Something To Treasure - April 2016

Posted in General Village Interest

Following a stint at building and selling innovative bird boxes with fancy decorations, Lisa Pennells was spurred on by her friends to get into the picture framing business. And in 2014 her bespoke endeavour In The Frame was born.
Haydn at The Little Gallery in Dereham was looking for an assistant and Lisa took up the gauntlet – and her work for them and increasing private client load for In The Frame is done in her substantial workshop next to her house.
“Customers can come in and pick from the picture frame mouldings that we already have at a discount. Or they can select any type of mouldings their heart desires from my (Wessex Pictures) catalogue.” Whether in oak, pine, yew, in any design or colour, such as gold, black, white, or if you want something more elaborate, Lisa can do it.
“I can mount everything from school photos, textiles, war medals, or embroidery and painted canvases – which would need to be stretched and mounted.” The stretching means the work takes a bit longer to complete. Most people will ask for standard glass – but Lisa can also use the posh stuff: “The kind they use in art galleries to protect the work from UV lights and glare,” says Lisa.
“One of my most memorable projects was box framing a North American Indian wedding dress – it was thick suede and had beads and tassels. It was bigger and wider than me.” She explains that it took two people to hold it and they had to work on the kitchen table – the only surface that was big enough to place it on. While most of her jobs won’t take longer than a few hours to complete – the wedding dress took months.
“We also had to make the box, and hanger [which went in the wedding dress], and fill the dress to stop lumps showing through,” Lisa continues. Which was only some of the process.
Currently she’s framing a piece of embroidery. Unfortunately, the mould the client requested wasn’t available – so Lisa takes me into her workshop and explains how she overcame this. “I used a similar style mould to make the frame, which I stained.” She’s now ready to continue the process and I watch as she rubs lime wax on the wood before wiping it down. Ta-da, it’s got a whole new look. She also shows me an original drawing that looks impressive in a double mount.
What’s next for Lisa? Hidden away are some mirrors she’s been working on (and wants to sell), but it’s an idea that’s evolving: “I plan to smash up some old crockery that I’ve been collecting to mosaic the frames, with teapot spouts, cup handles and the like sticking out,” she says. With all this resourcefulness, we can’t wait to see what else Lisa’s got up her sleeve.
For all your framing needs, contact Lisa on 01362 776802, or pop into her workshop at The Willows 57 Eastgate Street, North Elmham.
Deborah Cleland-Harris