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Meet the Framer

The Black and White Box

How long have you been in the Picture Framing Industry Lorenzo?

"I started The Black and White Box in the summer of 2017. Old-school film processing, scanning, darkroom printing and hire, digital printing, and image restoration. I have always been interested in framing as a craft. In November last year, we decided to order framing machinery from Avon and start up the framing side. My co-workers and I spent a few months learning about, refining, and understanding the many processes that picture framing requires. There was a lot more to unpack than I had initially thought when beginning this challenge, so starting was somewhat daunting. Still, I am so glad to have invested my time into taking the time to appreciate the details of this craft."

What inspired you to start picture framing?

"When handing a finished print over to a customer, we found they often wanted to complete their works by getting them framed. As we were sending them elsewhere for this service, it felt like a natural progression to investigate picture framing.  I have always been attracted to the refinement of craftsmanship, particularly woodwork. There is a simple beauty alongside dedicating your time to mastering a craft.  I am also interested in how the ‘framing’ component of images and art is often overlooked by the audience - even though the frame is what completes, binds, holds up and finishes the work, making what you are framing functional and, if you like - timeless."

What do you enjoy most about framing?

"The diversity of skills and the variety of considerations involved with framing is something I have come to really enjoy. It is like a balancing act, trying to highlight features of the framed work while not overpowering it. There are so many options, and every job is so different, it keeps things exciting."

What do you think has been the key to your business doing well?

"Honestly, our success so far is due to the great team we have. The people I like to work with are photographers or artists themselves. I find it helps to bridge the gap between technician and customer through the relatability of craft. It also creates a more trustworthy relationship with clientele which I find important when dealing with art, as art is such a personal gesture, it is nice to feel you are in good hands."

Do you have a favourite piece of work you have framed?

"A favourite piece would be two of the float jobs we did recently. One is a personal piece by one of our framers, Ziggy. It is a cyanotype floated on a black backing, using Avon 28 x 45 raw Australian Oak moulding and Oak Spacers."  Recently we had the opportunity to frame a collection of pressed flowers from the 1960s. They were given to us by a customer who sourced the collection from The University of Auckland."

What would be your favourite Avon Product you love to work with?

"We are big fans of the Moda range. In particular, the Moda Box 13w x 40h Black, and the Moda Box 13w x 40h White. They are both very versatile and beautiful mouldings to work with."

Thanks Lorenzo!

Avon are proud to be suppliers to The Black and White Box

Artifact Photo and Frame

Located at Waihi Beach.

Tell us a bit about yourself Andrew.

"I was a boat builder in the past, building high end race yachts. My Grandfather was a craftsman, an old school cabinet maker. He even made his own tools.  I inherited a sense of craft and pride in producing the very best work in whatever I do from my Grandfather and have applied that in one way or another throughout my career."

How did you get into framing?

"I have been framing for 7 years.  I started up an Art Gallery in 2017 and ended up with some framing equipment. My sister in Australia is also a framer, so after some encouragement and researching framing, I was ready to order some materials and get into it. After the gallery sold in 2022, I was able to change gears and continue to provide a framing service to the local community by starting up Artifact Photo & Frame, although I don't think I've slowed down much!"

What aspects do you most enjoy about framing?

"I enjoy taking my customers on a creative adventure where we collaborate and create new things that will last long enough to become heirlooms.  I consider framing to be an assemblage where the whole package works as one, proportions matter. Taking time on consultations is important. Design is as much about listening as it is about problem solving."

Favourite piece of work you've ever framed?

"I’ve had some really cool things come through my door. My favourite's include floating an acrylic Michel Tuffery Kite (Matariki Fatu Pea) over tapa cloth and my son's photography that is still showing in the Katikati Library."

Best piece of advice?

"A poor craftsman always blames his tools. There is no “right” design solution for any piece."

What are your favourite Avon Products?

"Avon has always been my primary supplier. I like working with Australian Raw Oak and hand finishing the timber. I enjoy using Crescent Matboards."

Avon are proud to be suppliers to Artifact Photo and Frame

Orewa Framing Studio

In 2015, Vanessa and her husband Chris opened their picture framing business in the beautiful sun and surf location of Orewa.

How Orewa Framing Studio began:
Vanessa was on maternity leave from her previous role in graphic design and Chris was a draughtsman. Chris spent long hours in front of a computer and was really in need of a change of pace.
This led to brainstorming businesses they could run together.

One night while perusing businesses for sale, a picture framing business popped up. Vanessa immediately became excited and thought how awesome this opportunity would be for them both. 
The idea of owning a framing business aligned perfectly with their skills of art, colour, design, and construction.  The next day they visited the business and gradually started their due diligence.
The point came to decide whether they wanted to purchase an existing business or do it alone. They bravely decided to start up from scratch and have never looked back!

Vanessa and Chris, what do you enjoy the most about framing?
"We really enjoy coming up with great designs for artworks, learning the background story behind each piece, presenting the finished job to the client and seeing their faces light up. We also love the adrenaline rush from landing a big job!"

What is the key to your success?
"We were lucky to have some amazing mentors who had been in the framing industry for a long time, Wendie & Gary Wright.  They taught us everything and had faith in us from day one. Key suppliers and trade contacts, such as Kate Simpson, assisted us with industry knowledge and our product and machinery set up.  We spoke to many friendly framers who talked to us at length before we took the plunge, so we are grateful to them all.
Chris and I are quite different, so when we meet in the middle with a decision it is always a good one.  We also operate a large format fine art canvas printer in-house which adds another level of our product offering."

What would be the best piece of advice you’ve received?
"It takes the same amount of time to cut museum glass as it does standard glass – up sell quality products and don’t assume anything about anyone, especially how much they want to invest in their framing."

Do you have a favourite piece of work you've framed? 
"We framed a diving flipper for an auction.  We printed and mounted an underwater water scene for the background. It turned out perfectly and the client was really happy with the concept we created."

What are your favourite Avon mouldings?
"We use Moda Italian Classics as our standard stock lines. Moda cuts beautifully on the guillotine. 
We also love using the Monique & Obsidian collections. 
The Homestead range is a great rustic moulding line, with a real 'kiwi fencepost' type look."

Avon are proud to be suppliers to Orewa Framing Studio

The Art of Framing

Emma and her partner Troy moved back home to New Zealand from Melbourne to look for a business to call their own. They spotted a picture framing business for sale in Papakura Auckland. They took the plunge and it all fell into place perfectly for them!
Taking over the business in June 2022, Emma and Troy gained a large amount of knowledge from the previous owner and are thoroughly enjoying their new venture.

Emma, what do you enjoy most about framing?
"I love meeting our customers and hearing the stories behind the piece they have brought in. When they collect their work and are emotional, it really enforces why we have chosen to be part of this industry."

What is the key to your business?
"The support of the local community. As young business owners, it is heartening to see returning customers and new customers stepping in behind us. We really pride ourselves on our customer service and I always reach for a connection with each person that comes into our shop."

How does The Art of Framing present ideas to customers?
"We have a large array of samples to show our customers and we spend the time on each piece, ensuring the products complement the artwork. We have a website and 
social media has also been massive in helping us reach a new audience."

What is the best piece of advice you have received?
"It’s ok to ask for help. This year has been incredibly rewarding but not without its challenges."

Do you have a favourite piece you've framed?
"I love that everyday something different comes into the shop. The most special piece I have framed would be my grandfather’s war medals".

Favourite Avon moulding?
"I love the Grove range. Troy’s favourite is the Obsidian Classic. Obsidian has been used on a range of different pieces and compliments them so well."

"Apart from the amazing product range, we have been so grateful for the support and encouragement from the team at Avon. The first year has been very daunting but the framing community have been incredible."

Avon are proud to be suppliers to The Art of Framing.



Sgraffito Picture Framers are custom framers situated in Remuera, Auckland.
Stuart Robb has been a framer for 28 years, owning Sgraffito for 12 years.

Stu's interest in framing started when he was exhibiting his own artwork.
Stu was looking for a good framer and ended up working in a gallery & frame shop in Auckland. The head framer at the time left to go overseas and Stu was thrown in the deep end! Stu was soon designing frame combinations for the well known photographer, Anne Geddes.

So Stu, what inspired you to start picture framing?
Framing my own works to sell. Learning and understanding just how much a frame can compliment an artwork was what I found particularly appealing.

What do you enjoy most about framing?
I love the sale and the reaction when the customer first looks at their framing job.
I really enjoy seeing and understanding the history of really unique items. It blows my mind what people own!

What has been the key to the success of your business?
Personality, our location and being part of a neighbourhood that has been incredibly loyal. You also have to work hard on reputation, google reviews are a very good way of getting ahead.

Your best piece of advice?
If you don’t understand what to do with the piece you are about to frame, research, ask for advice and take your time.
When I first started out framing, I shattered a million year old fossil trying to force it into a frame. I learnt from that mistake and am always cautious with valuable and one off artworks.

Do you have a favourite piece of work you've ever framed?
There are so many!
Probably a lock of Jimmy Hendrix's hair, a sketch from John Lennon on a serviette from the late 60s, and here's one for you……a customers daughter fell off a cliff and broke her skull, she was operated on and had a plate inserted. We framed the bit of broken skull as a reminder of how lucky she was, still makes me queasy to this day.

Do you have a favourite Avon moulding?
We have a full wall dedicated to Avon's Bellini handcrafted mouldings.
I love the Bellini range, especially B11901 Designer Antique Gold.  I also really enjoy using the Moma range.

Avon are proud to be suppliers to Sgraffito Picture Framers

Eco Frame and Mirror

In 1994 Graeme Patching established the funky Christchurch business Eco Frame and Mirror after he moved back from Australia.  Graeme was involved in the building industry and his wife was an artist. 
The ideal combination of construction and arts was Eco’s foundation.
The manager Leanne Haglund has been involved in a variety of careers in the framing industry for nearly 30 years. 
Leanne progressed from a wholesale print company that had the retail outlets Art for Art’s Sake where she managed 3 stores. 
We have taken the opportunity to ask Leanne some key questions!

What inspired you the most you to start picture framing?
The team and I love working with people, being creative and problem solving.  We run a team of 8 and put together we have a vast amount of framing experience.
We enjoy the ‘buzz’ we get, when our customers love what we have done for them, that is so satisfying.  We had one lady in tears of happiness about a very sentimental piece of work she had framed with us!

What is the key to your business?

The key to Eco’s business is the groundwork. 
From the very start Eco has looked to advertise to the right audience, ensuring a solid rapport is built with all customers and that our regular corporate requirements are well taken care of.
Changing tack when required is important.  During covid times, we had to drastically change how and what we offered and still deliver outstanding service alongside managing the customer expectations during a difficult time. 

What makes Eco stand out from the crowd?

Our inhouse vibe - our clients love coming in to see us.  We are a long-standing Christchurch business with experienced and creative staff.
We are ‘Eco’ in many ways.  We try to upcycle, recycle, and reuse as much as possible. We reuse any packaging we get; we give all our offcuts of mat, foam, and old frames to non-for-profit places that schools and crafters utilise and purchase from.  Half our staff either walk, bike or bus to work.  We are all doing our bit for the planet!  We also offer a large selection of mirrors, inhouse photo restoration and printing.

How does Eco present ideas to customers?
We have lots of examples of our framing to show clients in a folder, we present several works on our social pages and website.  We also have examples framed on our walls to show them off visually. We want clients to understand what they are getting and how it will look.  We also educate them on products, techniques, and the pros of custom framing verses the bulk chain store frames, so they understand the “WHY” the price difference.
There is often a story behind what is getting framed – we love hearing the stories, some are sad, but most are meaningful and there are times of happiness and sharing.  That is why engaging with our customers is so important to us.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Always back yourself and your staff, go with your gut feeling.  Use your ears and mouth in the ratio they were given!
Favourite Avon Product you love to work with?

We enjoy the versatility of being able to stack the Bellini Collections, specifically
B119 & B117 as a stack.
B258 & B257 also work beautifully together. 
The Murano range is one of our go-to favs! 

Avon are proud to be suppliers to the team at Eco Frame and Mirror

Edges Art + Framing

Based in the beautiful Havelock North, Chris and Tracy have been framing for 5 years and are so pleased they made the decision to join the industry.

Chris previously worked in telecommunications and spent a lot of time travelling the world. After being involved in the tiring corporate world, and with a passion for photography, Chris and his wife Tracy decided to go into business together. When they spotted Edges for sale it ticked all the boxes for them.

The creative side of the business and designing solutions is what they enjoy best. They love it when customers bring in unusual items to frame and working out how they can best achieve the final result.

They enjoy running a small business and working out ways to constantly improve what they offer, and in turn, growing their business from strength to strength.

Chris enjoys the constant growth and is continually looking to improve what they do. Customer service is a very important aspect, looking to find ways to go the extra mile to really satisfy customers.

Edges are not afraid to offer high end products to customers.  "The worst they can do is say no" - says Chris.

Best piece of advice?

When faced with decisions, take the hard way. It will challenge you and you will grow from it. Everyone will make mistakes, it's what you do to rectify it that matters.

We asked Chris and Tracy what their favourite Avon Product is:

We really enjoy the Italian handcrafted Bellini Collection and the new Vera Ornate black and white range is working out well.

But for us it's not a product as such, it's the Avon staff! The last couple of years have not been easy. Every time I call I am answered with a friendly greeting and nothing is a problem. There is open communication both ways. When there are issues, staff go out of the way to get them sorted to ensure I can meet my deadlines with our customers.

The Team at Avon are proud to be suppliers to Edges Art + Framing.