The Art of Finished Corner Frame Making

The art of finished corner frame making

This past summer we had the good fortune to visit our friends at Quattro Frameworks in Long Island City, New York.  These highly skilled artisans produce exquisite closed corner frames in a variety of styles.  Their designs range from traditional American, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch to modern and contemporary styles.

What truly sets them apart is their ability to completely customize any frame to meet our clients’ particular needs.  For example, if you want to transform a contemporary tiered bright gold-leaf frame to a shadowbox design, it can easily be done.  Likewise, if you love a frame that’s 3” wide, but would prefer it to be 2”, it’s no problem.

Join us as we tour the Quattro Frameworks studio:

The majority of the wood they use for frame making is high quality Canadian Basswood, renowned for its ability to be precisely carved.  The raw wood is cut to size, and then sent through a planer using one of hundreds of molds, as seen below, that give the frame its basic shape.

Every order is custom cut into lengths that match the exact dimension of the art.  Then each length is hand carved.

The lengths are nailed, glued and joined.  There were a couple dozen frames in the corner blocks you see on the right side of this photo, where they rest for 24 hours while the glue sets.

At the far end of the studio is a state-of-the-art spray booth, where frames are painted in a base color or a clear, protective coating.  What you can’t see in this photo are the giant fans to the left that pull the fumes out of the booth, scrub the contaminants from the air, and then ventilate the cleaned air through a large chimney several stories up and over the building.

Here we see a thin layer of red clay being hand applied to an intricately carved frame, in preparation to receive gold leaf.

This is the corner sample in the same design as the frame above.

This short video demonstrates how the gold leaf is applied to the frame.  In this instance, the artisan is using a water gilding technique, whereby a small amount of water is first “painted” on the frame, and then individual thin, square leafs of 22-karat gold are applied.  Notice how he swipes the horsehair brush against his cheek, creating a static charge that holds the gold leaf to the brush.

And here is Sebastian, the maestro of Quattro Frameworks, in his showroom.  Don’t be fooled by his boyish looks.  Sebastian has 25 years of custom framing experience, employing only the finest craftsmen in the fine art of finished corner frame making.

The Gilt Complex is proud to offer the full line of custom frames made by the artisans at Quattro Frameworks.  Please visit us to see the wide variety of styles available, particularly the evolving selection of contemporary designs.


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