A good visit from Murphy

June is completion month. Unless you are a follower (groupie, admirer, afficianado) of Alyson Stanfield at ArtBizCoach.com, you might not know that. Alyson blends her fun, encouraging personality with a wealth of information about how to accomplish the marketing and business side of making art. So when she told me I should complete something that has been languishing, I listened.

Now I must warn you, this completed project is not sexy, unless you are into framing. As an artist who works on paper, I also have to frame my work. At this point in my art career it simply doesn’t make financial sense to have someone else do the framing. Plus doing it myself gives me a bit more control over everything, including last minute requests. The problem is that framing really needs some space…

My onyx 90 Mat Cutter System makes all the detailed cutting of framing easier.
My Onyx90 Mat Cutting system was shoe-horned in a tiny room with a queen sized bed.

This project started in the fall, but has been needed for about five years. We have a tiny fourth bedroom in our house that for twenty years has been the guest bedroom/room where things are put when you don’t know what to do with them. A queen-sized bed took up two-thirds of the room.  My awesome Onyx 90 mat/foam/glass/plexiglass cutter hung on one wall. My expensive mat board and foam core were propped against the other free wall. But there really wasn’t enough room or surface work area to do the actual framing.

A Murphy bed frame pushes a mattress against the wall for storage, and supports the bed when in use.
A Murphy bed frame gets the bed out of the way when you don’t have guests.

Enter the Murphy bed… We ordered just the frame of a Murphy bed system. The frame folds up neatly and holds the mattress upright, then pulls down easily to make a comfortable bed when you need it. You could get a fancy cabinet to hide the mattress, but we were on a budget.

A measuring jig allows me to cut the mat window without expensive devices.
This jig helps me cut the inside beveled mat board window for images as large as 25 x 40″.

With 2 x 4s, inch-thick plywood and some hardboard we then created a table which also holds all of the standard-sized mat board and foam core. The table is big enough to use this great bevel cutting jig that my husband made for me. The piece with many tiny holes has the fraction of the inch markings while the shorter metal pieces have the inch markings. Your measurement is the width of mat board window you would like on each side of your image. Don’t quite understand the geometry but it works like a charm. DO change the blade in your mat cutter with every new mat. This is important!

A homemade framing table also holds mat board, foam core and framing supplies.
The sturdy storage table is just right for hunting chipmunks.

The table has room for all the framing supplies that live in a plastic bin when not in use. The table is also the perfect height for my cats to come whisker to whisker with the macho chipmunks outside. The cats get quite annoyed when I shoo them off and vacuum the surface to get rid of any cat fur.

The unsung tools of a quality framing job -- no hot glue please!
All of these goodies can live under the table when I’m using the table for something else.

Framing is very stressful. Even a small mistake means expensive glass, plexiglass and mat board is wasted. So having a large space in which to work, where I don’t hit the walls with my mat board or risk breaking my glass going down the stairs is priceless. Wish I’d done it years ago.

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