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Tru Vue Framing Competition Winners Showcase Creativity

By Jen Gramm, Tru Vue Director of Marketing

The third-annual Tru Vue Framing Competition at the West Coast Art & Frame (WCAF) Show demonstrated the high level of ingenuity that exists in the custom framing industry today. The three finalists each were awarded one of the competitions prizes.


  • Donna Erwin of Columbia River Gallery in Troutdale, OR — Best in Show: Judges’s Choice (Grand Prize)
  • Kosal Eang of Framed by Kosal in Monroe, CT — Best in Show: Attendees’ Choice
  • Marlowe Hill of Blackrabbet Framing Studio in Atlanta, GA — Best in Show: Facebook Fans’ Award


With the Rethink, Renew, Restore theme, custom framers were challenged to reframe an existing piece to showcase their creativity, design skills and craftsmanship. Six semi-finalists were chosen to construct their pieces from concepts submitted during the call-for-entries period of the contest. From those six, Erwin, Eang and Hill were chosen to display their pieces at the Tru Vue booth at WCAF.


“Each year the originality of the concepts and quality of the finished pieces is incredible,” said Jen Gramm, director of marketing at Tru Vue. “Seeing the before and after of these pieces really demonstrated how much a talented custom framer can bring to a piece.”


For her entry, Erwin reframed a photo of the neon sign at Voodoo Donuts, a famous landmark in the Portland area.  Previously in a simple black frame, the photo is enhanced by two colorful Prisma® Frames with a light strip installed under the frames, hidden from view. Parts of the original framing package remain, including the mat, backing and frame itself, which serves as the mounting for the light strip.


Eang also chose a piece familiar to his community, a black and white panoramic photograph that has been in his shop since it first opened. His goal with the redesign was to give it a sense of openness and space. He accomplished this by using a mirrored background, mirror-like frames and mounting the photograph on a piece of Museum Glass® within the frame.


Hill’s entry is a shadowbox that contains a 10-pen speedball set that was owned by his father. Because he specializes in hand crafting frames, Hill milled the rounded-edge frame from Anigre wood from Africa because its color most closely matches that of the pen set. He made the corner pieces at a 45 degree angle from the grain of the sides, creating an accent from the same piece of stock. The pen itself was used to hand illustrate the white rag mat with drawings of frames.


All three pieces maximize the anti-reflective benefits of Museum Glass, which also offers 99% UV protection. The light, reflection and depth that are part of the design of these frame packages are seen without the distraction of glare from outside the pieces.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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