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Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by FramerDave, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    During some of the recent, rather spirited (to put it politely) discussions about the PPFA, the subject of certification was brought into the discussion, although tangentially. From some of the comments there and in the past, it seems obvious that there are quite a few questions about certification, and some misconceptions.

    I'd like to use this thread as an opportunity to answer any questions I can, as a member of the PPFA Certification Board. Our own Ellen Collins (the dear Bossy Ellen) is also a Grumbler, so you have 2/3 of the Certification Board on the Grumble. Between us we should be able to help or at least find answers for you.

    So just to get things rolling:

    The PPFA sponsors the Certified Picture Framer designation. To be eligible a framer has to have at least one year of hands-on experience in retail or wholesale picture framing. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions; the candidate has 3 1/2 hours to complete the exam.

    The questions lean heavily toward preservation framing and also include math, materials and procedures, care and handling of art, etc. There is no hands-on component.

    A successful framer who earns the CPF must keep it current by taking a recertification course every four years. This helps assure that the CPF is kept abreast of new knowledge.

    A CPF who is in good standing, taken at least one recertification course and has at least five years experience in framing may become a MCPF, Master Certified Picture Framer. The exam consists of two parts: submitted frames and a practicum.

    The candidate frames four pieces of artwork in advance, either his/her own or artwork supplied by the PPFA. All four are to be framed with the best preservation methods in mind. They are a work of art on paper, a needlework or textile, a canvas (to be stretched, not a canvas panel) and an object. During the exam they are taken apart by two examiners, examined and scored according to PPFA guidelines for preservation framing. Preservation and workmanship are the only considerations.

    While the examiners are doing their work, the candidate has 90 minutes to frame a piece of artwork (again, paper, canvas, needlework/textile or object) chosen at random. This is then turned over for examination and scoring.

    Almost forgot: Each of the four submitted pieces must have at least one advanced element used. Examples include French matting, fabric wrapped mats, fillets, stacked moulding, hand-finished moulding, etc. The candidates should use good design sense, but they will not be scored on design or aesthetics. This is not the framing competition.

    An MCPF is required to take the recertification class every four years and also three or more continuing education classes within those four years. That's why you'll see the MCPF logo or a CE next to some of the classes listed.

    For either the MCPF or CPF it is not required that the exam be taken again, unless it lapses completely. Then you get to start over.

    Ok, let the questions fly, but please keep it civil. I'm trying to help here.
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. Julie Walsh

    Julie Walsh MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Thank You !
  3. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Is there a study guide for the MCPF like the one for the CPF? As it is, I'm scared spitless to have a panel of experts take apart my work and examine it with a fine-tooth comb, I'd at least like to know what it is you're looking for... particularly when it comes to practices for which there is some controversy (e.g. dust covers on canvases).
  4. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, no study guide. The way I look at it is that it's like working on a Master's or Doctorate. A lot of the learning comes from your own research and finding answers.

    Having said that, a lot of the recommended CPF study material, in particular the PPFA Guidelines, are great resources. In fact, two of the three latest Guidelines (canvas and the upcoming textiles and needlework) have the MCPF logo next to sections you'd want to pay particularly close attention to when preparing. The paper Guidelines doesn't have it simply because we didn't think of it. It will probably be added in later editions.
  5. DarthFramer

    DarthFramer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Thank You!

    Great outline of the expectations!
  6. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I hope this isn't too off-topic, but there are two misunderstandings I've heard about certification that some people need to understand ...

    First, you do not have to be a member of PPFA to take the CPF exam. However, the cost of the exam is less if you are a member.

    Second, you don't HAVE to get certified to be a PPFA member. Some people are under the misconception that members must take the exam. They do not have to.

    Thanks for letting me get those out there!
  7. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    That is correct, Cliff. Membership has its priveleges, but it's not required.

    You know, if you're not a PPFA member and are contemplating certification, the savings would more than offset a $50 trial membership.

    By the way, if there are any questions about the GCF (Guild Commended Framer) offered through the Fine Art Trade Guild (FATG) I'll answer those to the best of my ability.
  8. NEframateur

    NEframateur True Grumbler

    Thanks for the thread, FramerDave!

    I live out in the boonies as far as framing is concerned (not even sure which PPFA chapter we would officially be covered under, if I could convince the store owner to join up...Heartland maybe?). It has been a goal of mine for awhile now to at least attempt the CPF exam (have all the study materials and even read most of them), but not sure when/how testing will be offered this year, preferrably close to where I am located. Regrettably, unless things change, I will be unable to fly to Vegas for the show in January. Also, it seems like the CPF exam schedule online is showing only last year's dates...

    Is it possible to take the CPF exam at a testing facility like Sylvan or the state college's testing center? If so, how would one go about scheduling that?

    Thanks for all your help in this regard.
  9. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Lost my Ball

    As much as it would make me feel good knowing that I have passed the test, the satisfaction would likely wear off quickly. I went to a Larson-Juhl framing class when I first got started more than fifteen years ago. I bought all of the suggested reading, read all the books and dove in. I was a PPFA member, but never got tested. There are a lot of fuzzy rights and wrongs out there, with not much long term historical documentation to suggest that some of the don’t s are any worse than the do’s. I’m talking about today’s materials.

    It is suggested that you read up and get some real world experience before you get tested, but once you have that knowledge, why bother getting tested? It is kind of what happened to me. If you want to prove to yourself that you know what you are doing according to the “experts”, then testing, or being certified seems like the right thing to do. But who is going to care except Less? I have never said don’t go to the framer down the street because she is not a CPF. I have never in all of my years ever been asked if I was certified. I have been called certified plenty of times. None of my venders seems to care if I am a CPF. No discounts for that. If I wanted a job as a framer, would being a CPF be required? Do CPFs make more money? Less is not being a wise guy. These are questions I have asked Less many times.

    I work alone, so I would only be satisfying myself. I think the only time the certification could be of real value is if you had a large operation and you wanted to make sure that your framers knew what they were doing without having to train them yourself. Yeah right. My wife told me a story today about four college grads working in her lab. She had to teach the brightest tech how to make a one-tenth solution after they put three parts in.

    I will ask, how often and how much of the testing material is updated for the ever changing materials thrown at us every day? I bet my books have never been revised.

    Maybe one of these days Less will get tested for fun, but until the public sees value, Less won’t see much value. Are there questions on how to survive as a small business?

    Thanks for the guidelines They are helpful.

    Why should I get tested?

    Just rambling with my UnSeal on my cheap linoleum floor.
  10. KaraK

    KaraK CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    As you know, you answered your own question. You shouldn't take the test and no one is going to convince you otherwise, so I hope they don't try because then this will just turn into the PPFA thread. Ick.

    Like many things, certification is not for everyone. And that's ok!

    I plan on getting certified, because I am a nerd and I like that sort of thing. Will it bring me more business? Dunno. Not everything I do is to increase business.

    Great idea about Sylvan testing centers. I would sign up for sure if that was an option.
  11. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    From the PPFA website, you should be able to access the latest edition of FMO which lists the upcoming test dates and locations.

    There is also an option to take the test online.

    Or, you can email PPFA for the most up to date testing information.
  12. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Go here:


    and it will tell you how to contact someone about online or proctored exams.

    As I recall, there are fees for having a testing center like Sylvan proctor the exam, but it is an option.
  13. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    It certainly is. You would need to find someone who is willing to be a proctor for your exam. It needs to be a disinterested third party, so that rules out your mom, friends, employers, etc. It could be someone from a local library or school ot testing center.

    When you register for the exam you provide the PPFA with the proctor's information, and all of the login information and so on for the exam.

    This way you'll be taking the exam online, so it can be done at any time. An added bonus is that you find out right away after the exam how you did. Instant gratification!

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    why no hands on?
  15. NEframateur

    NEframateur True Grumbler

    Thanks for your help, wv, Cliff, and Dave!

    I guess I didn't dig quite deep enough, as I tried to look up the schedule through PMAI's webiste, rather than PPFA's subsection....and all I could find was http://www.pmai.org/content.aspx?id=15896 (which should probably be updated for the reasons mentioned prior...mainly it being out of date, and not a reflection of PPFA's linked calendar of testing which Cliff provided).

    I shall try to begin the process on my end as soon as I have a bit more free time.
  16. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What if we are horrible at taking tests?? ............ :shrug:

    What if we fail??...... do you have to pay the full amount again to take it the 2nd time.......
  17. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    It sounds like it wouldn't benefit Less, and nobody is going to twist your arm.

    Every test is a learning experience. It's unrealistic to expect that any framer, no matter how long he or she has been framing, knows everything. Sometimes the information we have is outdated, and would never be questioned otherwise. The way I look at it is that the whole point isn't really to take a test and pass it (although passing would be great) but to take a critical look at what we think we know and be willing to change for the better. The continuing education requirement for both the CPF and MCPF help set us on that path and keep us current.

    And no, customers really don't know about certification. That's not due to any failing by the PPFA, it's just the fact that only a small percentage of the public even purchases custom framing. However, that certificate or business card with the letters after your name can spur conversation with customers and create an opportunity to tell your customer about it.

    As Cliff mentioned in another thread, he's been able to market the heck out of his MCPF designation and it has won him a lot of credibility with customers.

    The CPF exam was reviewed and extensively revised two years ago. The certification board is currently going through the exam and making sure that it matches up with the current PPFA guidelines. As we go along, anything that's found to be out of date will be revised, and I'm sure we'll be adding in some new questions to bring it up to date with the recently completed guidelines such as those for canvas and textiles/needlework.

    We recently finished reviewing the MCPF exam score sheets to do the same.

    I don't know what books you have so I can't say anything to that. The PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper were revised and published about early '09, Canvas came out early last year and the new Textiles and Needlework will be out very late this year or early next year.
  18. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    The CPF exam fee is $225 for PPFA members, $325 for non-members.

    The retake fee for the CPF exam is $150.
  19. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    HOLY........ $325??
    Why is it so much? ..... and then you have to buy all the material to study for it too...... Plus TRAVEL to take it?
    How are your costs re~couped?

    I'm sorry.... I'm not trying to say its not a good thing for the test....
    I just cant see how that price is justified. Thats insane.
  20. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    For the CPF? I don't think it was ever meant to have a hands-on component.

    The MCPF is very much hands-on.
  21. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Think Positively

    Blackiris, think postively!

    It is not an easy test. There is a heavy emphasis on preservation by design. It is a test designed by test professionals. Really taking the time to study the materials and taking the practice test improves the odds of passing significantly. I would not have passed it without studying.

    On the other hand, you just have to pass it. You don't have to ace it.

    I had to look it up. It is less for retakes. The most recent study guide puts it at $150.

    Here it the link:

    It is about halfway down the page under "Study guide and registration form." Worth a look.
  22. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    OH I'm positive......
    Positive that there's no way I'm going to get my $$$ worth out of taking the test I MIGHT or MIGHT NOT PASS and my customers dont care about anyway.

    Thanks guys for answering my questions..... but I've made my decision.
    Good luck everyone!
  23. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Blackiris, Read the books anyway. I was amazed at what I learned. Way more important than the test.
  24. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Can you give us any insight into who writes the tests and how they determine what should be included in the test? How often are the test and the recommended study guides updated?
  25. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Educational Testing Service, ETS, the same folks who created and administer the GRE, PRAXIS and other academic tests.

    It is updated regularly, and there are variations, just as there are with other tests. Your neighbor in the testing room will probably be looking at a different test. It is under continuous review by the certification committee.

    There is more detail in the CPF Study guide and here is some information about ETS:


    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Why did they decide to charge to find out about the purpose, content, preperation, benefits and the testing process of the CPF exam?
  27. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    The Certification Board reviews the CPF exam, rewriting, revising, adding or delting questions as needed to keep up with current framing practices. It was last revised two years ago, and we're in the process of reviewing all of the questions to make sure they match up with current guidelines.

    The PPFA Glossary of Standard Terms was was revised and published in 2007.

    PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper was last revised and published in 2009. It had previously been revised in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2003.

    PPFA Guidelines for Framing Paintings on Canvas was last revised and published in 2010. First published in 1987, it was previously revised in 2000 and 2003.

    The upcoming guidelines for textiles and needlework was created over the last year and will be published late this year or very early in 2011. This one was an entirely new work; part of the impetus for it was the loss of Vivian Kistler and Columba Publishing. Until the guidelines were written her book was pretty much the standard reference, and we knew that there was a very good chance that it wouldn't be available much longer.

    Some of the other references such as Chris Paschke's and Jim Miller's books, were either revised or written in just the past few years.

    All of the PPFA guidelines are purely volunteer efforts. I'd also like to point out that it's not just a few framers sitting around arbitrarily deciding what is and isn't good. There is an awful lot of research, discussion and back-and-forth that goes into them. They're also reviewed by others before publication. Some of the people who have given their input include:

    Hugh Phibbs
    Quentin Webster
    Vivian Kistler
    Chris Paschke
    Paul Storch
    Craig Sterling
    Don Berkman
    Greg Fremstad

    ...and others.

    Almost forgot, the Certification Board just finished reviewing the score sheets for the MCPF exam to make sure they reflect the new guidelines.
  28. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank you!
  29. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    As to whether it is monetarily beneficial....

    We recently started a radio ad campaign. One of the rotating ads is about my MCPF status (Only 60 in the world, I am one of two in Maryland...) which the guy who spins the records actually reads (as opposed to recorded and played) raves extemoraneously about "Imagine here in Hagerstown we have a Master....")

    Ads have been running a week. Today customer brings in her heirloom needlework and $400, and why? The ad.

    It's what you make of it....
  30. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Gumby, there are other ways to get this information, mostly from the study guide. This was a webinar, one of several, and the charge basically paid for the production of the webinar.

    David can probably address this more directly, I didn't see it. But these are the same subjects covered in the CPF prep course taught at national conventions and chapters when there is demand.

    I would like to point out that particularly in the case of webinars, the cost of producing them is born by the folks using them as opposed to the entire membership. Same as with books. This is pretty typical for the other groups I belong to.

    This keeps dues low and allows the association to experiment with new methods of course delivery. Kind of like On Demand TV.
  31. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    A tick test? If so could that mean that someone could JUUUUUUUST pass after taking a stab at quite a few of the questions?

    There a several GCFs in the US, are there any CPFs/MCPFs this side of the pond?
  32. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    In theory, I suppose so. In theory a room of 99 monkeys pounding away on typewriters for 99 years could produce Hamlet. Possible, but not likely. The chances of anyone passing the exam by guessing are pretty slim.

    In case anyone has the idea that the CPF exam is a piece of cake that can be passed by randomly filling in bubbles, you might want to know that the CPF exam historically has a roughly 60% passing rate.

    Over in the UK and Europe, I'm not sure. There are at least four MCPFs that I know of in Australia, and one of them, Jared Davis, is also a GCF.

    Pretty much, yes. And frankly I'm sure part of it is to try and make a little money, and we should not begrudge the PPFA that. For the PPFA to exist and do the things it needs to do and what the members (and non-members) want it needs money. There are only so many revenue streams.

    And to clarify, the webinar mentioned is the Intro to the CPF Exam. There is also a CPF prep class, developed and taught by Shirley Damron, and also taught by Kerry Wilson I believe. The two are very different.
  33. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You made me laugh, thanks Nic.

    Keep the baby pics coming on facebook, you make me laugh and she lakes me smile!!!

    Sorry for the frankenthread,

    I personally never thought there was much value to getting certified for anyone that knows what they are doing, but this thread is a great idea to help along others that want to go for it.

    It clearly informs as to what to expect and how much.

  34. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    A couple of thoughts-

    1. This is a "body of knowledge" that our trade association feels is important enough to award a credential to those who demonstrate an understanding of this knowledge. It is a benchmark. And to maintain the benchmark, one has to be recertified by taking a class that covers the current state of the art.

    2. There are many framers who are in business who think they know what they are doing - but may not really "know." I see incorrect information on framing websites all the time, especially when it comes to preservation framing and the effects of UV light, and the tern, "acid free".

    3. What we knew and practiced 20-30 years ago may very well work today, but does the process and materials used provide the best protection for the art? There are many ways to "frame" and from the customer's perspective, they may all look the same - but what's going on inside of the frame? Haven't we all taken apart someone else's work and been surprised at what we found? Didn't the person originally doing the work think that he/she knew what they were doing?

    Passing the CPF test at least demonstrates an understanding of this body of knowledge.
  35. braggingrites

    braggingrites Grumbler

    Certification study materials

    I work by myself so I'm not able to learn from other picture framers (other than you all on the Grumble! The study materials for the certification add up to $209 (member) or $260 (non-member). Is there someplace that I can find used copies of the materials? Is there a course I can take?

    About 18 years ago I took a course at Larson Juhl and they gave us a Picture Framers manual (big binder). This the information in this manual the same as what the PPFA offers?
  36. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know the San Diego PPFA Chapter has an entire set that is a part of a lending library for chapter members- there may also be other chapters who have sets that would loan you books. You may want to contact the national office who will either know or query the other chapters to see who else has a set. You may also want to ask if the national office has a lending library (or would be willing to start one) - where books could be checked out by mail.

    Once you have the list of suggested reading, you can post a query on the Grumble and on the PPFA Exchange for fellow framers that have copies of specific books that they would be willing to sell or loan.

    The CPF study class is often part of the PPFA Convention Education Syllabus. I don't know if it is being offered in January.
  37. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

  38. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    braggingrites, I worked alone for many years and remember it well.

    There was a thread in the commercial section a couple of weeks ago selling most of the books at good prices, but I think those sold. You might do a search. You can search sites like ABE Books or Amazon for used books.

    But the best option is to borrow them from your chapter library. Every chapter should have a library, and the most you should pay is postage back and forth (at book rate!). Sometimes chapters may not have the most recent editions, and then it is usually just a matter of asking them to order them.

    Rob mentioned that perhaps PPFA would start a library from the national office. I don't know if such a thing exists, but it is a great idea, and worth asking about. I'm sure we could raise enough contributions from members to pay for getting it started if it isn't in the budget. Administering it might be a sticking point since staffing is in short supply.

    Our chapter library is not used very much. We don't have new members often, and most of the active members are CPF's already or in a position to order new editions as they come out. We are ahem a mature group.

    They should also be fully deductible (check with your CPA or tax preparer). This, of course is irrelevant if you are not yet making a profit.

    And of course, Rob is absolutely right, the very BEST thing you can do is get to Vegas in Jan 2012. This is an unusually good time to go since it is concurrent with the WCAF show. You can probably take a test prep course as well as get started on the recommended courses. (If you go, make sure to get in Rob's tradeshow floor class).

    I would be really surprised if a post on TG didn't generate offers to sell you used books cheap or loan them to you. Most framers I know genuinely like to help.

    And don't forget to apply for the Thomas McKeon scholarship! This not only pays for the test but a complete library of materials.

    PS I have the LJ manual you mention, and while it is a useful tool, it is now pretty dated and does not have much information on preservation, which is a big part of the exam. I may not be explaining this well, but it is a practical manual, and the test is more theoretical.
  39. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Probably not, because the exam has never been associated with any brands or suppliers. It could be possible that Larson-Juhl was promoting the CPF exam those many years ago, and gathered the information from PPFA.
  40. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    No one has ever really answered this one yet. Combined with the fact that everything is fruited from volunteer efforts, why is it so expensive?

    What % of money coming into the PPFA is from testing?
  41. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I think our local (New England) chapter as a few full sets in its library. These are available on loan for free to chapter members. We bought a set of the books, and donated them to the chapter library after Andy was certified.

    We changed several small things in our shop, and even threw out some materials that were previously used, as a direct result of this education. Andy was framing about 15 years, and we thought we were already doing right by our customers. Now we know that we are framing to today's minimum standards. (or at least educating the customer of their options, and the reasons)

    As far as the cost, we consider it education and a basic cost of doing business. It gives the consumer confidence that we know (and will offer) the latest techniques. There are new customers that come in that door almost every week, as a direct result of PPFA and this program. It pays for itself time and time again, in my personal opinion.

    Mike (I'm not a CPF, but see the value in it)
  42. Miranda Smith

    Miranda Smith CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I took the CPF for several reasons.

    I set myself a time goal to sit the exam. This forced me to make time to read all the books. By reading the full set, it made me learn about some framing areas that were out of my framing comfort zone - but are good knowledge to have "just in case" (and this has happened to me). Eg animation cels.

    Once I passed the exam, others at my workplace got interested and now they are reading the books. They may or may not sit the exam but even if they do not, they will learn something. I have offered incentives to encourage them to sit the exam.

    Even if you do not agree with or practise everything you learn, it is always good to look at things a different way (isint that the way with a lot of framing?).

    I sat the exam online. You can do this by arranging a public librarian or a School Principal to proctor the exam. I found this easy to arrange. There was no cost involved to do this. And the best thing?... you get your result instantly!! no waiting for the paper to be marked etc.

    As to the cost - I could go several ways. One thing is - there is always a cost to educate yourself. Not many other things are directly related to framing. I can easily spend $500 in one day to attend a whole variety of courses that will not financially benifit my business to the same extent that the CPF exam would. (not that I would spend that much in one day but lots and lots of people do).
    The exam is based on your experience - just reading the books will NOT cover every question in the exam. You do need real life framing knowledge.
    I can honestly say that it is a professional exam and if you think you know it all, then you can sit back and enjoy the high mark you get in the exam. But I bet most people come out of the exam thinking about some of the questions.

    Has it helped my business?.. I do not blatently tell people I have the certification. But it gives me satifaction that I knew more than I thought I did and this gives me confidence when tricky framing jobs (as so many of them are now) come to me.

    I quietly hang my "beautifully framed" certificate in the gallery and I notice clients reading it. I have had serveral people come in andask for me specifically.They tell me a friend told them I was a CPF and therefore must know my job so they chose me as a result. This alone has directly resulted in getting jobs (and has paid the exam fee over and over).
  43. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Each PPFA chapter is supposed to have a full set of the current recommended study materials available for loan to its chapter members.

    It's Sunday morning so I can't check right now, but I believe that as new PPFA guidelines are published, they are automatically sent to the chapter. Also I believe there is a full set up in Jackson for those members in the "mailbox" chapter.

    Let me check Monday and I'll let you know for sure.
  44. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    In Australia there are six MCPF framers and there is one in New Zealand.
    There are a number of GCF framers, but I don't know how many.

    Participation in certification is a personal choice. Some choose to participate because they want to learn. Some want a point of difference and they promote their certification to the community.

    Personally I think the list of books that are recommended for study are an excellent resource for any framing business whether they wish to become certified or not. Expensive? I don't think so! How much does it cost to fill your tank with gas? How long does that last???

    I don't think certification is expensive either. If were less expensive it would devalue it's worth. In fact, I think it should cost more!

    It was quite expensive to travel from Australia to Las Vegas to take the MCPF exam. Worth it? Yep!
  45. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Here's another question....

    The test questions.......... are they about EVERYDAY FRAMING....
    or just specifically MUESUM grade framing?

    A framer who has 15 or 20 years experience and great word of mouth advertising.......

    or a framer that is CPF and still a framing virgin and just starting out...........
    Which one do you think the customer is going to go to???
    Does the customer even care? I've never in my LIFE had one ask me about CPF.
  46. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The study Guide, which can be downloaded from the certification page on the PPFA website has some sample questions.

    If all customers used common sense they would seek out the framer in their community who had the best knowledge and skill.
    The fact that BB stores in your country are very successful, proves that many framing customers, not only don't have any common sense, but they are dumb as dog droppings! Many of them may not have enough sense to recognise that you are their best option!

    Longevity in framing is not always the best way to choose a framer. Some framers have 30 years experience and some might have 1 years experience, 30 times. (Thanks Jared!)
  47. stcstc

    stcstc SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    blackiris i agree, i know of some framers without the qualifications that i would say are some of the most knowledgeable i know

    osgood, i disagree that comsumers are dumb or have no common sense. it is a very strong statement to make, that i think your customers and potientail customers would be more than a little happy with

    i think this industry makes a big fuss about longevity framing, but i would say the vast majority of the consumers dont want or even need it. i think the vast majority of framing projects are more wall decor than irraplacable family objects.

    for example i print a huge amount of images for clients and frame. BUT

    you know what they are all digital images which hey if they fail, print it out again!!!!

    i was talking to the md of a very large picture framing supplies company a couple of weeks ago, he told me only about 10-20% of his sales are materials for presevation framing. and 80% are products for wall decor type framing etc. this supplier would have a massive turnover in 4 or 5 countries too.
  48. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't know that anyone ever said that certified framers are the only framers who are the most knowledgeable!

    You may not have noticed that I said "proves that many framing customers,"
    "many" does not mean "all". This was in reference to the fact that "many" consumers are deceived so easily by BB stores (in USA) into thinking that 50%, 60%, 70% off is genuine! We know by the recent ruling in NY that it is not always genuine!

    Many people in our industry "make a fuss" about longevity of framing because in many cases that's exactly what customers expect, even though they may not always say so!
    There is a perception among many consumers that if they frame something precious to them that it will be preserved. They sometimes assume that any frame will preserve that item.

    Not every item requires 'longevity', but framers would be wise to be able to 'offer' it to their customers, where necessary!
    In order to be able to offer it, framers need to be educated and there are many ways they can become educated. Certification is one of those ways!

    The stats from your suppler are interesting and it would be good to see stats from other suppliers, especially in US. It's also interesting to note that quite a number of Grumblers say that UV glass is their regular type of glazing.
    Whatever the stats from suppliers are, it indicates that preservation is a regular part of framing for many framers!
  49. stcstc

    stcstc SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    actually, no i think it implies the opposite. that high end framing is in the minority

    the same MD, told me talking about the FATG that he felt it had been positioned wrongly, ie way to much focus on the preservation stuff and not enough on what the majority of framers do day to day

    an interesting exercise; how many jobs do you have on your books that are not full preservation jobs.

    I dont really do many, i do use a small amount of True vue conservation clear and claryl but compared to standard float maybe 5%, mind i have positioned my business for this type of work, i dont do general framing, i specialise in photography stuff

    what kind of percentage would yours be?
  50. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I just checked our POS and ran a report from 1/1/11-yesterday. Results are:

    80.41% used glazing, 18.59% did not (oil paintings, repair jobs, etc)

    Of the ones that did have glazing:
    82% Conservation Clear (default)
    09% Premium Clear (non protective, which was mostly corporate bids/temporary art)
    08% Museum Glass (I expected this to be higher!)
    <1% All others, including acrylic CC.

    Like the big boxes in USA (Michaels, Jo-Anns, Aaron Brothers, A C Moore, etc), CC has been our default for the past 9 years. (although I think M's uses MG as their default now? I also believe they use float glass for the imported ready-mades?) We don't consider CC to be a "high end" product, but as a minimum/starting point. We offer it as "sun screen for the art", with the hopes that it will reduce future disappointment and liability issues.

    Practices seem to vary/change greatly depending on the area (within USA and also by country). I'm not saying our way is the only or best way, I'm just saying that it varies depending on what the market demands. This is how our local competitors operate, too.

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