U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Frame color for cyanotype

Re: Frame color for cyanotype

Speaking of sharp edges on those metal frames-- A couple of years ago, I had a metal frame leaning against a futon, and I went to sit down-- had sort of had one foot bent behind the other leg, and just plopped down on the futon-- the side of the  foot that was bent hit the edge of the metal frame and sliced my foot down to the bone.  Unbelievable.  Who knew they were that sharp.  I went off to the ER where they stitched me up, updated my tetenus shot, took an x-ray to ensure that it hadn't actually nicked the bone-- missed it by 1/100 of an inch or something-- but that was also about the time I decided to forego the metal frame route.  And they just scratch way too easily.

I agree that a lot of juried exhibits seem to ask (more and more) for black frames, and when you have a juried exhibit with so much varied work, it does tend to add a consistency that makes things not look so "thrown together"-- but I have always thought black frames just suck the life right out of a print- no matter what the process.  Whenever I see a photograph framed in black, I honestly cannot take my eyes off that  black frame-- no matter how nice it may be-- it just takes my eye away from the print.   Well,  that's my 2 cents. :)  

On Oct 13, 2008, at 5:13 PM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

My two cents:  in literally 6 of the last shows I have juried into, the framing has been required to be black, thus I have bit the bullet and started framing my work in black wood, considerably more expensive than the framingsupplies.com old world pewter--which was me who recommended it in the first place as it looks perfect with gum.  I also think it looks pretty much perfect with anything including cyanotype, and I use a Bainbridge white elephant (mildly off white mat), but I have seen cyanos look lovely in a white wood frame as well as that whitewashed wood look.
My crit of the metal frames is the edges are so darn sharp and don't always fit tight together, but it is still my frame of choice for the 24x20 gums I make if I can get by with it. The black wood frames (I use "Tribeca") are gorgeous but a bit traditional and funerary for my tastes in general, tho very elegant at times.
If you want to have a laugh, go to a museum that carries old photographs and look at the framing and the matting and you will be shocked at how gosh-awful a lot of them are.  I remember going to one APIS conference gallery show with an APIS attendee and he spent all his time inspecting frames at the galleries and museums he said, just to get ideas.
Christina Z. Anderson
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: Frame color for cyanotype

Hey Francis,

I never use black frames, either, and I also didn't read that fine print!  Fortunately, I'd used a fairly dark wood anyway, so she didn't change it out-- but when I was there, she did say that several people had missed that fine print. :)

I agree about the cherry wood frames-- they tend to go well with everything--even straight color prints--surprisingly.   

Thanks for the tip about Ikea.


On Oct 13, 2008, at 1:25 PM, francis schanberger wrote:

Carole & Katherine,

I print traditional cyano, Ware Cyano and VDB. I prefer a hardwood frame like dark walnut, cherry and lately a stained birch from IKEA.  A contemporary white painted hardwood frame also looks great. 

I have not framed my work in a black frame for ages. I forgot to read the fine print for a recent Tilt gallery (http://www.tiltgallery.com)  exhibition recently and sent them a my VDB in a walnut frame instead of the black. Melanie (Craven) had to paint it black. 

-francis schanberger


On Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Katharine Thayer <kthayer@pacifier.com> wrote:
Hi Carole, I was sort of waiting for someone who prints cyanotype to jump in here, since I don't.  But I do often print monochrome gum prints in Prussian blue, which is essentially the same compound that makes up a cyanotype; these prints are often mistaken for cyanotypes, and I find the pewter-colored frames as compatible with that color as with other colors of gum. But I'm a little confused;  I'm probably not the one who recommended the particular frame you list, since I've always used American Frame's aluminum frame which while it is definitely a pewter-ish color, is listed as "German silver."   So I don't know if the pewter-colored frame you mention is the same color as the frames I use.

Not sure that's helpful, but it's the best I can do.  I'll take my name off the subject line and maybe someone who has a favorite frame color for cyanotype will chime in and offer a helpful suggestion.  Good luck,

On Oct 12, 2008, at 2:33 PM, gumprint@gmail.com wrote:

Hello Katherine,

A while ago you recommended framingsupplies.com's aluminum frame "Old World Pewter" color #23 style 85 for alt prints. It is the perfect color for me for gum and vandyke and I have been using them exclusively. However, cyanotype just doesn't work with it, especially when I use a non-white . . more like eggshell paper. I find black too harsh and silver looks ridiculous. Any suggestions?



Carole Hollander

Large Format and Alternative Photographic Processes Gathering
(Meeting monthly in Metro Washington DC)