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Frames of perfection

Frames of paintings and photographs play an important role in giving your room an impressive look.


HAVE YOU chanced upon an exquisite looking frame at a painting exhibition and longed to buy a similar one? Many shops in the city offer customised framing services; you can take your pick from a variety of frames, sourced from even as far as Italy.

Frames are available in different shapes and designs -- golden hued frames with vines etched on them, those with oriental floral designs, synthetic ones, replicas of antique frames, and those with intricate engravings on wood.

You can choose the one most suited to the artwork or memorabilia you intend to frame. Wood and metal, the most commonly used materials to make the mouldings (material is cut and joined to be assembled into a frame), come in matt and glossy finish. Framing can be done for flat artwork such as paintings, as well as three-dimensional objects such as trophies. The price of a 12-inch synthetic frame (plain or ribbed) varies from Rs. 14 to Rs. 100. The thickness of the frames may vary from less than half an inch to about four inches.

"We source the moulded frames from Mumbai and Bangalore. It is the moulded ones that are in vogue these days," says S. Shibu Kumar, an employee of Sree Ganesh Enterprises, Attakulangara. "Hardboard is generally used for mounting the painting. We also use plywood. We have framed well over 200 canvas paintings," claims Shibu.

The shop also caters to several photo studios in the city. The clientele includes the likes of senior Congress leader K. Karunakaran, and filmmakers Shaji N. Karun and Viji Thampy.

Double framing, done earlier only in cities such as Bangalore, is also being undertaken by shops in Thiruvananthapuram. Double framing involves framing the work, placing a coloured cloth around it and encasing it with another frame. "Clients, at times, ask for silk or velvet cloth. We make the changes accordingly. Gold coloured plain frames are generally used in this technique," says Shibu.

Glass India at Chalai specialises in framing paintings on silk, and posters. R. G. Sabu, a staff member, explains how the framing is done for a painting on silk: "The cloth is pulled taut over the hardboard and stuck over it. After it has dried well, we frame the piece."

It is not only the quality or design of a frame that enhances the beauty of an artwork but also the finesse with which the framing has been done. "We take great care while framing each work because of this reason," says Sabu.

Gold-coloured synthetic frames and those made of teak wood are in demand. Then, there are the wooden frames. Plaster of Paris is affixed to the frame and then, designs are etched on it. Those with floral patterns are the most sought-after and cost around Rs. 200 for 12 inches. Gold-coloured frames are also available for as low as Rs. 25 (for 12 inches).

Siva Photo Frames, at Karamana, specialises in framing posters of Gods and Goddesses. Huge posters are procured from Chala and framed for the clients. "Sometimes, the clients bring the poster or calendar to be framed," says V. R. Raghu.

Plastic frames are inexpensive and come in a variety of colours. Says Mehboob of M. R. Glass Products, Chalai: "Earlier, framing of photographs used to form a chunk of the business. With studios having moved into this territory, our work has been limited to framing watercolours, pencil sketches and embroidered cloth."

Thick wooden frames have gone out of fashion. Aluminium frames are in. Synthetic frames are also being used on account of their durability and low weight. These frames come at around Rs. 60 for 12 inches, in contrast to teak wood frames that cost thrice the amount. "Our carpenters etch the designs on the wooden frames. Floral etchings are the most preferred, because they give an antique look to the frame," adds Mehboob.

Until a few years ago, people used to throng these shops during festivals. "We would do brisk business framing posters of deities," says S. Said, who runs S. N. B. Mirror Mart. "During Gandhi Jayanti, we used to get over 30 orders. But not anymore," laments Said.

Framed artwork can change the ambience of a room. The frame, along with the piece of art, plays an important role in giving your room an impressive look.

S.S.


Photos: S. Gopakumar
Graphics: Manoj

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