I began custom framing when I opened up my shop, Cabinet of Curiosities, 13 years ago. This project was my first time entering the Tru Vue® competition, and I was genuinely surprised by how many people stopped by to talk about my entry.
My entry, entitled “They All Remember It How They Need To,” captured memories from a premiere event for the Jersey Boys movie, held in the hometown of one of the actors playing a major character in the 2014 film. The movie marked the breakout performance of Michael Lomenda, playing the role of Nick Mass, a member of The Four Seasons. Michael hails from Stettler, Alberta, Canada, where I own my custom framing shop, Cabinet of Curiosities.
My project included a shadowbox featuring photos and items from the event, as well as one of the movie’s promotional posters. I decided to use unconventional materials to create a more unique, stylistic piece that would stand out.
I took a visual theme from the movie poster’s design, creating the shadowbox to mimic the alley in the image with a frame wrapped in bricks of shades of gray. I accomplished this by using a textured modeling paste called Lascaux Extra Course Modeling Paste, choosing it because it is very stable and appropriate for conservation-grade projects.
Using the modeling paste required patience, I had to work in six-inch segments and then move to a different spot in the frame to be careful not to knock it while it was drying. My hair dryer came in handy to accelerate the process.
Thinking Outside the Frame
Taking the elements beyond the frame, I incorporated a lamp that replicates the one from the movie poster on the outside of the actual frame. The lamp is flexible and can be moved for the best impact when hung.
I custom-made the lamp with help from my local hardware store. The light itself is a bendable flashlight, which is connected to a lamppost made of PVC hot water pipe. I found a mini bundt pan to serve as the curved shade and a cupcake carrier that was used to create the street light cover.
The base of the lamppost is a small speaker intended to play the soundtrack from the movie. I made the decision to move the speaker to the lamppost base and wrapped it in the modeling paste bricks for a seamless addition.
Inside the frame, I used Optium Museum Acrylic® to encase the invitations and to mount the photo of the marquee from the event, which sits in the bottom left corner of the frame. The marquee photo was printed on clear film and adhered to the Optium Museum Acrylic®, allowing the light to filter through from the back. This light source is also what illuminates the bricks below in a blue hue. The tint comes from the reflective quality of the ink used to color the modeling paste.
The Overall Buzz
As the first Canadian winner of a major international framing award, I’ve received plenty of support from my community – and I find it exceedingly humbling. In order to set yourself apart, it’s important to do something unique enough to make people stop and say, “That’s really cool.” It is this idea of crafting my skills and using them to make my pieces stand out that inspires me to Raise My Glass.
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