Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The All New Holton Studio Website is LAUNCHED!!!


This'll be the last post here on Blogger. From now on you'll find my blog on my BIG, BEAUTIFUL AND MUCH IMPROVED new website!!!

Three and a half years ago I started tinkering with WordPress to see if I could build myself an online catalog. A year or so later, Matt Jalbert, to whom I'll forever be grateful for dragging Holton Studio into the digital age with the website we launched in 2010, gave up freelance web design. So I went out to find a new designer. I quickly landed on Computer Courage in Berkeley, which had going for it—in addition to clear business integrity—the fact that they build sites using WordPress, and could therefore simply integrate the catalog I'd been building into a new site. Of course, the possibilities of an entire site built such that I could manage all the content myself were intoxicating, and hence the over-long process of getting this thing up and running.

But it's finally done and ready for prime time, and so here you go—years in the making, the all new and improved HoltonFrames.com!!!

What are the highlights?
So—we're turning over a new leaf. Come check it out!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hanging at the American Museum of Natural History

I'm at the shop today in Emeryville, but the three of us at Holton Studio are also hanging in the American Museum of Natural History and taking part in the reopening of the North American Mammal Hall for which we produced dozens of hand carved oak frames as well as other fixtures. Read all about it in the New York Times, listen on NPR., and watch on MSNBC (where, at 1:26, you can see one of our frames directly behind the reporter). What a privilege to take part in such a monument of our nation's public cultural heritage!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mirror with Carved Medallion

Here's a recently commissioned mirror. The design is based on that of a pair of frames I made years ago for two leather panels by CR Ashbee. This mirror is a horizontal adaption of that design, featuring at the top center a carved medallion with two pine cones. The outside dimensions of the frame are 36" x 48". The medallion is 4-1/2" in diameter. Quartersawn white oak with Medieval Oak stain.

Below is shown the top rail after carving.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Framing Gustave Baumann Prints

Over the years we've had the pleasure to frame quite a few prints by master American printmaker Gustave Baumann (1881-1971). Here are three just finished:
Gustave Baumann, "Early Spring, Brown County"

Gustave Baumann, "Rio Pecos"

Gustave Baumann, "Coast Range"
The frames are stained walnut compounds.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Framing Thaddeus Welch—Carved Corners

Had the privilege of framing a Thaddeus Welch (1844-1919) oil painting a while back (here). Took a very different approach with this one, playing up the wonderful tradition of Taos frames. Trevor Davis had made a corner sample similar to this, and when the painting came in, the design, with a couple of adjustments (scaled down, made as a flat rather than a slope), would be just right. This is a 3-1/4" wide compound flat profile with carved corners, in quartersawn white oak with Medieval Oak stain. The painting's about 12" x 14-3/4".
Here's a detail of the corner:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Framing a Benjamin Williams Leader Landscape

Just finished framing this spectacular 1875 Alpine landscape oil painting by British artist Benjamin Williams Leader (1831 - 1923), titled "The Wetterhorn from Rosenlaui." At 72" x 60" it has a powerful presence (see last photo for scale). Commissioned by a Member of Parliament, John Derby Allcroft, the year it was painted it was displayed at the Royal Academy, where Leader's work was shown in every summer exhibition from 1854 through 1922.

We made a 6" wide stained quartersawn white oak compound frame with a chamfered mortise-and-tenon flat and gilt oak liner. The chamfer has carved points that articulate the corners with a detail that also picks up a form pervasive in the painting.

Corner detail

Below is the painting in its old Victorian makeshift frame—a conventional 19th century exhibition frame heavy on compo (molded plaster-like material meant to pass itself off as carving).

Clearly influenced by John Ruskin's pleas to painters to go to nature, to see her both truly and reverently—and sharing with Ruskin a passion for the Swiss Alps—Leader contributed in his way to the great project of re-framing art, led by Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites. I wonder if, while breaking with convention on the canvas itself, he followed the Pre-Raphaelites, Whistler and others to make his ideals real in the form of the picture frame itself. If so, I hope our efforts would have met with his approval.

This is the third Leader we've had the privilege of framing. Another is on my site, here.

The painting with Eric Johnson next to it to give a sense of scale (Eric's over 6' tall).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Framing a Millard Sheets Watercolor

Another wonderful California watercolor, this one by Millard Sheets: "Boats of Noyo," 1974, 22" x 30". The bold and colorful watercolor has all the presence of an oil painting, warranting our framing it close (an 8-ply gasket mat and lined rabbet, along with Museum Glass, keep it archival). The spirit of the painting demanded a simple profile. The quartersawn oak frame is a 3-1/4" wide flattened cove to echo the forms of the boats and soft trees and hills. Flattened form suits both the shallow perspective and artist's approach which is less illusionistic than it is a decorative treatment of the paper as a flat surface. Gilt oak liner.

The view of a thriving craft, and in a beautiful natural setting, sure speaks to me!