp, so be sure to buy proper archival fine art paper. Also choose the shade of the base paper with care, as subtle differences in hue effect the appearance of the colours.’ Testing Most suppliers provide test packs, as paper is a product you need to see and touch before you decide to buy. Digital fine art paper is a ‘mature product’ that has been readily available for more than a decade, so it’s a question of finding paper which suits you at a price you are prepared to pay, rather than sifting the effective from the sub-standard. When testing a new paper it’s a good idea to print out a specially designed test sheet, many of which can be downloaded from the internet. This should include the full colour gamut, including solid colour, gentle fading, a range of tones, delicate detail and bold lines. You can then assess how your artwork will print on a particular paper. Depending on your style, it is generally a good idea to download both colour and monochrome test sheets. Look carefully at the sharpness of the detail, the way the colour saturates the paper and the crispness of the lines. Assess the spectrum of colour that is printed, whether blacks are strong and rich and how closely the colours match those on your monitor. Textures and finishes mean that each paper absorbs ink differently, resulting in different tones and effects. Artists need to find papers that enhance their personal style and emphasise the effects they are trying to achieve. Papers must meet Fine Art Trade Guild standards, but beyond that it’s a question of personal tast and, to some extent, budget. Remember, the best results can only be achieved if your equipment is set up properly and if you are working from a high quality digital file. No amount of Photoshopping can compensate for inadequate origination material. ■ 50 April 2014

Top: Andrew Turnbull of Digital Print Studio assesses a range of different fine art papers Right: An original watercolour alongside a reproduction produced by Salt of the Earth Giclée Print Service Below: A print test sheet from

Business tips for


Art as part of a family business Selling Michael’s paintings is one facet of our business, and each part helps develop the others. We run painting courses, which people travel to attend from all around the world. Our daughter Sue Stevenson runs an award-winning B&B here on the farm and our grand-daughter Leah Stevenson does catering and runs cookery classes. People visiting one of our websites often click through to another. People who love Michael’s art may book a painting course or buy a picture and their partner may come to relax or learn how to cook. The key point is that once we have established a rapport with someone, they trust us and will look on each aspect of the business favourably. Buying a picture isn’t such a big step for someone who stays here regularly. Jackie and Michael Moore, Harrop Fold Farm

A painting by Michael Moore

The science of cable ties and other stuff veryone at Art on the Street has a different method of hanging their work, depending upon the weight and size of the artwork. Here are some tried and tested methods. Cable ties are great for hanging pictures securely at exhibitions. Some people use heavy-duty velcro cable ties, for no mess and no nonsense picture hanging. Others go for inexpensive bog-standard cable ties, which they buy online or at hardware shops. Creative types peg up unframed pictures on a washing line. All sorts of decorative pegs are available these days. String works for the disorganised, and S-shaped hooks made from thick wire can support smaller pictures. Marie Leonard Art on the Street


Art groups and open exhibitions Joining local art groups and exhibiting in as many open exhibitions as possible is a good way to publicise your work and find customers. I joined the Association of Animal Artists and then the Fine Art Trade Guild. It’s sensible to start looking for exhibition opportunities locally, as buyers like to support local artists and of course the logistics are easier.

Eunice Knott


April 2014 51


Mark Greer, right, with Peter Howson OBE and inset is Mark’s original sketch for the frame

Supersize frame MARK GREER explains how the team of nine framers at Art Hire Framing made a 14.5’ water gilded frame, weighing 35 stone, for St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow 52 April 2014

he Archdiocese of Glasgow needed a frame for a massive alter-piece featuring Saint John Ogilvie, that they had commissioned from Peter Howson OBE for the newly refurbished St Andrew’s Cathedral. The cathedral was undergoing a £4.5million renovation, which included mosaics made by


craftsmen in Bethlehem and a handcarved marble alter and font. A staggering 3000 books of gold leaf were used to gild the interior. The piece consisted of two separate paintings, one 8x6’, the other a 5’ arch. As this was to be one of the main features of the cathedral it was decided that the frame should be 6” wide and fully gilded.


It was unlike any job that we had ever undertaken, but with a reputation for tackling jobs that other framers will not, we embraced the challenge. The project took five months and, despite the odd problem, was completed on time for the re-opening of the cathedral. The outer frame The large rectangular canvas was already stretched. The arched piece was painted on canvas which had been glued onto 18mm MDF, making it incredibly top heavy. We used a moulding profile that is specially made for us for the lower rectangular frame. We design our profiles and our supplier makes them to our design. We replicated this design in the two sides of the arched frame. The curved frame is made from four layers of 18mm MDF, bonded with wood glue, which was clamped and reinforced with screws. We wanted the frame to be absolutely solid and to remain on the wall for 200 years, so we perhaps went a little overboard with the number of bolts we used. The MDF was held together with multiple clamps while the glue dried. The MDF was routed to match the design of the main profile. We designed a sled-type jig for the router to travel on while it carved the profile for the arch, to ensure that the routing was flat and even. The curved frame was joined at the top, and attached to the main frame, with zip bolt worktop connectors. We used three pairs in total. We routed a recess in the back of the frame for the worktop bolts, and tightened the connectors with a drill attachment. The bar and slip There’s an antique white slip between the gilded frame and the artwork. This distances the frame from the artwork and ensures that it doesn’t over-power it. It’s a Rose & Hollis slip, which we gessoed, painted and waxed. The curved slip is routed from MDF to match the Rose & Hollis profile. Most of our framers went to art school, so they have a good eye for what will look right and they speak the same language as our artists. It was immediately obvious to them that a slip was required for this frame. ART BUSINESS TODAY

Behind the scenes at Art Hire Framing

Routing the four layers of bonded 18mm MDF, using the specially made jig (top and below)

Clamping the MDF together as the wood glue dries

Coating the frame in rabbit skin glue size prior to water gilding

Pairs of kitchen zip bolt worktop connectors are used to join the arched frame

➺ April 2014 53

FRAMING ➺ Applying the gold leaf

The framed artwork hanging in the cathedral

Installing the frame in position

Blacksmiths fit metal bars to the back of the frame

Manoeuvering the frame out of the workshop and into the cathedral

Gilding the frame, bit by bit

We were originally planning to join the two pictures with just a doublesided antique white slip, rather than a gold bar running through the middle of the frame. However, when the rectangular canvas was delivered to the workshop we were appalled to discover that it was 3” shorter than we had been told it would be. Apparently the artist had destroyed the first canvas in a fit of pique, and had used a smaller one the second time. It took us a week to re-work the project and create the 3” gilded bar 54 April 2014

The team at Art Hire Framing, with Mark Greer in the middle

that now runs across the middle of the frame. As it happens, we all agree that the gold looks better than the antique white slip would have done. This type of problem makes pricing non-standard jobs such as this very hard. When you are working on such a large scale with bespoke profiles, the chances are that you will have to be flexible and change your plans as you go. We have worked with Peter Howson for 20 years, so he trusts our judgement, and we know that there are no other framers in Scotland who

could tackle this kind of job. Gilding Prior to water gilding the frame, it was gently sanded. The frame was then coated in a layer of rabbit skin glue size, which seals the wood. Eight to ten coats of white gesso were applied to conceal the texture of the wood; these were water-polished with a hot wet cloth to make sanding easier. The gesso was sanded with fine wet and dry sandpaper. Five layers of red bole were applied ART BUSINESS TODAY


next. We chose red bole as the look is luxurious and it tied in well with the rest of the decoration in the cathedral. Many renaissance frames were made with red bole, so we were respecting a historical precedent too. After the bole we applied a solution of ‘gilder’s liqueur’, which is made from rabbit skin glue and water. This is brushed on about a foot at a time, then the gold leaf is laid onto it. The clay in the gesso absorbs the water and ‘sucks’ the gold into position, where it is held by the rabbit skin glue. 23½ carat gold leaf is standard for us. It’s the finest quality available so it’s what we prefer to use. The gilding in the cathedral is phenomenal; by coincidence we use the same supplier, so I know that we used the same type of leaf. The leaf was burnished with an agate burnisher, which was very time consuming. You have a window of around six hours to burnish the gilding before it becomes too hard. 23½ carat leaf is very blingy and if it isn’t lightly distressed it can present as a solid gold bar that might overpower the artwork, so we

distressed it a little with 0000 steel wool, pumice powder and wax. It was rubbed very gently. Once you distress gilding the gold bars, or lay lines, that overlap between the squares of leaf are revealed, which gives a nice bespoke finish. A coat of shellac was applied after the distressing, which sealed the finish and protected the gilding.

to install the framed artwork. They visited our workshop, took measurements and then made three metal crossbars that were fitted to the back of the frame. The wall of the cathedral was hollowed out and filled with epoxy resin, into which supports were fitted to take the weight of the frame. We supervised handling and ensured that technicians wore gloves and rested the frame on blocks, rather than laying it directly on the floor. We have received numerous compliments since the frame was installed, and the whole project has been reported extensively in the broadcast and print media, including BBC Scotland. Though we have long held a reputation for relishing unconventional framing work, we have received many commissions for oval and circular frames since making this one. ■ Mark Greer founded Art Hire Framing, Glasgow, in 1988

Hanging The archdiocese employed blacksmiths

Photographs courtesy of Ian Marshall, Lighthouse Photographics

The archdiocese employed blacksmiths to install the framed artwork. They made three metal crossbars to fit across the back of the frame

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Pete Bingham’s


I have several large objects to frame such as vases, statuettes and cups that need to be displayed in box frames. Several people have advised me that these are jobs for a cabinetmaker rather than a framer, but I can’t believe that there is not a framer-friendly solution? A mutual acquaintance advised me to contact you for definitive ideas. The size requirement for the boxes is a maximum of 60cm high, 40cm wide and 15cm deep. Can you help please? A Framer, Huntingdon Of course I can. Whatever sources gave you the story about this being a cabinetmaker’s job were perhaps not of an innovative frame of mind. The process that I’m going to recommend has been my only method of box frame making for the past 30 years. The raw material is 5mm foam board. I started off using Fome-Cor, but I’ve recently discovered that Foam-Lite is cheaper and is actually a better consistency for the purpose, having a much harder and stiffer surface paper. So, the process. Decide on the base area and depth of the board; let’s use the theoreticals that you gave me of 60x40x15cm. The base area length is 60cm; add to that two side depths and the length figure is 90cm. Do the 56 April 2014

Send your framing problems to:

same with the width and that figure is 70cm. Cut a blank of 5mm foam board to that size. Now mark the side depths all the way round the sheet, ie 15cm from each edge. Where the lines cross at the corners, mark into the corner square a thickness of the board, 5mm, on one side only; repeat on each corner. The next process is the preparation of each side for folding into the box shape. You’ll need a good straight edge and sharp-bladed craft knife, scalpel or similar cutting instrument. Experiment on a scrap of the same board to achieve the required effect; cut through the surface paper and about a third of the way through the foam, but definitely not all the way through. The board should then snap quite cleanly when bent and will readily fold neatly at a right angle. Now proceed with the actual box. Where the marked depth line on one side runs continually across the board, uninterrupted by a corner board thickness mark, make a cut right across. Repeat this on the opposite side. On the remaining two sides, cut just across the base width, ie between the continual cuts. This will just leave the four thickness marks, one in each corner. These corners are going to be cut all the way through and the small

corner pieces removed. For confirmation, the pieces removed should measure 150x145mm. The box is now ready for folding. The sides can simply be folded and taped at the corners, but for a much stronger job use PVA wood glue on the exposed end of the board where it butts up against the adjacent side and pin the box in place whilst the adhesive sets. On a box of these proportions, it would be a good idea to reinforce the exterior of the box with an appropriate sheet material, such as 2mm MDF, 3mm ply or just ordinary mountboard. Further strengthening can be provided at the corners on the exterior of the folded box with acrylic decorators’ filler. There is very little that this form of box cannot be used for. I have used it for cricket bats, plates, swords and even a Napoleonic breastplate. A small collection of bullets, complete with cartridges, are going to be brought in for framing. The collection belonged to the customer’s father, but she knows very little about it. She would like a little note under each item describing what it would have been used for, and asked if I could help. I said that I know somebody who would. A few ART BUSINESS TODAY


framing ideas would be helpful too . The list of bullets, in ascending order of size and taken from the base of the cartridges, is as follows: 9mm Para.; .455 Webley.; .45 ACP.; .303 Ball (red band around neck of cartridge); 7.96 Mausrfbrk.; .50 US. John Retford, Cumbria First check that none of the cartridges are live, which is very unlikely in such a varied collection, but worth checking all the same. Do this by looking at the base of each cartridge – the small round centre button in each case will have an indentation caused by the firing pin. If the button is unmarked, it could mean that the cartridge is live. The rounds as you list them are: 9mm Parabellum, a pistol cartridge most commonly associated with the legendary German ‘Luger’; the .455 Webley & Scott is a heavy revolver round first used in the Dervish wars in the Sudan (its service requirement was that it must be capable of ‘physically

stopping the forward movement of a charging Dervish’); the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol round was used in the standard side arm of the US army for over 70 years and is still preferred by many; .303 Ball was standard rifle and machine gun ammunition for the British army until the mid 50s (the red band indicates tracer ammunition, a small amount of phosphorous being added to the tail of the bullet, leaving a smoke trail in flight, which was often used in aircraft); 7.96 Mauserfabriek was standard German rifle and machine gun ammunition until 1946; .50 calibre United States was a heavy machine gun round first introduced in 1922 which is still widely used today. Six bullets. Shouldn’t take up too much room, although the .50 cal will rather dwarf the rest. I’d go for a box within a box, which would provide a shelf for the rounds to sit on. I would secure the items to the back of the box with craft wire. The box would look good lined with blue suede or velvet.

No jokes lately Bingham. Are you getting miserable in your old age? Mike Fairburn, Wellington, New Zealand OK. A chap is walking his dog and is joined by a pal he hasn’t seen for some time. Suddenly, there’s a tug on the dog’s lead, ‘Oh, hang on, he wants a pee’ says the chap. The dog trots over to a dry stone wall, gets up on his hind legs, leans against the wall with his front paws and has a long pee, then drops back on all fours and continues walking. The pal, who has been looking on in amazement, gasps, ‘How long’s he been doing that?’ The chap says in a matter-of-fact tone, ‘Oh, since that wall fell on him’. You did ask. ■ Pete Bingham GCF owns Wright & Layton and the Northern Framing School, Sheffield, as well as the Everest range of decorative paints

MAKING A BOX FRAME with foam board

Once cut according to these instructions, the box can be folded and taped at the corners and then reinforced if necessary


April 2014 57


Rising to the challenge It doesn’t make sense to turn down complicated framing jobs. Rather than send this potentially profitable work to a competitor down the road, framers should hone their skills and expand their knowledge. RICHARD WILLIAMS GCF discusses some out of the ordinary framing work he’s carried out recently

aying ‘No!’ isn’t the right approach to customer service and it doesn’t make people feel good about you. In today’s competitive marketplace framers need to accept wide-ranging framing jobs; few of us can afford to pick and choose. The commissions discussed below certainly made me pause for thought. But you have to rise to the challenge and, where necessary, seek advice and acquire training, rather than turn down non-standard framing work.


Out-sized collage Sawbridgeworth Town Council asked me to re-frame a large (1.3x2m) collage, which was made from many different pieces of fabric and was to hang in the newly refurbished council chamber. The textile, which was

58 April 2014

completed in 1971, had previously hung in the library of Great Hyde Hall, a building that dates back to the 12th century. Due to its historic interest, the family of the previous owner gave the framed work to the town council. The piece had been framed, many years previously, in a rather unflattering white painted wooden frame. The framed collage was delivered to my workshop in a mini-bus, owing to its sheer size and weight, then was carefully manoeuvred in ready for dismantling. The glazing and artwork were secured in the frame with heavyduty nails; once these were removed, I saw that the frame was glazed with 6mm glass, which was very heavy, so required careful handling and disposal. The frame had no backing; it had either been framed without a back or



The town crest before cleaning and restoration (above), with Richard Williams GCF, and after (left)

this had been removed at some point. As a result, both the glass and artwork were coated in layers of dust, built up over many years. I cleaned the artwork very carefully with a soft brush to remove the loose dust. The artwork was already stretched over adequate stretcher bars with braces so re-stretching wasn’t necessary. My first suggestion was that the artwork should be glazed with acrylic, as it would hang in a public space


where safety is a prime concern. I also suggested that the council consider glazing that provides UV protection, which would help retard fading and deterioration. The customer agreed with my proposals, so I glazed the collage with Artshield, which has the added benefit of a scratch resistant surface. The frame chosen was from LION Picture Framing Supplies’ Exhibit range. The rebate depth was sufficient to accommodate the artwork, and I felt that the image would look best surrounded by a black frame, which would mirror the effect of the black borders that are sewn around the pieces of fabric that make up the collage. I incorporated a black spacer that matched the frame, to distance the artwork from the acrylic. The spacer also acted as a border around the artwork that neatly hid some exposed areas of hessian backing. The frame was finished with 3mm foam board at the back and sealed to help protect the artwork from dust and insects. Appropriately robust strap hangers

April 2014 59

FRAMING ➺ were attached to the frame, ready for hanging. Although still a heavy piece of work the finished frame is much lighter than the original, owing to the acrylic glazing and the foam backing. Sawbridgeworth Town Council now have an historic piece of artwork gracing their Council Chamber that is protected from damaging UV rays and from airborne particles for many years to come. Joanne Kenny, spokesperson for Sawbridgeworth Town Council, commented, ‘We support local independent businesses and we are fortunate to have the expertise of In a Frame on our doorstep. We were familiar with Richard’s work as he regularly shares photographs on the All About Sawbridgeworth Facebook page. It is important to us that this piece of Sawbridgeworth heritage was sympathetically restored and Richard guided us through possible alternatives and solutions.’ Town crest Following the re-framing of the collage, my wife and I undertook another major piece of work for Sawbridgeworth Town Council. This was not a framing job, but is an example of how framers need to be adaptable and diversify. Their town crest, which is displayed in a prominent position on a wall in the town, was in great need of cleaning and re-painting. As they were so happy with the collage, they contacted me to ask if this was a job I could handle. The crest and town name board were removed from the wall while the Christmas lights were being put up at the end of November and the two pieces were delivered to my workshop. Both pieces were needed back by 3 January, in time for them to be installed as the Christmas lights were dismantled. The work involved many hours of painstaking cleaning, preparing and painting, followed by several coats of external wood varnish to protect the work from the elements. We removed the worst of the dirt with a toothbrush, then washed the rest away with diluted sugar soap solution. We painted the crest with acrylic paint. The crest and name board are now back in place, illuminated at night, and have received a number of admiring comments from local people. 60 April 2014

The 2m wide collage that was re-framed (below), and 112 Arsenal football club badges

Badges When presented with 112 Arsenal football club badges to frame, my first thought was the composition. The customer had no preferences as to how the badges were arranged. A neat grid with ten badges going one way and 11 the other seemed to work visually, but that left two excess badges. Positioning the two largest items at the top added interest to the composition, and meant that the grid could be tighter and thus helped keep the overall frame size down.

I made holes in the undermount with a bradawl, then pushed the badges through and attached the pinbacks behind the mountboard to hold them in place. I used my eye when deciding exactly where to make each hole, as the shapes and sizes of the badges varies. I placed the largest items around the edges, then mixed the sizes in the middle. I was pleased with the resulting visual balance. I cut strips of foam board to form spacers that are hidden under the mount. The red lower mount reflects ART BUSINESS TODAY


the club colours. The brushed silver frame complements the metal badges and it was sufficiently deep to hold the artwork without being built up at the back. Boxing kit The gloves, which are signed by David ‘The Haymaker’ Haye, are attached to the undermount with plastic cable ties, of the type easily bought from hardware shops. I passed the ties through the laces at the back of the gloves, then through holes I’d made in the board, and I pulled them really tight at the back. I cut off excess plastic at the back. I experimented with how to position the gloves. As a rule, a jaunty angle looks best; two items positioned side-by-side looks visually repetitive. I had to build out the frame at the back to accommodate the depth of the gloves. I used a wide bare wood spacer from Wessex Pictures, which I painted to match the frame. I told the customer that anti-reflective glass would work best for these 3D items, but keeping the cost low was a priority so ordinary float glass was used. My customer was donating these shorts, which are signed by boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, to a charity auction. I sewed them to the undermount at various anchor points with thick cotton thread. They needed to be held apart slightly so that the signature and embroidery are visible. The frame didn’t need to be built up, as the fabric of the shorts is very fine. A slim red mount is used, with narrow spacers hidden underneath. Cap and tie The university cap is stuffed with wadding to provide a pleasingly plump shape. Both items were sewn in place with a needle and cotton thread. I was pleased to find mountboard that matched the colour of the items, so I used this for the top mount. The objects would have visually disappeared if I’d mounted them onto the pale green board, so the undermount is off-white. I used a bare wood spacer to build up the frame at the back, and I stained this to match the frame. This customer agreed to my suggestion of anti-reflective glass. In fact, he was so pleased with the effect, that he has since brought in several other pictures ART BUSINESS TODAY

➺ April 2014 61

FRAMING ➺ and asked me to replace the glass. Wall When my customer pulled this piece of wall out of a cereal box I said, ‘Yes! Of course!’ but inwardly I was thinking, ‘How on earth . . . ?’ However, there’s usually a way. The piece of wall juts out at the back, so, in the end, I decided to try to wedge it into a bespoke hole cut into laminated sheets of foam board. You couldn’t glue a chalky, flaky item such as this. I stuck ten sheets of foam board together, then I hollowed out the shape of the back of the piece of wall with a scalpel. I made a paper template to guide me as I cut and gouged out the board. A piece of offwhite mountboard was stuck on top of the foam board to form the undermount. I kept the hole small, so that the wall fits in tightly. It required many tiny adjustments to get the size right, which was time-consuming, but in the end the fragment of wall is held in place very securely, with no need for additional support. Spacers are hidden by the top mount, so if dust falls from the piece of wall, it will fall behind the top mount, so will not be visible. The frame had to be built up at the back, but it’s not heavy, as the wall is crumbly and light in weight, and the foam board is of course bulky rather than heavy. The frame was finished with non-reflective glass. ■ Richard Williams GCF owns In A Frame, Sawbridgeworth,

62 April 2014

Four recent framing commissions that were undertaken by In A Frame


Trade secrets A handy hint for touching up frame corners ike many framers, we use Rub ‘n Buff gilders’ paste, along with Goldfinger paste, for touching up the corners of frames. If you dilute either of these substances with white spirit they can be applied with a brush, which makes for even coverage and means that you can be more accurate with application. Barry Leveton GCF Adv, Below: Barry Leveton Leveton & Sons GCF Adv


works on a gilded frame

Polyester sleeves save the day


e have just framed a collection of valuable postage stamps and found the little polyester storage pockets from Conservation by Design to be perfect for the job. I knew that they would reach high conservation standards, but I was anxious that they would distort the look of the stamps. However, this worry proved unfounded. You can’t join polyester with water-based adhesive, as it won’t

stick, but these sleeves are made with two open sides and they stay firmly closed once in position. You could seal them with double-sided tape, so long as this was positioned a safe distance from the artwork. Ordinary waterbased conservation adhesive can be used to attached the polyester to the undermount. These sleeves would be ideal for supporting any fragile paper or documents. Raymond Tovay, RT Frame Services

An ingenious way of creating crossbars for stretchers There’s no such thing as scrap in a framing workshop I always say. When I make a stretcher frame that requires crossbars I use a pair of mirrorplates to secure a wood offcut across the back of the frame. This not only uses up scrap wood in a satisfying way, it means that I don’t have to mess around sawing a two-way stretcher at a specific, and odd, angle with my bench top saw (the angle has to be specific so that the stretchers slot together). There’s one bent mirrorplate at each end of the ‘bar’. The plate attaches to the inside of the stretcher and the back of the bar, so is not in contact with the canvas and can’t mark it. The affixing of the plates doesn’t have to be spectacularly neat, as they won’t be visible. Martyn Holehouse, Seventh Wave Gallery


April 2014 63


AGENTS & JOBS Experienced framer required for busy framing shop in Brighton. Part time. Minimum 2 years’ experience is essential. Front of shop plus framing/workshop duties. CV to Full time experienced picture framing position, London SW11. Position available for an experienced GCF framer whose tasks will include mounting and presentation of artwork, frame construction, cutting and handling all types of glass, frame assembly and fitting up, an interest in wood staining and highly bespoke frame making would be an advantage must be happy to work as part of a team. Working hours: Monday – Friday 09.00 - 17.30. Please send us a CV to:

Original artwork for sale. Private collector is selling paintings/sketches by artists such as Alexander Millar, Peter Smith, Paul Horton, Charlotte Atkinson, Jonathan Truss, Tony Forrest, John Wilson, BAM. For details please email MATERIALS & EQUIPMENT Mounts4You. Online web based mount cutting service. Visit for information

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Hardwood wedges for stretched canvases. Over 50% of 19th and 20th century stretched canavases have broken or missing wedges. We manufacture eight different size/thickness combinations of replacement hardwood wedges, £5.50 per set of ten plus £3.50 p & p per order. Try the Studio Selection:10 each, 4 useful sizes, £23.50 post paid and save £2. Tel 01603 743374 with credit/debit card details. Leveton Studio, Orman House, 17a Grove Avenue, New Costessey, Norwich, NR5 0JD Play and display art vinyl album flip frames. White and black. Single item £12+VAT, triple set £25+VAT, limited stock. Carriages cost. Contact or 01204 397707 Stretcher bars and canvases made to measure in the UK. Fast turnaround. Softwood and hardwood bars. Any size from 200mm to 3000mm. Print stretching service. Made by the UK’s leading manufacturer. For a catalogue call us now on +44 (0)121 2480030. SERVICES Affordable giclée printing for galleries, framers and artists. Easy upload, trade discounts and great prices. Specialists in affordable canvas prints. Visit for more information and full price lists or call +44 (0)20 7241 1113 Digital artwork suppliers. High volume photographic restoration and enhancement services. Range of photo-to-art products available includes Caricatures, Pop Art, and Fantasy templates. Free to register. 0208 144 2472 or Frame pricing software available for both Macs and PC's and in imperial or metric measurements. Powerful yet simple to use and easily adapted to suit all businesses. An indispensable tool for the modern framing business. Visit or call Mike Royall GCF on +44 (0)1454 617022 Giclée and canvas printing service from Richard C O Lovesey Fine Art. Order greeting cards, keyrings, notelets featuring your artwork. No Minimum order. Mount cutting service. Enquiries welcome. (01507) 600836 The Association of Animal Artists invites artists working in any media to join for exhibition opportunities, workshops, field trips, AAA Art Rendezvous Days and the opportunity to work from life with the AAA En Plein Air Group. Please visit our website, ART BUSINESS TODAY

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Art of Framing Training School. or call Lyn Hall GCF Adv to request prospectus. Flexible training to suit your needs. Accommodation available. Based outside Guildford/Farnham. Call (01483) 810555 Down School of Picture Framing. ALL courses accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild. Call Steven McKee GCF Adv 028 9269 3807 / 07834 787487 Hedgehog Art & Framing is a Fine Art Trade Guild accredited trainer. Basics to advanced, worldwide training on your premises. Over 500 students to date. Roy Rowlands GCF 01527 876293, In a Frame - Individual framing training by a qualified GCF (Hertfordshire/Essex borders). Courses fully accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild. Call Richard Williams GCF on 01279 260069, Northern Framing School, Sheffield. Run by trainer and author Pete Bingham GCF. All aspects of framing, including GCF refresher courses and 4-day beginner course. 0114 245 1547 or

Harlequin Frames, Lincolnshire. Individually tailored textile framing workshops. Contact Mal Reynolds GCF Adv to discuss details 01673 860249 or e-mail

Royall Framing (Bristol). Individual or joint tuition is offered by Mike Royall who's been a GCF since 1994 and is the only framing trainer in the UK who’s also a qualified adult education teacher. All courses are fully accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild. For more information visit or call Mike on +44 (0)1454 617022 Sophie Brown Conservation Framing. Registered GCF tester in Australia. Individual tuition from basic to advanced framing. The emphasis is on conservation. +61 2 9518 0624 Sports Framing offer training from basics up to GCF standard. I day engineering courses on the Morsø. Oldham, Lancs. UK School of Framing. A range of courses available at a pace to suit each level to allow students to enjoy and absorb what is taught. Courses take place at venues all over the UK and are accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild., 01494 459545 Wessex Pictures Framing School (est 1987) offers training to novices and experienced framers. It is recognised by the Fine Art Trade Guild. The 5-day course in Leatherhead is £395 + VAT. Phone Garry White GCF, 01372 377738 BOOKS

Published by the Fine Art Trade Guild

The GCF Study Guide

Annabelle Ruston

Conservation Framing


Guild Commended Framer Study Guide

Researched, edited and compiled by Annabelle Ruston and Fiona Ryan GCF

Frame Design

GILDING COURSES An opportunity to create bespoke gilded frames. This 3-day intensive course is a practical introduction to water and oil gilding with an optional 4th day covering frame restoration. Venues: London, Salisbury, Oxford, Birmingham, Hastings & Nr Edinburgh. Contact Jan Pike 01424 754104 or 07973 732184

Call 020 7381 6616 to order or visit



Annabelle Ruston

Supported by Conservation by Design

A Fine Art Trade Guild publication

New from the Guild. Available as an e-book or spiral bound. Call 020 7381 6616 to order or visit

Conservation Framing by Annabelle Ruston is published by the Fine Art Trade Guild with the support of Conservation by Design. 128pp; paperback; colour photographs; £12.99 (£11 to members), plus £2 p+p.

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The indespensable part of every framer’s training Call Moira on 020 7381 6616 to order or visit

JUNE 2014 DEADLINE Please email copy to by 12 May COST 30 words are £35 +VAT and 50p per word thereafter (free to Guild members) Box numbers cost £10 + VAT (Guild members £5 + VAT) Boxed classified ads cost £55 + VAT per 60mm (£40 + VAT to Guild members) PAYMENT Payment must be made before publication. Please call 020 7381 6616 with your credit or debit card details REPLYING TO A BOX AD Email your contact details to and we forward your details to the advertiser April 2014 65


Over 220 artists work at Wimbledon Art Studios, one of Europe’s largest single-site studio complexes. Isabel Garcia Imhof explains what goes into organising their bi-annual four-day open studio events, which attract around 4500 visitors How are your open studio events funded? Artists pay to take part and about 80 per cent choose to be involved. Each artist also donates a small piece of work that we sell for £55, or they can choose to pay £55 instead. There is no commission on sales. Sponsorship makes the events viable, and securing sponsorship is a big part of my job. In November, Fielders donated art materials for our workshops; Genesis Imaging printed banners; Spanish Wine Select and By The Horns Brewery provided wine and beer for the opening night; Vallebona donated catering for the opening night; and Riverside Joinery made MDF display panels. I want to find sponsors who will donate cash as well, which I want to spend developing our marketing efforts. We open a café during the show to raise funds, and we organise side events to sell donated artwork outside of the open studio events. We have just started working with, which means supporters sign up to our page and a percentage is donated to us when they shop online with participating retailers. We are about to introduce crowdfunding too. How to you market the shows? Direct marketing works well for us. We have 20,000 names on our database; we contact people via email and post printed invitations as well. We print around 30,000 leaflets that are distributed with magazines and through doors. We advertise in both lifestyle and art magazines; we use outdoor advertising banners in south west London; posters are placed with local retailers; we run a PR campaign; and we distribute leaflets to homes in Surrey and south west London. I would like to increase the scale of the leaflet drops, as it is definitely our most effective marketing tool. People get too many marketing emails so don’t pay attention to them. Our 66 April 2014

Photo by Esme Ducker

ISABEL GARCIA IMHOF leaflets include a map and many, many people turn up holding their leaflet. They keep them in their homes, whereas emails get buried after a few days. We are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Social media works well for us as our 200 artists and our sponsors re-tweet for us and share our posts. I spend four days a week organising and marketing the shows, which are held in November and May. I have some administrative support, but planning, negotiation, PR and the media campaign is down to me. Tell us about the open studio shows They are dynamic and fun! There are free workshops and demonstrations, as well as artists showing their work, which helps artists engage with visitors. We encourage artists to create artwork in their studios too, or to hold competitions and prize draws. Many families visit at weekends, so we organise activities to keep children entertained and busy while their parents look at artwork. The open studios start with a special event on Thursday evening, where there is a guest speaker such as BBC arts correspondent Razia Iqbal or Royal Academician Ken Howard. The opening night is attended mainly by art business contacts such as known

collectors, gallery owners and journalists. It’s less busy than at weekends, so people can look at the artwork uninterrupted. Sunday is by far the busiest day, when 40 per cent of our visitors attend, compared with 25 per cent on Saturday. Are the logistics considerable? We need quite a few staff to direct visitors, wrap customers’ purchases, process payments and to meet and greet people; our insurance company advises us on how many helpers we need. We also need a permit from the local authority giving us permission to run the event. Up to 800 people attend at once, so we need emergency procedures. Staff and volunteers receive health and safety training on site two weeks before the event. There are limits as to how many visitors can be on each floor safely; a member or staff counts people and may have to redirect them. We don’t sell alcohol, but we always apply for a licence in case a sponsor requests a pay bar. Some of our artists take part in art fairs regularly so are able to accept payment by credit and debit cards. Artists who don’t have this facility can send their customers to pay in our office and we make a small charge for this service. ■ ART BUSINESS TODAY

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Art Business Today April 2014  

The premier publication for the art, framing and printing industry.

Art Business Today April 2014  

The premier publication for the art, framing and printing industry.