We frame all of our artworks in their custom frames here in our workshop in Lyall Bay. Custom made frames are expensive and finding a sustainable solution has proved to have its challenges.
Ramin is a hardwood native to the rainforests of South East Asia and is the golden child of the framing industry in New Zealand. Its easy to work with, has a close grain that glues and stains easily and its also quite a strong timber so does not damage easily. It is however listed as an endangered species and the problems associated with the deforestation of the South East Asian rainforests are well known.
At the other end of the scale many cheaper frames are made out of MDF, also not particularly eco-friendly due to the high glue content, which are usually urea-formaldehyde based, and give off toxic gasses when cut or sanded.
As a result we use FSC Baltic Pine for our small and medium frames and FSC New Zealand grown Radiata Pine for our custom and larger size pieces. Pine is not popular with framers as it is a soft timber with a very visible grain. If you look carefully at our small frames the grain does show through in places, but this is part of the story behind our artworks. We tried NZ pine for the small frames, but the pronounced grain and sap lines caused problems with the water based paints, Baltic pine is slower growing and has a more even texture. Some forward looking framers are starting to use reclaimed wood to make their frames which have buckets of character and are something we want to investigate further in the future.
A few process shots of a small map being framed above.