Sunday, September 11, 2011

Framing What Matters

Of the many things I have been asked to frame, personal memorabilia is one of the most rewarding subjects. Often times many of us have things that mean a great deal to us but we never have the opportunity to gaze upon them. They are in a box, under the bed, in a storage garage or some other unreachable place. Once in a while, the cobbler actually gets to make himself a pair of shoes. Well, I as a picture framer actually framed something of great value to me!

I am thinking about a particular framing that I had done years ago and how much the frame has become a part of the artwork. The artwork in this case was a photograph of my father. My father worked at two of this country’s Naval shipyards. He was first at Pearl Harbor in the 1940’s, and later at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, until he retired. He spoke of being at Pearl Harbor once that I ever heard while mentioning some experience unrelated, in an off handed way. I was astonished. He had been discharged from the Navy in 1939 and was working for the Navy as a journeyman pipe fitter when the Naval shipyard was attacked. He later transferred to the West Coast where he worked for the Naval Shipyard in Long Beach. After he died, and my Mother started sorting through his things, she gave me this portrait of this carefree bachelor wearing his white dinner jacket. So, in my wife’s and my bedroom hangs this portrait along with every pin of recognition and commendation that a shipyard employee could receive. These are not medals that a soldier might have received but mainly commendations for doing good work and never putting his crew into dangerous situations in the engine compartments of the various naval ships he worked on. Also attached, under the acrylic to the matting, is a snap shot of him in his sailor’s uniform on leave in the late 1930s. The frame is a medium stained Birdseye maple and it suits his personality perfectly; honest material roughly finished. Thick matting wrapped with plain durable cloth. I look at this framing every morning and every night. 

-- Mark Dietrich, Wing Gallery Framers