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We provide professional picture framing services to the following areas:
   Adrian, Michigan
   Archbold, Ohio
   Bedford, Michigan
   Blissfield, Michigan
   Bowling Green, Ohio
   Delta, Ohio
   Defiance, Ohio
   Findlay, Ohio
   Fostoria, Ohio
   Fremont, Ohio
   Grand Rapids, Ohio
   Maumee, Ohio
   Monroe, Michigan
   Napoleon, Ohio
   Oregon, Ohio
   Perrysburg, Ohio
   Point Place, Ohio
   Port Clinton, Ohio
   Swanton, Ohio
   Sylvania, Ohio
   Tiffin, Ohio
   Toledo, Ohio
 
Suitable for framing
Collections, heirlooms are among items people are pulling out of trunks and displaying on walls.
Rachel Wilcox, co-owner of We'll Frame It in Maumee, with a framed basketball jersey autographed by Toledo native Jim Jackson.
( THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY )
By ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER


Move over, diplomas.
Make way for the really big pieces of personal history that are increasingly being framed - items like sporting and hobby equipment, war medals, and collections.

Even a little boy's baseball outfit from long ago.
That's what's hanging on the wall in Tom and Jane George's family room in West Toledo, a 25th wedding anniversary gift from Jane to Tom last year. It's a child-sized Cleveland Indians uniform, framed full length, tacked to acid-free paper and arranged so that Chief Wahoo grins merrily at admirers.

"I'm thinking he wore it when he was about 5," Mrs. George said.

Mr. George, now 55, grew up in Cleveland and attended games with his mother, who bought him the outfit. Eventually she packed it away in a trunk, where her son and daughter-in-law found it after she died. Mrs. George had it framed at We'll Frame It in Maumee, one of the shops in the area that creates oversized and shadow box frames for large objects, three-dimensional pieces, or a themed assortment of items. For do-it-yourselfers, shadow box frames can be found at some arts and crafts stores and mass merchandisers.

Shadow box with high school tennis awards.
( THE BLADE/DON SIMMONS )
In size, content, and emotion, such projects are much different from the standard art print or poster. "They're almost always sentimental," said Rachel Wilcox, co-owner of We'll Frame It.

"We've framed a handkerchief with watches, we're going to do a scarf with a pin, old buttons, a lot of war medals, purses, an old hat," she went on. One woman brought in a vintage wedding dress for framing.

"I believe it was her grandmother's. It was starting to deteriorate and she wanted to keep it," Ms. Wilcox said. The finished piece measured about 32 inches by 40 inches, she added.

The shop also has framed a christening gown with a list of all the babies who wore it, moon-landing memorabilia, a World War I sailor's hat with photo, and many sports jerseys.

Special handling is required, she noted, including acid-free mat and conservation glass to protect contents from damaging light rays. Framers also have to be careful about how they secure arrangements.

"Right now we're doing some Civil War [era] pieces," Ms. Wilcox said. The contents of the four-inch-deep frame will include photos, an old flag, a handgun, a small hammer, and a fork. "We don't use any adhesive on something like this," she said, explaining that such alternatives as small leather straps are used so that the items retain their value.

John Barlowe, owner of the Frame Shop Art Gallery & Gifts in Holland, said some shadow box frames are made with glass doors so that the contents are accessible - "maybe a vintage instrument that a person might want to use once in awhile," he suggested. Some pieces are framed with glass on front and back, so that both sides of an item are visible, while others are cube-shaped for full visibility of such three-dimensional items as a football or helmet.

The volume of out-of-the-ordinary framing requests at the four-month-old business has surprised Mr. Barlowe.

"When we opened we thought a large percentage would be artwork, but we're actually seeing a lot of nontraditional art. Right now we're framing a 100-year-old wedding certificate that is quite fragile," he said. "We have had several newspaper clippings about family members we have framed."

Mr. Barlowe estimated that "about 70 percent of what we have done is something other than the standard print."

Some of his suggestions for items to frame:

?Children's activities/accom- plishments: ballet slippers and a dance recital program; scout badges, scarf, and slide with a photo of the child in uniform; tickets and souvenir program from the youngster's first baseball game, etc.

?Hobbies: a collection of fisherman's lures with a photo of the big one that didn't get away; a hiker's photo from the top of a mountain with a rock picked up along the way; a tennis ball, racket, trophy, and team letter.

• Vacations: postcards, foreign currency.

• Collections: dolls, tea sets, baseball cards.

• Wedding or anniversary memorabilia: invitation, dried flowers, dinner menu.

• Family heirlooms: Jewelry, vintage clothing.

• Custom-framing a photo or print can range from "about $30 to the sky's the limit," Mr. Barlowe said. "For shadow boxing, depending on the size, it probably would start in the $100 price range and go up to typically $300 to $400."

And it's going to require more than a nail on the wall to hang it, even on a piece that uses lighter acrylic in place of glass.

"There would be some special hanging considerations," Mr. Barlowe said. Customers can buy hardware that's made to support the extra weight, or they can hire a professional to hang the work.

Mr. Barlowe thinks it's worth the expense and effort to "be able to put together some memories in a box ... Objects can tell a story."

Contact Ann Weber at: aweber@theblade.com
or 419-724-6126.



We provide custom picture framing for your photos, prints, postcards, and memorabilia. visit us for greeting cards featuring Toledo, Ohio and Bowling Green Ohio art print. We have over 5,000 fine art prints in our catalogs.
We provide professional picture framing services and unique gifts to the following areas:
Adrian, Archbold, Bedford, Blissfield, Bowling Green, Delta, Defiance, Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont, Grand Rapids, Maumee, Monroe, Napoleon, Oregon, Perrysburg, Point Place, Port Clinton, Swanton, Sylvania, Tiffin, and Toledo.

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