Thursday, December 02, 2010

How I became a picture framer.

Do you ever wonder how a person chooses their career? Or how a career might choose the person? I started thinking about this a while back and thought I might share how I came to become a Custom Picture Framer.

Picture it. Summer 1991. I am almost through my first year away at college and my parents told me about a picture framing position open at a local frame shop in my hometown, Harbor Springs, MI. So, I called Gathman's Framing, introduced myself and was promptly told they were considering hiring somebody else and to call back a few days later. A few days later, I called. They didn't have an answer for me and suggested calling again. After a few more weeks of persistant phone calls on my part I was hired for the job. (Honestly, at this time I wasn't even sure what picture framers do or if I would like what I was hired to do.) The next 3 months I was taught to cut mats, cut glass, drymount art, and assembling the entire job. I learned the basics of picture framing for the next 2 summers while I was home from school. Looking back, I'm not sure I would have gotten that job if I hadn't been such a pest calling over and over again.

Fast forward to 1996. Kalamazoo, MI. I'm fresh out of spending 4 years at WMU and getting a degree in Graphic Design. I sent out many a resume for any position in this field, but with no luck really. Then one day, I was scanning the newspaper and saw an ad for an experienced Custom Picture Framer - full time.  Long story, short, I worked there for 5 or so years and learned just about everything I could about framing from start to finish (chosing matts to frames to placing orders to choosing what frames to carry in stock to cutting matts/frames and finally assembling) During this time, I was feeling like this is a great job. I like doing it.

Again fast forward to 2001. Marquette, MI. I just got married and my husband and I moved to Marquette. We came here with no jobs. No place to live, except a hotel. Well, a short time later, we found jobs and a place to live. I worked at Salon Salon for a few months until one day (I don't know why I didn't do this in the first place) I went right next door to Art of Framing and asked if they were hiring. Joy said "No, actually, I've been thinking of selling." I went home and told my husband what happened and he said "We should see if we can buy it!" Without hesitation I knew this would be my future. A few months later, I found myself being a picture framer again.

Often, I look back and I could have just as easily not gotten that first framing job in '91. Then, where would I be? Surely, not here, doing a job that I love, in a town that I love, around people that I love, and next to the greatest lake in the world!

Now, that I'm here, enjoying everything about framing, I wonder why the heck do I love being a framer? There are so many reasons. But, the strongest for me is knowing that what I frame will be treasured for years and years, by the person having it framed. Sometimes, we have someone bring in an antique frame (for one reason or another) and I'll find an old-old-old framers sticker on the back. I smile to myself, thinking about the framer who put this treasure together for their customer maybe, 30, 60, 100 years ago?

I can only imagine if they felt the same as I do each time I place my Art of Framing sticker on the back of each framing.

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