Modern Mitre is a three-year-old custom framing shop in Auburn, Alabama, led by Jason Nix and Kevin Washburn, who say that they “try to stand out from the crowd by not being your standard thought of ‘grandpa’s picture frame shop.’ ”
Boasting a wealth of experience in conservation framing between them, Jason and Kevin use only Tru Vue® glazings and say that Conservation Clear® is the product of choice for about 85 percent of their jobs. However, last fall, when they were approached about a project involving Native American arrowheads, they were pointed in a different direction towards UltraVue® UV70 Glass.
In mid-November 2018, a first-time customer walked in to Modern Mitre carrying a heavy box that was filled to the brim with an array of arrowheads and various other Native American artifacts that had been collected over the course of three generations from sites all across the Southeast.
The customer wanted to have the collection used to create a unique custom-framed display, and gave Jason and Kevin free reign of the design, simply asking them to stay within a budget and meet a hard deadline of Christmas Eve.
To start the job, Jason and Kevin began by sifting through all of the artifacts to select which pieces to showcase. Because each arrowhead had a unique shape, their greatest challenge was in determining the best method to use to attach the objects to the matboard without an adhesive.
After some research and speaking with an outside conservation specialist, the pair decided to sew some of the stones using a mix of monofilament line and a thicker jute material coated in melted beeswax – which took the appearance of sinew. In order to attach the round, marble-like game objects and the large blue stone, they chose to use an electrical-grade silicone made by GE.
“The frame design kind of came about by looking around at what others had done in the past,” Jason said. “We didn’t want to do something that we thought of as corny like arrange them in the shape of an arrowhead or keep them flat on one plane. Since we had objects of many varying depths, we basically had to view and build each window opening in the matboard out like little individual shadowboxes all at varying heights to keep eye drawn in yet moving across the frame.”
Jason and Kevin wanted crystal clarity for their project, but since the arrowheads and stones are not vulnerable to light, they weren’t concerned about providing the highest level of UV protection.
“For items that are not prone to UV damage, like these stones, we like to go with UltraVue UV70 to mitigate the reflection,” Jason said about the water white glass that provides crystal-clear color transmission and a virtually invisible, anti-reflective surface for amazing clarity – especially beneficial since observers would stand closer to the display than usual in order to examine the artifacts.
Making a Point
“Since we had full control of design and materials there was no other glazing option even tossed onto the design table,” Jason said about UV70. “In our industry, there is really no other place to look for quality in glazing than Tru Vue. They are completely synonymous.”
Jason went on to say, “Kevin really took the lead and worked through the process of creating the sinew substitute. It was his attention to fine details and years of experience that aided him in making all of the major decisions on placement and just which stones to showcase out of the vast array we were given.”
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