This client brought us an antique Asian puppet to be framed. Instead of simply attaching it to the back of a shadowbox, we decided to make it appear to “float” in mid-air. We did this by attaching the puppet to a sheet of clear acrylic, then suspending that between the back of the shadowbox and the glass. As you can see, the result is stunning!
In keeping with conservation standards, we did not attach the puppet with adhesive of any kind. Instead, we drilled four pairs of tiny holes at strategic points and looped nylon monofilament through to hold the puppet down. The holes line up with the perforations in the puppet, and the monofilament is nearly invisible. It takes a very keen eye to even see where the attachments are, thus adding to the effect of magic levitation!
Bring us your keepsake and let us work our magic on that too!
This customer arrived bearing a specially-built box, with specific instructions for how to open it written thereon. Inside the box was a plastic bag; inside that was a folder; inside THAT was:
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A hand-copied, decorated Bible page from the 15th century! This piece presented a few challenges: first, it was inscribed on sheepskin. Second, it was inscribed on both sides, and the customer wanted to be able to show either side.
One particular challenge with sheepskin is that it must NEVER touch water, otherwise it will warp and curl (or to put it another way, sheepskin wants to try and return to the shape of the sheep!). This means that we could not use our usual water-based adhesives to hold it in place.
The customer selected a silkscreen-texture top mat for each side of the piece, and a different solid-color bottom mat for each side. She then selected an ornate silver/gold moulding with a somewhat distressed finish to complement the historic period of the piece. Finally she selected Museum Glass to provide both optimal clarity and protection from UV light (The photos above were taken with the glass in place; note that there are NO reflections whatsoever!).
We used Mylar photo corners to hold the page in place on one of the mats (Mylar is approved by the Library of Congress for direct contact with historical materials). We then adhered the two double mats back-to-back with a paper spacer in between. This reduces the pressure on the edges of the page and allows it freedom to expand and contract. We then built two frames back-to-back, and used spacers between the mats and the glass to fill out the thickness of the doubled rabbet. The frames are held together with decorative metal plates on the bottom and sides.
As for hanging hardware: while we normally place a hanging wire on the back of a frame, this frame really has neither a front nor a back. Instead we used a chain attached to D-rings at the tops of the side rails of the frames. All of the hardware was painted with a dark hammer-textured paint to provide a proper Renaissance feel to the piece.
This is one of our more ambitious projects to date, incorporating shadowbox mounting, heavy objects, and electronics.
The final result!
This customer had a number of memorial plaques from the family synagogue that he wanted to incorporate into a display for his father’s 80th birthday. There were two styles of plaques: brass and plastic. The brass plaques were 1/4″ thick and rather heavy, requiring special mounting considerations.
The customer had devised an overall layout for the plaques but left the details to us. We used our visualization system to mock up a design for his approval. The customer wanted the overall background to be black. While from a design standpoint black was an excellent choice for the brass plaques, we believed it provided insufficient contrast for the black plaques. The solution was to use a double mat: black on top, metallic gold underneath. We would cut openings for the black plaques, leaving 1/2″ of gold around each set.
The other requirement was that we incorporate a yahrzeit lamp into the design. By Jewish custom, special “yahrzeit” (anniversary) candles are lit on the anniversary of a loved one’s death and at other high holidays. In modern times electric lamps have been used in place of candles. We chose to incorporate a circular light with a Star Of David motif above the plaques. We used a super-bright LED rather than a conventional bulb for long lamp life, low heat, and low power consumption. The LED is powered by four AA batteries built into the frame.
Here is how we put it together: