Posts Tagged ‘sustainable picture frames’

Of Wilco Posters and Sustainable Picture Frames…

Wilco Poster 2

One of the most enjoyable things you can do in life is stop and pay attention to how this connects to that, especially when like-mindedness is involved. 



In January 0f 2009, our very good friends Steve and Jana needed some help with cork and marmoleum floors.  We were seeking good content for our very young blog.  So I took a little trip to their home in Madison, WI and we banged out a couple of sustainable floors in a weekend, with the Flip Cam rolling of course.  The resulting blog post about DIY Cork and Marmoleum Floors is still our most popular post.  Thank you Steve and Jana!

What does this have to do with Wilco Posters?  Well, please bear with me for a few sentences and I’ll tie it together.  

In April of 2009 Mingyan Bao, who we met via Green Drinks and Redirect Guide networking events, was kind enough to guest blog about Sustainable Picture Frames for Your Art & Photographs.  This has since become the second most popular post on our blog.  Thank you Ming!

Back to Steve and Jana, and on to Wilco.  Last October, I met up with them in Chicago for a Wilco show at the UIC Pavillion.  And a fabulous show it was…30 songs total with a 10 song encore!  Here’s the set list  for you hardcore Wilco fans who may be reading this. 

Later, Steve informed me that the unique poster from the show was available for purchase at the store on Wilco’s website.  POW!  I knew we had to buy it and visit Ming’s shop in Loveland, CO to have her team work it into a sustainable picture frame.

It took us awhile to execute and blog about it, but we finally got the poster purchased and framed in a sustainable Framerica® product as you can see in the image above.  Between Ming’s magic on frame and border selection and dumb luck that the colors in the poster totally match our wall colors, we couldn’t be happier with the result.

So fast-forward to February 19, 2010 and we’re at another Wilco show in Duluth, MN with Steve and Jana and other great longtime friends.  Now it looks like we’ve got another cool poster we need to buy from that show

It is important here to point out Wilco’s many causes.  Their posters, benefit shows, downloads for donation and so on support a long list of sustainability, community and global initiatives .  Thank you Wilco!  For making incredible music and making the world a better place in other ways as well.

OK, this post wouldn’t be complete without tying in Ariana and Evan, our great friends here in Ft. Collins who we also met via the Redirect Guide.  They were the ones who took me and Lara to our first Wilco show at Red Rocks last summer.  Thank you Ariana and Evan! 

It is worth noting that they are about to remodel their place and their project includes installing new cork floors, for which I have been recruited.  Funny how this connects to that!!


Sustainable Picture Frames for Your Art & Photographs

April 26, 2009 1 comment

by Mingyan Bao

Gold FrameEvery person has something that they put into a picture frame: photos, art, mirrors, etc.  We like to display our best moments, good memories, and pretty things.   The act of framing something is so common and trivial that we don’t put much thought into it other than whether it will look good. 

The fact is that most picture frames are made of plastic, wood, or aluminum.  The discount frames are usually some form of plastic finished to look like wood.  Metal frames were common and popular when commodity prices were low, but they are less fashionable than they once were, and metal frames sourced from certified recycled metal are not yet available.  Most framers carry a line of aluminum frames, though.  Wood frames from a custom framing shop are usually made from solid, full-grain wood of one type or another.

So what is the “green framer” to do?  A major part of the answer is to use wood harvested from sustainable and controlled forests.  Leading vendors of picture frame moldings are getting PEFC and FSC certifications. PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, is a global program that traces the chain of custody for lumber products from living forest to finished products.  FSC, the Forest  Stewardship Council, is a world wide effort to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.  

Sustainable Wood Frames

Some molding makers have discontinued using exotic woods such as purple heart, zebra wood, and teak due to the lack of cost-effective and sustainable sources of these woods.  Instead, renewable American hardwoods are finished to mimic the exotic look.  


Wood Composite FrameThere are also frames made of a wood composite material, which is made of saw dust, wood chips, and recycled wood. 





Rustic FrameSome manufacturers have obtained licenses for removing dead wood from national forests, which they turn into beautiful rustic frames.




As you can see from the pictures above, there is a variety of styles to select from.  You don’t have to compromise your aesthetics for the sake of your ethics.


Another way to bring sustainability into your framed piece is to use 100% cotton mats rather than paper mats.  The 100% cotton mats come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of textures.Cotton Mat colors  


They are better than paper mats on several fronts.  Cotton mats last decades longer than paper mats.  They also put a waste product from the textile making process – a by-product of cotton refining called linters – to productive use.  Because paper mats are made from wood pulp, they contain acids and lignin that will eventually cause the mat to discolor and fade.  Some will even damage the art underneath.  This is why museums and galleries use cotton mats for conservation purposes.


So the next time you buy a picture frame, keep in mind which materials you are really buying.  Ask your framer to show you which of their frames are from sustainable sources. 


About the Author

Mingyan Bao is the owner of The Great Frame Up, a custom picture framing shop located at the Promenade Shops at Centerra in Loveland, CO.  The Great Frame Up is a locally owned full service framing shop offering free consultations and in-home quotes.  They specialize in conservation framing and shadowboxes.


You can also upcycle old windows into picture frames, so stay tuned for an upcoming post with step-by-step guidance from Mingyan on this approach to DIY framing.