Review: Framing Event at Lion Pictures – London – April 2011

Since I seem (unexpectedly) to have a few picture framers following this blog, I thought it would be a nice idea to do a review of the Lion Pictures trade event which took place on Sunday.

Dragging myself out of bed early on a Sunday morning, seemed like a good idea last week.  Driving to London for a framing trade event, I did begin to question my sanity!  Now, safely back and reflecting on the day, I’m so glad that I made the effort.

Sitting here writing this, I realise just how important it is to keep up to date, meet like minded people and generally connect with your suppliers and industry fellows.

I probably can’t even begin to quantify what it is that I learnt but it was a great day.

Even without the “Meet the Specialist” element, for me, it was just fantastic to stare in awe at a warehouse, packed full of framing materials & the sheer array of lengths to choose from.  I love this business, it’s like being in a sweet shop (that’s sweet not sweat!).

By far my favourite part was the talks, which I’ll get onto shortly.


It was a real eye opener talking to Louise Vaile, she is a Paper Conserver.  Laid out on the table were some common problems that as framers we face regularly.  Antique or old prints that are damaged either through mis-storage, damp conditions or more commonly not been framed in suitable materials.   (Obviously if it was framed a while ago, they wouldn’t have had the same standard of materials or the same attitude to conservation framing that we have today).

This is something that needs to be talked about in more depth, so I will put this on my list of subjects to blog about in the future.

Increasingly people are picking up old framed prints and bringing them in to be restored/re-framed.  As Picture Framers we can try to “spruce” up an old frame but as for the print, we would always advise sending it to our paper expert in Bristol.

Of course it depends how valuable it is to you.  Most picture framers will offer a low level cleaning option.  This would involve getting out some surface dirt with specialist materials.  This can be a time consuming job but not necessarily difficult if you already have the equipment.

For me though, it was great to get confirmation that we are doing the right thing by advising our customers to get it done professionally.

Decorative Mount Cutting

A practical demonstration by Lyn Hall on how to be more creative with your Mount designs was a jolt for new ideas.  It wasn’t anything new to our Framer though, as he had been trained on this from the outset.  I probably got more out of it, just being able to see the creations (not actually doing it myself, you understand, not my bag!).  The knowing look of “work load increase” showed clearly when he saw a light bulb go on in my head!  I’m thinking, textiles, paints etc.

But when you are so busy working your day to day workload, you do tend to forget to increase your samples of what you can do.  Show off your (or his) creativity.  It got me all fired up, and is top of the list for when we move premises, if not before!  I can hear him groaning now!  (He loves it really).  I love the fact that it was all done on a normal mount cutter.  Nothing fancy or computerised, the level of skill is amazing and something that picture framing businesses don’t shout enough about.  Its about execution and craftsmanship.

I’ve got loads of ideas for samples that I think would be really good for our “artist” community, so more on that later.

Techy Stuff

For our Framer, obviously there were loads of techy bits to get his teeth into but that’s boring stuff not for this blog!

Always great to see the framing industry’s hero, Pete Bingham, working his magic on problem solving for framers.

The Fine Art Trade Guild stand is always good to go and have a look at.  They set out the framing industries standards, very important.

Plus, I really enjoyed looking at the end result of a float mounting technique devised by Roy Rowlands.  It’s a technique designed to give a gorgeous 3D floating effect for artwork completed on heavy art paper.  I love the way this looks and we are already used to executing work in this way.  I love to see the “frayed” edges of art paper in its entirety, for me it really completes the look.  But techniques and materials move on!  So, that’s something new to do!

By far, the two talks that I got the most out of was Jim Anderson’s.  Well, it would, since that’s my side of things! Jim is a Picture Framer and Entrepreneur and he talks a lot of sense.

Having read his blogs and being in touch on Twitter beforehand, I had an idea of what was going to be presented, but that didn’t stop me learning and taking some real ideas back with me.

It’s quite a lonesome pursuit, framing, so it’s always nice to get some confirmation that you are pulling in the right direction but that it’s paramount you recognise that there is always room for improvement.

I made lots of notes and I’ve blatantly stole some great ideas (sorry Jim!).

The talk about Social Media for Picture Framers was just fab!  Now, I’m not usually one for stats and I certainly don’t think they always make for a good presentation, but what Jim delivered in his talk really resonated with me and the penny dropped.   Did you know that 47% of Facebook users are between the ages of 50-64?  Or that 26% are over 60?  I didn’t!  They reckon that the average age of a Facebook user is 37!  That’s my age group!  Well, come to think of it, I’m always on the thing for personal uses!

For Twitter the average age is about 39 and for Linkedin 44.  I am absolutely staggered by this and really puts a whole new slant on my original thoughts on social media.

Social Media Talk – Jim Anderson from Framing Mentor

One of the main points that made me sit up and think, is that social media is happening now, it’s not something of the future.  People all over the world are talking to each other right now.  If you stop and just think about that for a second, that’s a massive deal!

When you speak to people who don’t quite get the point of social media yet, they pretty much think that all you do is talk about what you had for breakfast.  But social media is rapidly changing my business and my life!   It’s so important.  As Jim said, the more you take part, the deeper relationships you build.  If you are genuinely interested in finding out who is out there, then you can just get so much from social media.

I feel very strongly that communicating and helping likeminded people is the key to your business growing and moving with the tide.  Otherwise, how can you understand what people actually want and if you can provide it?

In his talk, Jim made the point that it’s just like speaking to someone face to face in your shop, I’m with him on that one!

I’m in my element on Twitter.  Just discovering the sheer amount of talented and creative people in and around my area, has literally blown my mind!  I love it!  Yes, of course I want to connect with them on a business level, but I’m getting so much more out of it.  It’s giving us new creative ideas.  We are re-discovering what we love about this business, the artwork, the people and the stories behind them.

I have a particular interest in Photography having studied for my City & Guilds and it’s re-ignited my appetite.

So, in agreement with Jim, once again, we are part of a wonderfully creative industry and we’re very lucky indeed.

If you love this industry as much as I do, then don’t be afraid to get out there and tell people about how wonderful it is.  Get involved in the discussions and you will learn things, improve and change your thought process.  Most of all, it will help you to understand what your customers what from you, it’s not just about the transaction, it’s about dialogue and a genuine interest.

If you get a chance, go and see Jim Anderson speak at an event or talk to him on Twitter (@FramingMentor).

It’s framing Jim, but not as we know it!



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