Picture Panache Framing & Design

Picture Panache Framing & Design

Last week I had the pleasure of spending an hour and a half in a learning session with Susan Wakal from Picture Panache Framing & Design.

Susan is extremely knowledgeable not only in the whole area of framing and hanging artwork, but clients who work with Susan get the benefit of her extensive background in interior design.

When Susan reviewed some common questions like how many pictures do you hang together, how high should they be, how far apart… she also focussed on design principles. Things like visual weight, balance, unity, proportion and scale… And it’s the combination of the design principles along with the hanging techniques that make all the difference in the end to the overall visual appeal and feel of a space.

Elizabeth Kimberly Design

Susan was clear though, that once you know the rules, then you can break them. And this photo of Elizabeth Kimberly’s design illustrates that perfectly… Everything is in balance and the room feels harmonious, but if you literally applied one of the general rules – how high to hang artwork over a sofa – the first row of this artwork would be hung too high. But then when you factor in the vaulted ceiling, and the window height you can see the base height of the artwork has actually been adjusted to effectively compliment the space.

Oh, BTW the general rule of thumb (so-to-speak) for height to hang artwork over a sofa is basically the width of one stretched open hand…

Kind of like this… give or take on the hand size of course!

One of the first things Susan says she does before framing a piece is establish the emphasis a client wants placed on the piece. So what that means is the level of importance the piece has to you. After this is determined, all other aspects involved in the framing process begin to take shape.

Here are a  few tips and tricks I learned.

Susan recommends:

Scanning meaningful and/or valuable originals, then frame and hang the scanned image. This way you can safely store the original and keep it in the best condition possible.

Who would’ve thought?

Put spacers between the glass and the matt – don’t set glass right onto the matt.

This was definitely something new to me. I knew that glass shouldn’t make direct contact with the artwork, but I didn’t know that also includes the matt.

Use ‘wall buddies’ when hanging individual pieces, but don’t use them for groupings. I hadn’t even heard of wall buddies before!

Wall buddies allow artwork to be level and flush against the wall, and prevents the piece from moving once it’s in place. Susan swears by these, and she even gave me a set so I can try them out!

Orientation of artwork should be the same as the wall, eg. hang a vertical piece (or vertical grouping) in an area where there is more vertical space than horizontal, and vice-versa for horizontal.

I had never heard it put this clearly before, but when you think about it, this helps narrow down artwork proportionate to space, saving a lot of contemplation and time.

Pieces needing to be viewed close up should be hung where you can step up to the piece.

A hallway is perfect for this because it allows you to get close enough to see the detail that would otherwise be missed.

Like this! Were you able to tell this was a cross-stitch piece in the first photo?

These are just a very small handful of the many things Susan shared. I definitely left with more information than an hour and a half’s worth, trust me!

Thank you Susan for an amazing information session, and for being so generous with your knowledge and your time… and thank you for the sandwiches too!

Picture Pananche studio is located in the heart of Sidney, BC where all your framing needs can be accommodated by appointment only. For more information or to make an appointment please visit www.picturepanache.com. Susan and her husband Don will take very good care of you!

If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!


Thumbnail image: Picture Panache website

Elizabeth Kimberly Design ; Newspaper Clipping & Blue Hand ; Wall Buddies ; Spacers ; Vertical & Horizontal Frames

Cross-stitch Images: Sheila Zeller

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