I sometimes sit at the shop window, watching the customers walk up the road with their freshly framed pictures. Not just because I’m a bit strange, but because I am constantly amazed at how they get treated once they leave the shop (the frames that is, not the customers!).
Off they skip, swinging it about and dumping it in the car. Our Framer can’t bear to look!
So, without being too prissy, what is the best way to get your new frames from A to B safely? The basics are common sense or are they? It’s a fine balance when a customer picks something up, you want to advise them, but at the same time you don’t want to come across as patronising.
Of course, some of the protection is down to the way the Framer packages the item for collection but this can only go so far. Short of giving each customer a metal bullet proof case to transport each picture, there are three simple rules that should help:
1. Stack multiple pictures glass to glass (front to front)
We normally do this for the customer, so that they naturally carry them this way. By stacking the frames “glass to glass”, you ensure that the hooks on the back, do not scratch the front.
2. Carry using both hands, holding both sides
This is especially important on medium to large pictures. NEVER hold your frame on one side as this may weaken the structure (even if it is strong).
I wouldn’t recommend you hold it by the string or wire either. This is because the stress you place upon the hooks and string is not the same type of stress as when it hangs on the wall. Even if you are careful, it is likely that you are placing unreasonable stress on the fixings. For example, a necklace chain is very strong, but it wasn’t designed for you to constantly tug at it.
As well as advising them not to do the above, we would normally offer to carry the frame to the customer’s car for them.
3. Careful how you place it in the car
This can be so important. With small to medium pictures it’s more obvious; make sure it lays somewhere secure, where it can’t move and don’t put other items on top of it.
But with bigger pictures, it’s more difficult. If you have a large flat surface in your car, or it’s a tall vehicle, then it’s a lot easier. Either way, you must make sure it’s supported properly. In extreme cases, if there is too much “bounce” it could crack the glass or distort the frame. (Obviously, this does depend on the thickness of the glass or how long your journey is etc.)
Normally, we would carry the frame to the customer’s car and place it in ourselves. That way we can be satisfied that it has left safely. We also offer delivery to their home or workplace.
It’s a good idea to tell the customer why you are doing what you are doing, so that they understand when unpacking at the other end.
If you follow these simple rules, then your frames should arrive in one piece. After all, it would be very sad having taken the time and money to get an item framed, to then fall at the final hurdle.
For further information and advice, contact your Framer or visit the Fine Art Trade Guild’s website.
Coming next: how to take care of your frames at home