“The first step to making a frame for a work of art is to ask questions,” says M. Scott Gardner, a frame designer, builder, and gilder of 36 years.
Gardner firmly believes that a frame must never compete with what lies within its four corners. So he takes into account the time period, style, and intent of the artist in order to build a complementary frame.
A closed-corner frame begins by joining raw timber together before it is hand carved and, sometimes, treated with gold leaf (to prevent oxidation and give it a timeless look). Gardner carves his frames with traditional bench carving tools--actual blades, not power tools. For fine art collectors and gallery curators, the minutely noticeable knicks and gouges signify a desirable, hand-made quality, which can’t be replicated by plastic-molded frames. This process generally takes six to eight weeks for Gardner to complete.
There are only a dozen or so master builders or businesses still building in the full traditional process, Gardner guesses, “I think it’s very important to preserve the art.”
To hire Gardner, visit The Second Artist's Facebook page.
Photographer's note: This is an excerpt and outtakes from a story produced for the Homestead column in Salt Lake Magazine's March '15 issue. Find the magazine around town to read the full article.
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.