Welcome to our October Framer's Corner with our designer, Heather Cox! Read below to find out how a story can shine through a design.
Welcome to our October Framer’s Corner, featuring our first time story teller, Heather Cox! Heather has been working with us at Frame of Mind for a little over a year, and has a great piece to share with all of you, with a touching story behind the piece.

When our customer brought in a very detailed safari themed cross stitch, we knew there was a story to come as the piece was only partially completed. The detail was incredible, and it was clear someone had spent many hours working on it and that it was something very special.

As our designer Heather began the the design process with the customer, we learned that the customer’s wife had spent many hours working on it and she sadly passed before she could finish it. 

To honor her memory, her husband wanted to frame the piece as if it was still being worked on, so that he could always remember how hard she would work on something she really loved.
It is not a common request to frame an unfinished cross stitch, but Heather was ready to make sure this piece was completed to the customer’s desired request and done to perfection, ensuring that the piece embodied the love and dedication put into it.

Framing a cross stitch requires a few extra steps than regular paper prints. There is a lot of detail that goes into making sure the piece is precise and straight as we work with it. 

Using stainless steel pins, we stretch the piece around a piece of acid free foamcore. Using stainless steel pins ensures that they will not rust and damage the piece over time. In order to make it tight, straight and square with no waves or wrinkles, we do small sections at a time, measuring and redoing many parts over until the piece is perfectly positioned and ready for either a mat or a frame.
The first challenge Heather encountered was that that the piece was unfinished, creating a different texture and give to the fabric as she worked to stretch it. It was as if the piece were made of two different types of fabric. Where the needlepoint was finished it was a tight, and felt heavy, causing more pressure and tension in the pull as she stretched it. In the section where the piece was not finished, the fabric was loose and stretchier. Stretching this piece correctly took some time to ensure the the write amount of pressure was used to evenly distribute the give of the fabric equally throughout the piece. Heather started in the middle and worked her way around the side in order to keep it tight and square. Multiple times, Heather had to redo certain sections of the piece, to ensure the piece was not wrinkling and looked perfect. 

To help tell the story and make the piece feel alive, Heather and the customer decided to show the edges of the needlepoint to accentuate the unexecuted parts of the piece. The final touch was to make the piece feel like it would always be a work in progress, so that the customer could look at it and feel like his wife would be able to start working on it at any given moment. To do this, Heather decided  to leave the needle and thread in the piece, and turn the entire piece into a shadowbox. The needle looks as if it is in mid stitch, ready to continue going.
Heather and the customer decided to use Museum glass, which is 99% UV protectant and has amazing clarity. It almost looks like there is no glass at all. Because Heather and the customer wanted the piece to feel like a shadowbox, and not just a framed cross stitch, spacing was used to created depth between the piece and the glass. This helps to keep the piece safe from the glass touch it, but also made it feel like a keepsake rather than just a work of art. 

The frame that they chose to go with this piece was a textured black, very safari-like frame from Burnich Frame & Moulding, located in East Missoula. This rustic frame is made from solid wood, so it may include knots, scratches, uneven grain and other rustic characteristics that make each part of the frame unique. A rustic frame like this not only made the piece pop, but it also gave the piece the raw unfinished feeling it needed.

After hearing the story behind this particular piece, framing it was an absolute specialty for Heather, but upon seeing the customer’s face after it was finished made an imprint on Heather that would last a lifetime. 
We have two more Framer's Corners for the remainder of 2019!
1706 Brooks Street
Missoula, MT 59801