Framing Resources

Local Framers and Suppliers

If you want to pay someone else to do the work for you, figure out what you want and all around to compare prices. This is not an exhaustive list, but ones that have been used by students and faculty.

Traditional Framing

Frugal Framer
Asheville Store  

Arden Store       

Framers Chop Service (less expensive part of Frugal Framer)    

Framing Suppies.Com 
Hendersonville Store

Blackbird Frame Shop
365 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, NC

Frame it to a T
1103 Brevard Rd.
Ashevile, NC, 28806
1 block past Asheville Outlet Mall

Alternative Solutions

Henco Reprographics
Different sorts of mounting solutions including Ultra Board
1445 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804

Frugal Framer
Asheville Store 

Can mount prints on gatorboard and other substrates

Online suppliers:

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a starting point.  Ordering online can often save money if you are buying in bulk and give you options not available locally.

Choosing a frame and matting 

Generally, in a gallery setting, the frame and mat should isolate your image from the environment, rather than having their own character by drawing attention to themselves.  There are probably exceptions having to do with how you want the work to be experienced.  But, less is generally more, when it comes to framing.

There are many choices to make:

  • What kind of frame will look best with the work ?
  • What sort of mat board will look best with the work ?
  • How much money do I have to spend on framing ?
  • How much time do I have to invest in framing ?
  • Is this the first and last framing project I will ever do, or do I think this is going to come up again and again over the years.

1. The easiest but most expensive way to get your work framed is to pay a professional frame shop to take care of it.  You drop off the work, make a couple of decisions, and return a few days later to pick up your work.  Call around (suppliers are listed at the bottom of this page) and get some quotes to help you decide if this is feasible.  Make sure that you have the dimensions of your work readily available.

2. A second alternative is picking and choosing what you want to do, and what you will buy pre-fab.  You can pick-up frames or mats that are ready for assembly or some that are already completely assembled (note that this option is harder to fit your work, unless you printed a standard size like 16 x 20").  Places like Michael's are fairly inexpensive, and are geared with a mindset of the focus being on the work rather than the frame.

3. The alternative that provides the greatest control over what your work will look like is to choose select all the parts individually, cut your own window and assemble your frames yourself.  This will yield the best results, but requires the most patience and time.   The learning curve is fairly steep, an you will most likely screw up a couple of mats while you figure out what you are doing. This is cheaper than option number one, but probably more or less equivalent to option number two.

Archival Framing: Also called conservation framing, this is a widely used term in the framing industry. While there are no set industry-wide rules or standards, it is generally assumed that 'archival'  implies the use of acid-free materials during the framing process. In practice there are many levels of archiving ranging from what a typical framer will use in a retail store to the methods and materials curators will employ.

Alternative Framing: You do not necessarily have to frame your work.  Framing is probably the best way to protect your work, but it is expensive and heavy if you are planning to ship a whole show.   It is best to start planning your presentation before you start producing the final prints, as the size of your work will dictate your presentation options. 

Alternatives could include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Mounting your work on Sintra and floating it off the wall.
  • Face mounting on Plexi, and hanging on the wall or suspending from ceiling.
  • Pinning raw prints to the wall.  This is likely to look unfinished, but with the right work, might be a good alternative.
  • Mounting on Aluminum, Acrylic, or other substrate.