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Framed!

I stopped in Lapel to spend some time with Greg Adams.  It was chilly today and we pulled a couple of chairs up to the woodstove to chat a bit.  Greg has invested a lot of time, thought and experience into selling his work.  I always come away from our talks with a new ideas and inspiration.

I’ve been thinking a lot about picture frames and prints.  I am a printmaker but have never spent much time really trying to market my prints.  I’ve been mulling over plans to frame prints that I have and developing similar prints to add to my line of carvings.  Today Greg was building a picture frame decorated with birch bark veneer and willow.

After I left Greg’s I took my wife to the Doctor and spent a few hours putting together frames in my head between naps in the waiting room.

Greg buys very few materials.  He is a scrounger and recycler.  Much of his wood comes from the dumpsters behind sawmills and furniture factories (with their blessings).  He picks up old fence wood, pieces of plywood or whatever else he can use.  I picked up his cue and began to resaw and mill a bundle of old fence pickets I had laying around.  From these I made very simple small picture frame (3″ x 5″ opening, 5″ x 7″ overall).

I cut the rabet for the glass and artwork with a trimming router that I keep in a vise — like a mini router table.  They went together fast, with no special joinery, and look great.

After a quick seal with shellac, I gave each a different treatment.  They aren’t finished, yet, but I ‘m so excited that I had to share now.  They will be distressed and aged in my usual manner.

I’ve been playing with this great, large flake glitter with fantastic results.  I dipped a frame and am pleased.  Three years ago I did a huge run of multi-color (5, 6, 7 colors?) lino reduction print of snowmen.  They never sold well (I never tried real hard to sell them) but I think they look awesome in the glitter frame!

When I was doing a lot of bookbinding I made a line of Japanese stab bound journals with an applied linocut crow print on the cover.  I’ve always loved this crow and it fits my bird theme so well.  Last night I set up the press and printed a couple dozen more of these plates. I’m expanding this series, to at least four, similar prints of the same size.  I’ve designed a rooster, a great horned owl and a cat sitting in a window to complete the set.

For this series I’m experimenting with rustic frames.  On one I’ve applied acorn caps.  My wife collects these caps for projects and I borrowed a few.  (I had to promise to replace them from my stash — when I find it.)  This are applied over an burnt orange frame.

The last may be the most exciting.  I asked Greg about his birch bark.  he told me where he got it and handed me a few scraps.  I bring birch bark back from infrequent visits to New England and my supply has dried up.  I began to cut bark into strip to apply to the last frame but stopped myself.  I didn’t want to copy Greg (especially since we plan to share space at a show in a couple of weeks).  I pondered about what skills I had, that didn’t step on Greg’s toes, that would produce a similar affect.

Faux birch bark, of course!  I copied the samples I had laying around the shop with very satisfactory results. Not only was it fun to paint, I now know that I can produce birch bark whenever I want.

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I teach 5th and 6th grade.  I’ve spent this weekend in meetings and preparing for my students.  I’ve been working hard to  make the most of my few days of summer.  When I had an opportunity to head home an hour earlier than expected I detoured to Lapel to make a long overdue visit to the shop of Greg Adams.

I made a brief entry last week when Greg presented me with my recent Indianapolis Monthly feature nicely framed in his trademark rustic picture frame.

I’ve been  aware of Greg’s work for years but we didn’t connect until we were both named Indiana Artisans late last year.  We later spent a weekend together at Marsh Madness in Linton.  He surprised me last week by dropping in for a few moments at the Gathering at Garst in Greenville, Ohio.

(I didn’t realize until I was doing some Googlin’ for this piece that Greg and I both participated in a Traditional Arts Indiana initiative several years ago.  I’m surprised we didn’t meet then.)

I sat and talked with Greg for just a few moments before John Bundy pulled up in front of the shop.  John spent the weekend with us in Linton.  Bundy Decoys are beautifully carved and finished and can be found in shops and galleries across the country.  John is a character and once he arrived we sat back and listened to his stories.  They are colorful and sometimes not fit to print.

 

I realized that we were experiencing something akin to the gentlemen that once hung around the Corner Drug Store in Noblesville, or the Liar’s Bench in Nashville or one of a million general stores, barbershops and taverns across this country.

It wasn’t long before we all parted ways to head home to family, a little better for some quality time shooting the breeze.

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