By creating a small space around an image, a frame can protect an artwork from being overwhelmed by whatever is grabbing for attention in the surroundings. Being able to custom make such a frame myself provides a level of freedom I find comforting. A frame is a stage of sorts, upon which the subject matter tells its story. The design of a frame can greatly alter the way a picture communicates. To leave that last step in the presentation of my work to someone else, can be an invitation to disappointment. Or, at the very least, a compromise I eventually grew tired of making — there are only so many mouldings your local frame shop has to offer.
The solution was to build my own frames from scratch. However, I found out soon enough that mouldings and woodwork is only a small part of the frame making process. Patination, whiting, bole, water gilding, burnishing, etc. were words I not only had to learn the full meaning of, but more importantly learn the craft skills involved. Even though, it is very time consuming to produce a custom frame by hand, the degree of satisfaction there is to be had in having creative control of every link in the chain of production really makes it worthwhile. And sometimes it is just a relief to be able to leave the arduous easel work behind for a while, and go play in the shop.