Saturday, September 12, 2015

Art Show Prep

One of my goals this year was to exhibit some of my photography in art shows, and two pieces were accepted this summer (one juried exhibit, one member show). I've also decided to participate in a couple of arts/crafts festivals, mostly just for fun. However, this requires some prep work to get pieces ready. After having one piece professionally framed (way expensive), I'm attempting a more economical route, doing my own matting and semi-framing.

This adventure began by ordering my images from one of two labs – NationsPhoto Lab and Shutterfly. Both produced high quality prints, delivered quickly, and at a very reasonable cost. From the advice I read on other websites and blogs, I made sure to order my prints in standard sizes to fit pre-cut mats and frames (4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and a few square images).

Ready to Mat, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
Cutting my own mats isn’t an option with the learning curve and trying to prep a larger quantity of pieces in a limited amount of time. For economy I ordered pre-cut mat packages from Amazon that include mat, backing border, and a sealable bag. The first thing I learned was to make sure the clear bags had the sticky seal on the bag below the opening rather than on the flap; otherwise the bag sticks to the image or mat as it’s being inserted. What a challenge!

Placing the Tape, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
I hinged the mat and backing together using linen hinging tape. For ease and less mess, the self-adhesive variety worked well for my purposes. A narrow piece of hinging tape was used to hold the photo in place on the mat. Most of the items for the arts/crafts shows will be unframed, but matted in either basic white or black mats, and kept in crystal clear bags to protect the items from smudges and handling.

Framing was another adventure. Again, economy was the major factor in my choices. I was self-framing a square image. The exhibit required all photographic entries to be framed with a white mat and standard glass. The exhibit was also very specific about the hanging requirements – picture wire placed approximately 1/3 of the way down the edge of the frame and at least 1-½ inches below the top of the frame. I found exactly what I needed online in a smooth, black wood frame; alas no hanging wire.

Hole Placement, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
Useful Tools, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
Using a little ingenuity, I found the hole alignment guide we used for installing knobs on our bathroom cabinets. The guide has holes placed at various heights and widths, and worked perfectly for positioning the D-rings on the back of the frame. The other tools used were basic household items we have on hand, including wire cutters, screwdrivers, and a light duty hammer. After watching a couple of picture wiring videos on YouTube, I was able to determine how to bend and wrap the picture wire for secure hanging.

Ready to Go, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
Overall, I’m please with my efforts. So far I have 25 images matted and ready. The next challenge will be finding tables and displays for the arts/crafts festivals. Looks like I’ll be making a few investments along with paying entry fees. My first festival participation is the Palma Sola Botanical Park Annual Plants & Crafts sale on October 17th. Stop by and see me.

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