Dear Artist – Framing your work for exhibition

Your first exhibition… Congratulations! I bet you’re excited, perhaps even a little apprehensive, there are things to organise, people to invite, framing to be done. Breathe in, breathe out relax a little. Now let’s look at a few things regarding framing.

  • Do it right – Take a look at other exhibitions, note the frames, perhaps sustain-ably sourced Tassie-oak, Vic Ash or Black-wood, Probably matted to keep the image off the glass. If it’s a canvas, frame or no frame? Now make sure you get a framer that can do the frames to the right standard, to protect the work and ensure that conservation hinging techniques are used and the mats are Museum std or at least good quality acid free.
  • Plan ahead – Framing can take a few weeks, allow PLENTY of time, chat to your framer and make sure they can do it in that time. Also consider if you can store them prior to the exhibition delivery date, some framer’s may want you to get the work out of their space fast, while others are able to accommodate holding on to them, make it easy on yourself to get them to the gallery on time with less hassle and stress
  • Make it easy! – For the framer, clearly label the works, make sure the sizes are accurate and easy to understand, the std is width precedes height. Please follow that so everyone knows which way is up, if that’s still not clear then indicate it with an arrow on the back of the work.
  • Quotes – By all means get quotes from a few framers but make sure you are comparing apples with apples, not something else. Framer’s can use different suppliers for materials, but it might be the same size moulding etc. Be aware of the profile sizes and match to that.
  • Be happy – With the framer you choose, they may be cheap but if you don’t like them, that might be an indicator of trouble to come, if they are slack, your timeline might not mean anything to them. If you end up with a bunch of leftover framed images after the show, you want peace of mind in knowing that you will be happy to hang the works, store them etc,the last thing you want are a bunch of reminders that the framer you chose was painful to deal with. We suggest choosing a friendly professional picture framer, you will notice the difference.
  • Transport – Are the works BIG? If so will they require specialist transport, like a van to get the pieces to the gallery? Will you be able to handle them with ease or will you need someone else to assist you. Then think about how they are wrapped up to protect them from possible breakage.


Steve Gray – Framing Guy at the Picture Framing Shak

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