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Double Date In Glasgow

Travels With Duncan and "The Prof"

Being in Glasgow for the Hobbycrafts exhibition at the SECC, we decided to take time to offer a complete basic training course rather than simply hosting workshops at the show.  As a result, we were able to take a group through our Basics of Framing and Mount Cutting & Decoration courses.  Once again, all were delighted with the work they have achieved and, in each case, it proved to be the first step on a route that we hope will lead to developing and then using their skills to market their own artwork as well as framing pieces for others (paid of course!)

This is our third training visit to Scotland, and each time we are so pleased with our reception.  This means that we will continue to see Scottish venues as a basic and important part of the annual training cycle.

It very much suited our needs to find a training venue in the heart of Glasgow as one of us was running the stand at the SECC, whilst the other had to lead the two training days.  What we hadn't been prepared for was the quality of the training venue. There couldn't be a better place to think about framing than when working in the Glasgow School of Arts.  The fact that the building is itself a working, "work of art" having been designed, to the very finest detail, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  Completed in December 1909, the Mackintosh building became the new home of the Glasgow School of Arts. 

The real beauty of the building and what made it such a privilege to work there, was the fact that the place remains unchanged with original doors, door furniture and so on …. all slightly worn but in daily use!  The icing on the cake was the exhibition of the artist Rennie Heeps.  In particular the painting Pipe Dreamer (seen here), which he had framed for himself in a beautiful and unique mann: the perfect inspiration of the artist framing his/her own work!!   For all of those reasons, we are hoping to use the GSA for future training.  If the reaction of those on the courses is anything to go by, knowing that we will be working from here will be an added attration … that and the excellent students' cafeteria across from the main building! 

As well as our touring programme of Basics training, we will also be offering training to help deal with a specific range of framing tasks, when we come back to Scotland in April.  These are available as a complete package as part of the Business Development Week (click for more detail), or in smaller chunks if you prefer (click here for detail of courses).

Glasgow Dates (2006) as Follows:

Saturday 22nd April 2006  
Basics of Framing

Sunday 23rd April 2006 
Mount Cutting & Decoration 

Monday 24th April-Friday28th April 2006
Business Development Week - (Dates will be made up of 2 x Business Days; Framing Fabrics; Conservation Framing; 3D Framing)

In addition we are hoping to offer another "Grand Tour" of Scotland with our Basics training package.  We had a lot of positive feedback from visitors to our SECC stand, about setting up training days in venues all around Scotland.  We will be following those interests up as soon as possible.  If you would also like to register a wish to pursue training at another location, please use one of the links below to note where you would like to train.  We will keep you posted with updates of venues and dates.

The second half of our visit to Glasgow was, as mentioned earlier, to attend the Hobbycrafts exhibition at the SECC.  This is our second visit to exhibition, which again proved well worthwhile.  We met several "old friends" and made many new ones.  People clearly like the concept of being able to buy all framing tools, equipment and resources from one place (we sold out of almost all the stock we brought with us, including the demonstration tools). 

We hope that you are finding that the website offers the shop you had expected as well as a great deal of information to support and inform your work.  Certainly the support and information sides are areas we will be extending considerably over the next few months.

Our next visit to the SECC will again be for the Spring "Hobbycrafts" exhibition,

Thursday 9th –  Sunday 12th March 2006


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Grow Your Own (Framing Business)

One idea behind our Business Development Weeks is that there should be a combination of people staying with the whole course throughout the week and some people joining in with individual training days, such as Framing Fabrics, to build on the basic training they have already had.

The next Business Development Week is:
Saturday 19th November - Friday 26th November in Beaconsfield

This was certainly the case with our first Business Development Week in August, at DIY Framing's home in Beaconsfield.  One customer was with us for the whole seven days; a second completed the basic training weekend and then stayed with us on the two business development days; finally, on the various skills development courses of 3D Framing, Conservation Framing and Framing Fabrics, there was a motley crew of individuals taking one or two of the training days .... (apologies for that, but you know who you are!).  In fact, the combination of arrivals, departures and (one person's) resilience made for a thoroughly interesting (and highly entertaining) week. 

The second development week, middle of September in Manchester, was also highly successful, if different in nature. Here, all four people booked for the week, with no "day students" joining us.

There is no doubt that one of the strengths of working this way is the informal exchange of ideas from the various people on the course.  Each has a different "work" background, varying areas of interest, differing skills levels and a wide range of expectations.  After just seven days it is possible to see how each one has grown -  mainly in the clarity of where they want to go with their business ideas and the confidence in their own skills to deliver them.

A typical week runs something like this:
Days 1 & 2: 
An introduction to framing and mount cutting styles, where you leave with a good idea of what the basic work entails.  People usually start by apologising for what they can or cannot do but finish feeling, "actually quite pleased with their own work" ... often amazed and grinning broadly.

Day 3 - Business Development Day 1: 
This gets the ball rolling.  People start to see a possible structure to what they hope to do, which, combined with the fact that they know they can do the framing thing, it makes the whole venture seem possible.  The trouble is the ideas have really started to flow and so the restless nights follow as bright ideas spring up at 2.00 am and need to be jotted down.

Days 4, 5 & 6 - Skills Development Days: (3D Framing; Framing Fabrics; Conservation Framing)
Two things happen over the next three days.  The confidence as a framer starts to build.  No longer do people think of what style of framing they might be able to do, they start to look at framing projects as potential "earners" and how to sell, imaginatively, their increasing creative abilities as a bespoke framer. 

The second thing that happens is that people chat about the first business day as they work.  New ideas emerge and everyone helps each other out with practical solutions to some of the issues arising from these thoughts.  And so the restless nights continue ... but so does the lengthening list of plans.

Day 7 - Business Development Day 2: 
Very tired, but still eager for more, people would be forgiven for thinking that this would be a calmer day; one set aside for reflection and assimilating all that has happened.  In some ways it is, but, where Business Day 1 looked at some of the practical nitty-gritty of setting up a business,  day 2 considers making money through framing, how to think "outside the envelope" to grow and extend the business. 

So, by the end, people's brains are full to bursting with ideas; however, they also now have a very strong foundation of framing skills, good enough to adapt and apply to most framing projects presented to them.  People also have had the experience of using a range of framing tools and materials to create 4 framed pieces and a range of mounted work.  They can buy equipment safe in the knowledge that they will be able to use it - so it is money well spent.

A final, and exceptionally important, outcome from these weeks is the support network that can evolve.  During such a busy week, you really do get to know a lot about each other and so, naturally, people will want to talk with each other after they go their own separate ways.  The final act always seems to be an exchange of email adresses and telephone numbers.  Similarly, at the core of this,  DIY Framing will continue to offer informal support on the business and framing skills sides. So our email contacts also go into the melting pot.

Many thanks to all of those participating in our first Business Development Weeks.  Every indication is that they each gained an enormous amount from the seven days, BUT so did we in the form of ideas, positive feedback, fun and good company (and a couple of sales!)

The next Business Development Week is:
Saturday 19th November - Friday 26th November in Beaconsfield

More dates will follow shortly for the new year.

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Photography Weekends - Over In A Flash

We have now run two sets of photography weekends - one in Beaconsfield and the second in the West Midlands.

So what makes them different from the usual Basics framing workshops? 

To begin with you are among people with similar interests.  The incredible exchange of ideas and tips could not have been planned for (and could not have gone better).  People chatted about camera types, lighting, where to have digital images enlarged, best printers and, of course, great locations for dramatic images.

Second up, we were able to use a different range of products in the framing and mount cutting.  When we run our standard courses, we need to select materials that will work for a more general range of artwork being brought to the sessions; anything from a page from the Beano to a child's picture.  Knowing that we would be dealing with photographic images, we could experiment with black core mount board and a finer, ash moulding.  The results were terrific.

A third difference was that, although there were people with different backgrounds attending the sessions, they all had similar needs from the framing weekend. All were anticipating stepping out into the commercial market in some way (no matter how tentative).  This means that their framing would have to pass muster with a "third party", whether that person was a friend, relative, member of the public or exhibitor.

And what came out of the weekends?  Apart from the armful of framed and mounted photos, there were "amateur" photographers who could see a potential for exhibiting and selling some of their own framed works.  A photographer launching her career in free-lance work, now with an awareness of a second strand to her business, selling mounted and / or framed images. Another person was unsure whether she would be able to support a family member's burgeoning career in photography by mounting and framing pieces for direct sale - the answer is an emphatic yes.  Finally, two people, with an established reputation in photography and image printing, will not only be able to take over artistic control of their own work,  they can also offer a framing service to local artists, photographers and print clients.

From DIY Framing's point of view, there is a real benefit to operating Photography Weekends.  For more detail about these workshops visit our TRAINING ZONE. You can register an interest for our next, proposed sessions.







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Handy Hints Information Sheets

As well as the handy hints informtion under the "articles" section of this site, we are gradually building a series of single page, A4 information sheets, concerning aspects of the framing process.

The idea is that you can download individual sheets and print them for later use.  All are available in PDF format.

Titles so far are:

  • The Components of A Basic Frame
  • Planning the Dimensions of a Picture Mount
  • Cutting A Single Mount Using a Logan Bevel Edge Cutter
  • Attaching Artwork using a Hinge Mount System
  • Choosing the Style nad Quantity Of A Moulding For A Frame

In addition to step by step guidance, the sheets use diagrams and photographs to illustrate aspects of the framing process.  Sheets also include details of the tools needed to carry out a particular process.

We hope you will find this a useful addition to the site.  To transfer to the introuductory page, click here.  For future visits, look for the Articles section in the Training Zone and follow into How To Do It section..

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Thank you for your continued support.

Until next time...


November 2005

November has been a busy month with some exciting, long-planned projects coming to fruition.  In this (first of) new style news letter, we hope you find items to inspire, inform and start you planning for 2006.


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