I love custom framing because of the creative challenges it offers me and the opportunities that it provides to put smiles on the faces of my customers at my shop, Hanging Around Hoover, in Hoover, Alabama. For me, the Tru Vue® Framing Competitions have been great experiences because the pieces that I’ve created for the contests allow me to challenge my customers to think beyond the norm when it comes to the designs we can create together.
For the 3rd Annual Tru Vue Framing Competition, the theme was “Rethink, Renew, Restore,” with the challenge of reframing an old project and improving upon it. For my entry, I chose my project “Dia de los Muertos,” also known as “The Day of the Dead,” which is a Mexican tradition that’s held annually on Halloween to honor the lives of those who have passed.
Each year around Halloween, the city of Birmingham, Alabama, located just a few miles north of Hoover, holds a big annual Dia de Los Muertos festival. I selected a limited-edition poster from that festival as the backdrop for my project because I really love the idea behind the holiday in how departed loved ones are “invited back” for a celebration through the altars their family and friends create featuring things that the deceased loved in life.
Thirty-five years ago, my older brother, Jeffery Keith Mixon, took his own life at the age of just 21, so this is a holiday that carries a special meaning for me. And I wanted to honor Jeff’s memory by crafting a “Dia de los Muertos” framing project that celebrated his life.
For my project, I renewed the “Day of the Dead” poster by updating the piece’s glass to anti-reflective Museum Glass® in order to eliminate any distracting reflections. Museum Glass also added clarity to my new design, which incorporated black linen/silk matting with recessed white lace and added special floral-cut corners to mimic the floral design elements found in the artwork.
To rethink the piece, I used a Dennis Mathewson silver skull frame to enhance the design and direct the focus to the subject matter. I also added a custom shelf that blends to the contour of the exterior frame.
And, finally, to restore – as in photo restoration – I included a high school graduation photo of my brother that became an integral component of the “Day of the Dead” altar. In addition to the photo, I added chess pieces (because we loved to play chess together), a trumpet mouthpiece (because my big brother was my hero and inspired me to play the instrument), and a St. Christopher medal (something he wore until the day he died). I also have since added a cassette tape of Queen, which was his favorite band.
Keeping Memories Alive
This project has been on display in my shop for the past four years, and in some small part, it helps keep my brother’s memory alive. I was only 13 years old when Jeff died, and decades later I still tear up thinking of all the fun and exciting adventures we never got to have. I do like to imagine that if my brother does pay a visit from time to time, he still knows that’s he’s loved and missed. And it was his inspiration for this project that allowed me to truly Raise My Glass.
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