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14 Feb

The Art of Picture Framing

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Guernsey Picture Framers & Art Gallery is a trusted partner and supplier who has been with Art for Guernsey since the beginning. We wouldn’t have an exhibition without excellent framing, and we can always rely on Glen Irven and his team to come up trumps. We wondered how Glen felt about working with us.

How long have you been partnering with Art for Guernsey?
Eight years – right from the get-go. David [Ummels] walked through the door and we hit it off straight away. Sometimes you get people with lots of ideas but not enough push to see it through, but David has always been very driven, even in the early days. So you get behind that.

Are we tricky customers?
It could be a lot easier, but you’re dealing with artists, often remotely so the artist input is limited. Art for Guernsey will have their brief, the artists will demand what they want, and I kind of fit in the middle. Timescales and supply can be an issue – I haven’t got a big factory somewhere or a hundred staff, so to push out a big exhibition, I need it to look amazing but not over-complicate it.

Are there particular challenges when framing for an exhibition?
It’s the volume – like for Dimitri’s 100-piece exhibition. Fitting it in with your workflow can be a challenge, but luckily we close on Mondays now so we can put those days aside to get it all smashed out. We’ll close the doors, get everything set up and it’s chaos, but it’s our chaos. The whole team pulls together and it works really well. And like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the better you get at it.

Do you think people appreciate the craftsmanship involved?
Not always. David gets it, Jock [Pettitt] gets it. And if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be my customers. I have to meet your expectations, but it’s the best feeling in the world when I can give you something a little extra. A lot of my customers have been dealing with me since I’ve owned the business, purely because they can come in and say, “You do what you like, Glen – I know it’ll look amazing, just let me know when it’s ready.” I love putting my ideas into practice, like adding a fluorescent strip in the frame which gives a slight glow – I’d love to do that for a future Art for Guernsey project.

How do you feel when you see the final exhibition?
Really proud. I always try and make the team available to go to Art for Guernsey’s private views because they contributed – it’s a team effort. I can appreciate details in the artworks that I don’t always see when I’m busy framing, and I listen to what people say and it’s great when I hear someone saying “That’s an amazing frame” or “Wow, that looks beautiful.” It’s like one of your kids being in a football match: you’re involved behind the scenes but it’s when everybody else is looking at it that’s the true test.

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