As the Tru Vue® Retail Boot Camp submission period is coming to an end, take a look at the fascinating story about how a forgotten treasure turned into a beautiful custom framing piece that now reminds a family of their long lost grandfather. Click here for more information on how you can win a chance to give your customers an unforgettable framing experience.
Recently, I held an event at my shop where I incorporated projects from some of my best customers to showcase the great things you can do with custom framing. This included a piece that featured an antique violin that belonged to the grandfather of one of my customers. The violin was one of the few possessions my customer’s grandfather had taken with him when he emigrated from Germany to the United States, on his own at the age of 16. The violin was one of his few and most treasured possessions. It had remained in the family after his death, but has always been stored. Both my customer and her daughter wanted to do something special with it so that it could be preserved, protected, and displayed for many generations to enjoy.
The love of music has been passed down through this family’s generations, so in addition to the violin and bow, we included piano sheet music that had been in the family for years, and a photograph of the grandfather and grandmother on their wedding day.
As soon as I saw the violin, I immediately thought of a painting by William Harnett, titled The Old Violin, displayed in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Done in the trompe de l’oie method, it depicts a violin a-top sheet music painted in a photographic level of detail. This provided the inspiration for the composition of the piece. My choice of framing materials was influenced by the design style of my customer’s home as well as the depth required to frame this beautiful musical instrument.
To facilitate the depth, we used three mouldings in combination, two turned on their sides, all from the Larson-Juhl Whitman collection. The darkness of the moulding set off the rich caramel patina of the violin. Along the perimeter of the backing, the fillet provides a finished look and emphasizes the depth. It is the same fillet used to frame the photograph of the grandparents that sits in the bottom left corner of the shadowbox.
The chloroplast backing board is covered with cotton batting and wrapped in gray silk, adding a softness that evokes a sense of comfortable elegance in the piece. It’s as if the violin, sheet music, and bow are resting on a cloud. The violin and bow are wired into the back and the stitching that mounts the sheet music is hidden under the head of the violin. The photograph is on an easel screwed into the bottom moulding.
With so many layers and the amount of detail, an anti-reflective glazing like Optium Museum Acrylic® was necessary to allow for the greatest enjoyment of this piece. In addition, Optium Museum Acrylic provides 99% UV protection, which was essential for preserving the piece through the generations. The glazing’s light weight was ideal for a piece of this size and depth, and its abrasion-resistant and anti-static benefits also made it a good choice for framing a family heirloom.
When we revealed this piece at our customer-appreciation event, our customers were overwhelmed with emotion at seeing their personal treasures presented in this way. Not only were they happy with the work, but they also were moved at how the varying elements came together to tell a story about their family history. Something that might have been viewed only when someone pulled a storage box out from under a bed was now a work of art everyone could enjoy, preserved in a way that it would survive the generations.
Tru Vue® Retail Boot Camp – Focus on Customer Appreciation
If you’re interested in learning more about how customer appreciation through projects like these can help grow your business, click here to find out how you can enter the Tru Vue Retail Boot Camp. The third installment in this popular series will include a one-on-one consultation with me and support for an event held at the winner’s shop.
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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.