art, decor

8 tips on framing your artwork creatively

Karl Rogers, Inge Prins



Photo: Inge Prins: featuring the Nicci Nouveau armchair from Okha 

‘Creative framer’ Wessel Snyman of Wessel Snyman Creative looks at framing as part of the artwork, not just a display tool, and his radical ideas are taking hold. He has become the framer of choice for clients looking for alternative framing to the standard steel boxes. He caught up with House and Leisure to give eight creative tips on how to reconsider your approach to framing.

1. It’s a common misconception that the artwork is always the star of the show, and the frame is merely the functional mechanism that allows for its display. With time, this has begun to ring untrue – today, your framing choice is integral in making the connection between the artwork and the interior in which it hangs. A good frame is equally as strong as the artwork and carries the artwork forward, out of the interior, towards the viewer instead of letting it slip into the ether.

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2. Don’t choose the cheapest framer you can find: opt for the best one. You want your investment in art to be preserved for generations, and a cheap solution will often carry with it cheap materials and techniques that could ruin and devalue your artwork without your even knowing about it.  The more valuable the work, the more you need to be certain that you’re going to a framer who understands artwork conservation, and uses museum-grade supplies.

3. Have a spot in mind in your home for the artwork before you even arrive at your framer. Better yet, give your framer a cellphone snap of the intended room. That way you're able to make intelligent decisions about the framing choice that is best for both the artwork and the space it's in.

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Centurion homeFramed film and art posters are mementos of the family’s travels.

4. Neutral options aren’t always the way forward when it comes to framing – repeating a strong accent colour in the artwork in the picture frame and perhaps again elsewhere in your interior could perform the miracle a simple, traditional white picture frame could not. After all, your artwork was an expression of your good taste; its frame should be, too.

5. Synthetic, highly decorative mouldings and detailed mounting boards have a tendency to look outdated quickly. Always try to strike a balance in your framing choice, for example, pair up a strong colour or heavily detailed frame with a large, smooth mounting board around the artwork, or choose a very simple wooden frame with a more interesting, fabric-lined frame interior.

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6. Unless you’re a framing veteran and you’ve become quite confident in making framing choices, be open to your framer’s suggestions for your specific artwork – their job, is after all, to make your artwork look even better, and if you give them some cues as to your personal style, a good framer will come up with ideas you might not have considered that work very well.

7. Be aware of the projected final size of the picture frame. Once a mounting board and a frame is added to the artwork, it might very well be larger than you anticipated and might not fit into your car upon collection or the space in which you intended it to hang.

This bathroom is an artful mix of styles, an Orla Kiely wallpaper offsets the teal Victorian bath the couple brought with them from their previous home. A framed tea towel by ferm Living is the finishing touch.

8. Just a note on hanging – standing eye height is only about 1.6m from the floor; that means it’s 1.6m to the centre of the artwork when hanging. Placing artworks too high on the wall tends to make ceilings look lower and causes subtle ergonomic strain in viewing the work. You want to be able to appreciate your artwork and your framing choices at a level that is convenient to the body as well as the space.

For more about Wessel Snyman Creative Framers, visit their website.