Welcome to our February Framer's Corner!! This is where we like to take a moment every month to share some of our favorite projects with you.
You get to meet the designer and learn the process and steps it takes to frame some of these one of a kind things that come through our shop.
"Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's greatest flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. One some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."
-Norman McClean,
A River Runs Through It
Our gallery manager, Heather Taylor, is an avid fly fisherwomen and goes out with her fiance to fish and basically have a good time no matter if she catches and releases a trout or not. Her fiance is the one who got her actively involved in freshwater fishing, since he is an avid fly fisherman himself. He grew up fishing with his Dad who owns an old antique bamboo rod, and talks about it all the time.
Heather may have made the mistake once of calling it a fishing pole...

"Always it was to be called a rod. If someone called it a pole, my father looked at him as a sergeant in the United States Marines would look at a recruit who had just called a rifle a gun."
-Norman McClean
A River Runs Through It

Let's just say Heather never made that mistake again.
How many of you out there are fly fishermen and fly fisherwomen? Some of you may have grown up fishing here in Montana, or grown up traveling to Montana to fish, some of you may not have learned to fish until later in life or at least until you moved to Montana. Montana is known for fly fishing, and yes, so are other places, but fly fishing seems to be a common activity here especially during the summer and fall months.
When a couple of Heather's favorite customers came in for framing of a few more Social Distortion concert posters (rock on!) they also brought in an old antique bamboo rod that was his father's and possibly his grandfather's rod. Since he no longer wanted to use the rod or have it lying around, he decided he wanted to get a custom built shadowbox to protect it and keep it from getting damaged anymore.


Heather knew right off the bat that this was going to be a special framing job since the piece was so valuable and meaningful to the customer, so she wanted to make the framing as special as possible with out it being too distracting.

Heather knew the frame she wanted to use, the Roma Nightfall from their Country Collection complimented the rustic feeling of the piece. The only problem, it wasn't quite deep enough to encase the entire fishing rod.
This sometimes happens in framing, the perfect frame, but not the perfect depth. Luckily, we have a solution to this problem, and it is called Stack framing.
Stack framing is a process where we take a desired moulding to use as the face of the piece and find another wide frame to use as a base to help make up the difference needed for depth. To do this, the base frame is turned on its side and cut and joined. The base frame creates a perfect pocket for the face frame to fit into, while adding the needed depth.
After both frames are made to the precise sizing to fit within each other, they are glued and joined with brad nails, or with a biscuit router. The ending result is one single frame that is just the right depth to fit your shadowbox project.


A side image of the two frames used to create a stack frame for this shadowbox. The taller skinny frame was used as the face frame, and a second frame was turned on its side to build up the desired depth.
Now that the design had it's frame, it was time to choose the matting, and since the piece was going to be over 40 inches long, Heather had to make sure the matting would be available in oversize or at least a 40"x60" mat. They decided to pull from the fabric mats since those are a lot richer in color and add to the age of the rod to complete the whole piece. This mat would also be used to create the walls of the shadowbox. Shadowbox walls not only are used as a visual element, but are an important structural element to the frame itself. The walls hold the glass of the shadowbox in place, and create a visually pleasing look instead of having the raw edging of the frame.

They ended up choosing a mat from our supplier Crescent, in the color Brindle Brown, it is an acid free matting material that complimented the piece well. Not too creamy and not to brown with just enough vintage feel to really make the whole piece come together.

Once the mouldings and the mat were chosen, the customers decided to go with the 99% UV conservation Clear glass to protect the rod and the matting from fading or getting any sort of light damage.

The first step to a good shadowbox project is meticulous measurements. Everything has to be done just right to fit all the pieces of the shadowbox puzzle together. Having one measurement off can mean a complete reconstruction of every element of the frame. After the measurements had been checked over multiple times, Heather began to attach the fishing rod to the matboard by hand sewing it down.

Once the rod was all sewn down, secure and the frames were built, Heather put the glass in and made the shadowbox walls to keep the glass from touching the rod and the reel.

Finally it was all done and ready for pick up. When our clients came to pick it up, he was brought to tears because this piece truly meant the world to him and he was so thankful for hour it turned out.
Fishing, no matter if it is salt or freshwater, is not always about catching the perfect fish or catching fish at all, it's about the experience and the memories you create for yourself and for those who go along for the trip.

"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago"
-Zane Grey
Riders of the Purple Sage
1706 Brooks Street
Missoula, MT 59801
406-549-8589