Craft & Creativity

David WilkieWith the deadline for our framing competition getting ever nearer, David Wilkie has offered to give you an insight into his methods for getting the grey cells in gear. With his background of success in the very top levels of competition framing, it must be worth reading!


I've done quite a few framing competitions over the years and been fortunate enough to win a few too. It’s always difficult and I inevitably leave things until the last minute before finalising the design: I'm constantly waiting for that piece of brilliant inspiration. It rarely arrives so the answer is “good, old hard work” … very enjoyable hard work.


A David Wilkie Winner - Classic mount cutting.Where To Start?

For the new competition from DIY the subject is Summer Holidays. I usually start with frustration and a disconcerting lack of ideas. With a set piece of art you already have something to work from. In this case we almost have a blank canvas, with only a general direction in which to head. Before coming up with a design, you need something in mind to work with: it can be a picture, an object or an idea. All you need to do then is find the actual “picture or object”. Whatever it is, it needs to have impact in colour, texture or subject matter. Having a delicate, soft or subtle image is going to limit your options. Even though this is a framing competition I still think the item being framed should be the focus of attention. At the same time you want to show off some framing skills so the more powerful the object being framed, the more you can do with your creative ideas: it will give you more options.


Judging The Balance

Then there are the judges. What are they looking for? What are the aims of the competition and how will it be marked? First read the rules, check out the conditions: what’s in them that can help you get the right balance? Are they looking for workmanship, creative ideas or both?


A lesson I learnt early on was don't think about what anyone else is going to do. Even if they have the same idea, they are not going to produce identical artwork. Just because it is the first thing you thought of, don't think everyone else will be thinking the same. If you have a good idea, go with it. Choose a subject that gives you colours, shapes, textures or combinations. Use these to inspire your design and extend the character of your picture or object into the mount and frame.


Developing and trying new skills.Creativity and Quality Workmanship

I really love the freedom a competition can give you: no customers to dictate colour, style and taste. I often have an overall effect in mind before coming up with a detailed design. This often involves developing and trying new techniques; for example paint finishes, or solving problems like the right cutting order for an intricate mount. Learn new skills, push the boundaries and be creative. This is the art industry, so be artistic be creative. Framing is also a craft so practice quality workmanship too. But most of all have a go, do something to be proud of, enjoy it and create something you'd want to hang on your own wall.


Fancy having a go?  Check out the Summer Holidays competition.


Posted on: 5 Aug 2009@09:19:06, updated on: 5 Aug 2009@10:24:30.