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Donna Erwin Wins Best In Show: Judges’ Choice in The Tru Vue® Framing Competition

By Maureen O'Connor, Tru Vue® Marketing Manager

Donna Erwin, owner of Columbia River Gallery in Troutdale, OR, took home her second Grand Prize in the Annual Tru Vue® Framing Competition at the West Coast Art and Frame Show (WCAF) in January. This year, finalists were asked to frame one of three textile artworks created by Chilean artist, Andrea Barrios Aguilar, commissioned specifically for the competition, using Optium Museum Acrylic®. While all of the participants began with similar textiles, each contributed their own aesthetic approach that resulted in truly different final pieces.





The Inspiration


The varying shades of green and blue on the fabric and the three-dimensional ribbed pattern of the artwork were the inspiration for Donna’s design. With the depth needed to accommodate the piece, the effect is that the colors and textures of the textile extend throughout the entire framing package.



The Design


To create depth, Donna worked with a triple-stacked frame design, turning a large ribbed blue Max Moulding on its side as the exterior frame and pairing it with an inset smaller green version of the same frame. The interior frame is made from a metallic hand-finished moulding in blue with a single green pinstripe down the middle.



Inside the stacked frames, a navy liner runs along the deep sides of the interior. A 5/8-inch mat wrapped in royal blue linen peeks out under the lip of the navy sides, exposing a slim 5/16-inch perimeter of brightness, giving the appearance of a fillet. On top of this is a backing of a silk-like light green fabric that completes the trio of complementary colors in the interior of the piece.



Optium Museum Acrylic® provides exceptional clarity to allow the depth of color and details of the textures to take prominence. Because of its anti-static and scratch-resistance features, it was easy for Donna to refit it, which happened several times throughout the process. Like other Tru Vue premium products, Optium Museum Acrylic provides 99% UV protection, the gold-standard in conservation framing.



Project challenges


While the piece came together beautifully, there were challenges in the process. After finalizing her design plans, Donna found out the large blue ribbed moulding, a major piece of the design, was discontinued. Working with her supplier, she was able to obtain the last four 36-inch sticks that were left, which left no room for error, as her design was based on 34-inch pieces.



Her moulding issues continued when she found out three weeks after ordering the unique blue and green metallic face frame moulding that it was backordered until the end of December, far too late for her to complete her entry by the deadline. Unfortunately, there was nothing else like it on the market, so she decided to replicate it. Donna was able to find a solution for this using her creativity and a sharp eye for detail. Starting with a silver metallic moulding in the same shape and size, she experimented with different supplies and techniques to get the colors and visual effects as close as possible to the sample. She ultimately was successful layering different colors of alcohol inks, something she had never worked with before.



The opportunity to be creative is one of the reasons Donna has entered, and won  the Tru Vue® Framing Competition as many times as she has (Click here to read about her last winning piece). Without the parameters set by customer preference or budget, framers are able to experiment with ideas and try new techniques they never have before.



As the Best In Show: Judges’ Choice winner, Donna will receive two boxes of Optium Museum Acrylic (40” x 60”) and $1,000 in funds to use towards a local market event promoting the competition win where she will showcase her piece to her customers.

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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