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News article - Framed, Saving your money, temper & your art

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by maryframer, May 1, 2009.

  1. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Say this and had to share....

    Very disturbing "article" about poor experiences with custom framers/prices.


    I don't get why Marni is being so snarky.
    To pick on any industry during difficult economic times is just not cool.

    Sounds like she has only framed at a bad shop with "pasty" (her words) framers behind the counter.

    I was going to comment but am worried I'd go off.

    I think I will comment after I cool down.
    In the mean time, maybe a level headed (and tan - actually I am a kinda pale rt now) framer can rebutt.
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  2. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Nothing like slandering an entire industry with a broad brush.

    Her research - one shop experience - I imagine.

    It would be great if a PPFA spokesperson could respond to this writer.
  3. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    About Marni-
    (from her website)

    Marni Jameson is a nationally syndicated home design columnist, and author of the best-selling The House Always Wins (DaCapo/Perseus, April 2008). Marni’s hugely popular syndicated column, “At Home With Marni Jameson,” appears in more than 30 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada reaching 7 million readers each week. Though her column is humorous as well as helpful, Marni shares her serious side in some of the nation’s most prestigious print media. A long time writer for the Los Angeles Times (more than 200 features), she also writes for other top-tier media, including Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Child, and Fit Pregnancy. She has been a guest on numerous television and radio programs around the country.

    Whether she’s writing about rescuing Romanian orphans, urging better diagnostic testing for breast cancer, living with AIDS, making better real estate decisions, getting in shape, or being a better parent, Marni hopes that through her work, others will live better, longer and help those who need help. Jameson graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism, consistently rated one of the top journalism schools in the country. She later received her master’s degree in writing from Vermont College, and taught writing at UCLA for nine years.

    She lives outside Denver, Colorado, with her husband, two daughters, two dogs and one horse.
  4. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I'm starting to think a formal retraction may need to be requested..

    "Marni’s hugely popular syndicated column, “At Home With Marni Jameson,” appears in more than 30 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada reaching 7 million readers each week."

    from her bio on http://www.marnijameson.com/
  5. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    OK, now we know where she lives......:p

    And this nugget is from her article:

    On backings. Some framers cover the back of art with thin paper to make the underside look finished. Any art on canvas needs to breathe, so the back should be open.

    That was the only funny part in the whole article!!
  6. Twin2

    Twin2 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Did you notice the notes on "Backing" and "Glass"? Yet another person continuing the notion that art on canvas has to breathe!:faintthud:

    p.s. Paul types quicker than me ;)
  7. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Wonder if she was paid to write the article by her expert friend quoted in the end of the article? Not a very up-to-date expert as he thinks canvas still needs to breath. Just another example of why we need to educate our customers, that not every thing they read is true.

    At least she admits that framing isn't as easy as it looks. Maybe astute readers will see her gross exaggeration on something that she says and realize it is only her biased viewpoint.
  8. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Good Idea.
    Why don't you forward the comments and the link on to them Jerry?
  9. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    On backings. Some framers cover the back of art with thin paper to make the underside look finished. Any art on canvas needs to breathe, so the back should be open.

    On glass. All art on paper (photography, watercolors) should go under protective glass. Art on canvas should go without.

    If the matte is archival quality, it will be bright white all through.

    Well at least she knows her stuff, he said sarcasically.
  10. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Marni Jameson isn't just an idiot, when confronted with her own ignorance, she remains an idiot and even broadcasts her moronitude to the world. I can see how her mail order university degree might have cost as much as a $250 framing job, but has she seen what real colleges like Harvard and Stanford cost today?

    And really, would she have been happier if the store clerk had looked at her watercolor and then barfed on it? Would she be more inclined to place that order or less inclined?
  11. Beveled

    Beveled SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I am truly shocked. I have no idea of who this Marni person is, but Wow! what a jerk, and how condescending can you be?

    Something has to be done here. Do we all make a mass email retort, or what? Whatever it is, I'm in!! I'm so pissed off.
  12. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    You can actually comment on the article -- there's a link on the right.
  13. Beveled

    Beveled SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was going to but I'd like to do something more direct, like contact the paper itself or the author or whoever handles her syndication.

    After all, how many people are going to read those comments online on one newspaper?
  14. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I am still p****ed off too but since she has the mic to all these newspapers we should seriously ask her to do a new article about how great we are!

    If she takes a moment to think about what she said and the fact she wants to sell her book (she was just on ABC promoting it) she will have second thots..

    It's all in the way she is approached.

    It'll make her look good (if she does it) and we won't come off as an angry lot (scaring away more peeps)
  15. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I registered and posted a comment on the site.

    It amazes me that Marni Jameson would slander an entire industry based on "several ...frame-shop experiences" and a "few bruising run-ins with the frame world". She readily admits that she lacks the skills to do it properly herself and also shows a lack of understanding of the form and function of a well designed frame package.

    This article lacks authoritative information and should be considered purely for entertainment reading due to the hyperbolic analogies she employs in her writing.

    By the way ...art on canvas does not need to breathe and a dustcover serves several functional purposes other than cosmetics. She should check with an art conservator who does know about proper preservation techniques, not an "art expert" ...whatever that is. Why would she think an artist would be more knowledgeable than a professional picture framer about proper framing techniques? Quite the contrary.
  16. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

  17. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    She can live it up for another year or so, because the news print folks are dropping like flies.

    I say, good riddance.

    One day someone will tell her how worthless she really is when the writing gig is over.

    You reap what you sow.
  18. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I forwarded this thread to PPFA. I think the newspapers who allowed this dribble to be inserted into their papers are equally liable for the content of the article.
  19. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Newpapers may be going away but Marni isn't. She into new media too.

    She has a blog - is on twitter (just started) - and was on ABC a couple weeks ago.
  20. smitten

    smitten CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    It appeared in our local paper as well and I posted Dave's comment.(I hope Dave doesn't mind, he said it better than I could have.) My wife was not too amused either and she works for the paper.
  21. Beveled

    Beveled SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Dave your comment was great.

    Here's mine:

    I was shocked to read the scathing article about picture framing written by Marni Jameson. Not only was it uninformed, and inaccurate, but it stereotyped a group of highly skilled professionals as a group of greedy, uneducated retailers.

    I think it's unfortunate that she had bad experiences at custom frame shop, however, the millions of people around the world that regularly get framing done would highly disagree.

    As to the comment about "saving your money, your temper, and your art", all very inaccurate. Custom framing is like buying fine furniture, you cannot expect to buy it at a department store or off the wall. If you do, you will surely get what you pay for. Custom Framing has very high standards, and years of research as to conservation issues. If your art is precious to you, or even valuable, a framing professional needs to be consulted to care for that art. To those who read her article, she had done a disservice to them as well as the framing industry.

    As to the accusation that a gallery or artist would know better how to frame something, again, inaccurate. Framing professionals train for years to do what they do. How would someone who has minimal experience with framing, such as an artist or gallery curator, know the proper way to frame something?

    So, Miss Jameson, when you go purchase your pre-framed art, consider what is inside. Corrugated cardboard which will warp, break down in an acidic mess, and regular glass that will fade the artwork in a matter of months. And that's just the beginning.

    Before today, I'd never heard of Marni Jameson, or read any of her musings. I have to feel an embarassment for her, as this article surely displays her lack of knowledge, and lack of research.
  22. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I think that article should be taken as a warning shot. Marni's conception is a common one because it's based on reality and the sooner we realize that, the better. Plenty of people feel the way she does and they're right. I don't know many people who'd pay $250 to frame a diploma; I wouldn't, and I'm in the business. Pasty faced or not plenty of framers are set on up-selling framing. That's clearly apparent reading posts here and it makes customers uncomfortable. At any rate, it has made Marni uncomfortable enough to write that piece.

    If we're really facing the nasty economy that seems likely, we'd all better face the fact that framing as it's currently delivered is expensive because it's inefficient and the discretionary income needed to dabble in expensive inefficiencies is going to be very limited. Better to stress bread and butter framing for material that clearly is commonplace and forget about preserving for the ages decorative art that, at most, is going to be displayed for 10 years. Nothing could be more commonplace than a diploma or a child's art. If you paid more than $120 to frame a diploma in one of my shops, you'd have to be working at it. Sometimes a frame is just a frame and any decent job will do.
  23. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    If it is my diploma that I not only paid through the nose for but also worked for, I would really want some for of UV protection on the front to keep it from fading.

    I understand cheap posters and such, but some things need better material Warren.

    I guess you buy Bias Ply tires too. There is no good reason to buy Radials.
  24. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

  25. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    That article is pretty rude. As a pasty faced clerk on the upsell, I didn't think it was very accurate.

    I hate the subjective nature of it too. What kind of price is she talking about that is practically an organ transplant? 100 bucks? 500? To some 100 is outrageous for a frame and to others, if it doesn't cost a thousand it's not worthy of their home.

    How much does she get paid to write? It's just clacking away on a computer, after all.
  26. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    That has very little value to me. Especially when it is done by someone that is clueless.
  27. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is a great opportunity for one of us (don't leave it to the PPFA) to call the newspaper in which Dufus's article appeared, and ask for equal space. Then we can write an informative and helpful article about custom framing, and show why it can be an excellent value.

    Last night I was at a networking event, and this lady who sells Silpada jewelry asked me why framing was so expensive. I was astounded by her chutzpah, but I fired right back with: why is jewelry so expensive? It's just rocks and bits of metal, and it isn't like people NEED it.

    The look of shock on her face was priceless.
  28. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think your points are both right and wrong, Warren.

    I agree that the novice uneducated framing customer experiences sticker shock the first time they walk into a shop. I've been at this a long time and sometimes I'm shocked at how expensive custom framing can be ...until I start doing all the work required to complete a job.

    ...and yes, sometimes a frame is just a frame. But sometimes it's not. To most of my customers it is not "just a frame".

    Where you are wrong is when you prejudge the value of an object or art and say it doesn't deserve individualized custom treatment which by it's very nature is inefficient and therefore expensive. That is not for us to decide but for our customers to decide.

    Where do you put the limits on efficiency? Why not mat everything to go into standard size frames and limit the number of mouldings offered to 25 and the matting selection to 20 colors. One type of glass offering would be more efficient too. After all, "a frame is just a frame". Heck, if I did all that I could kick out diploma frames for less than $ 25 a pop. That isn't true custom framing though, is it? Not in my book.
  29. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Well said Beveled.

    Warren I think you have some truth in your comment.

    However, I too can frame a diploma for decently $120 (and do), but I won't start there or promote shop examples of that frame level. As Vivian says - don't sell your customer short. I read my client and show them high and low end.

    Another point is-
    Marni is writing out of CA and CO. The cost of living there is higher than NC.
  30. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Let's see...Four years of Stanford is about $150,000 in tuition. Plus four years of your life, and a lot of hard work. In exchange, they hand you a piece of paper. Warren wouldn't charge more than $120 for that $150,000 piece of paper.

    Now, let's say you go to an auction at Sotheby's, and you purchase an original sketch by Paul Cezanne for $150,000. Would you spend more than $120 to frame that piece of paper?
  31. maryframer

    maryframer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

  32. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Beveled...good comments. I was glad to see that a regular framing consumer posted an admonishment too. Hopefully there will be more to follow.
  33. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ugh. I went on a little web crawl and found that her former articles for the LA Times are archived. Here is the document summary for a 2000 article called The Right Frame of Mind:

    Then there's the cost. The framer adds antique frame plus double silk reverse bevel mat plus archival mounting plus conservation UV glass, and ka-ching, you're the one framed.

    An old etching calls out for an old-style frame. An Andy Warhol picture wants a contemporary frame or a plexiglass box. The Mona Lisa looks most at home in an ornate gold frame and would look terrible framed in metal. Another faux pas would be putting a painting of a Spanish dancer in a French rococo frame.

    If the art dictates the frame, the art and frame dictate the mat. Though most art needs a mat, some--paintings in particular--may only need a handsome gold or wood frame. But any art that is going under glass looks best set off with a mat.

    I kinda want to read it, but I can't pay for it. It's a whole $3.95. What does she want, my liver?
  34. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    My response

    I emailed her the following and copied Elaine Truman at the PPFA, Kristin Steffek Brashares at DECOR and Marni's agent/media contact. At the bottom of her article is a link to her website with contact information at the bottom of the page.

    Hello Ms. Jameson,

    I just read your article (http://tinyurl.com/cq9yta) after seeing it mentioned in an online forum for framers. I'm sorry to hear that you have had some bad experiences with custom framing, but I fear that you have unfairly painted an entire industry with a rather broad brush. The great majority of professional framers I have ever met and taught are concerned first and foremost with protecting the customer's artwork and presenting it in an attractive manner, not gouging customers. As you have learned from your firsthand experience, the care of artwork is not always as easy as it appears, and for most people the professional results, not to mention the hassles avoided, are well worth the money spent.

    Believe it or not, we framers also feel your pain when it comes to price. We hear every day that the frame costs more than the artwork. Often that is true, but the same features can protect and attractively present a five-dollar poster or a five thousand dollar original work of art. As they say sometimes, the frame doesn't care what's in it. However, a college diploma is one piece of paper that I'm sure always costs more than the frame. Considering what an average degree costs and the years of work it represents, a nice frame is a very small investment.

    I realize we all have our opinions; however I take offense at your characterizations of framers as "pasty" and your implication that we are somehow dishonest when complimenting the customer's artwork. If you were framing your daughter's crayon drawing of mouse turds, would you be likely to make a purchase if we insulted it? I believe it's safe to say most people would not.

    As to the opinions of your friend Mr. LaPedis, he is entirely correct about hanging and lighting, although those two factors are entirely out of the hands of most framers. We generally have no control over the artwork once it leaves our shop. As to whether or not paintings must have liners (mats are not used on paintings on canvas) that is certainly a matter of taste and design. Personally I prefer fabric liners but that is simply one choice of many.

    Contrary to the opinions of Mr. LaPedis, there is much benefit to be gained from using a rigid backing and a dust cover on paintings on canvas. A rigid backing will prevent punctures, tears, dents and other damage to the canvas and in combination with a dust cover will prevent insect infestation and the accumulation of harmful dust on a canvas. There are similar benefits to be gained by using properly-spaced glazing on works of art on canvas. If you are interested I would be happy to send you ordering information for the CCI (Canadian Conservation Institute) notes for framing works of art on canvas. I am also part of a committee revising the PPFA (Professional Picture Framers Association) guidelines for works on canvas, and would be happy to provide you and Mr. LaPedis with a copy once the work is done. In the meantime I can also send you copies of articles written by Hugh Phibbs, a well-respected industry educator and the person who has overall control of framing for the National Gallery of Art.

    Thank you for your efforts to bring custom framing to the attention of more consumers. In the future, I'm sure that any number of representatives and members of the PPFA, including myself, would be happy to provide input and answer any questions you or your readers might have about the subject.
  35. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I should reply to her when I am in a really pi$$y mood.

    And that comment about the "pasty" clerk?? Well, excuse me, but not all of us are able to have cushy jobs like her and get a nice tan as we type smeary drivel by the poolside.

    But I do think her diploma deserves a very cheap frame. Why preserve it after all??

    I nominate Bill Henry to write a really caustic but professional reply.....:p
  36. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If she was to print not only a retraction, and apology to the industry, a post of such here on the Grumble, and series of nice truly informed articles about why to protect your $500,000 medical diploma.....
    Then I would be happy to entertain framing her diploma for $125. I'll even throw in Conservation Clear or possibly Museum glass. In fact I have some interesting ideas already for a Writing Degree.... and I'm not talking the chintzy black frame her husband got.

    Call me dear, let's talk. :D
  37. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hey,I work at NIGHT....Would that make me "pasty"? Just askin.....L:)eek:Whoa,turn down that light!)
  38. The Wavy Framer

    The Wavy Framer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank You, FramerDave. Well said!!!
  39. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    To the gallows I say.
  40. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So she recycles this every so-many years?
  41. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have two hard won degrees from very good southern universities and I value my degrees but the diploma has always been only a piece of paper, the underlying knowledge is important, not the diploma. As a matter of fact, both of my degrees have been on scholarship and I've paid back my undergraduate degree. A diploma is a piece of paper and is easily replaceable from the alumni office. In itself, it means nothing. Most of the people who bring diplomas to us want to frame them as bread and butter, say, at most $100. Why make them feel uncomfortable by suggesting a $250 treatment? I know what a diploma is worth; I worked for the degree it represents.
  42. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    Send them to WalMart Warren.

    They can pick up something there for around $19.95

    If it truly is just a piece of paper.

    I guess the same could be said for some old photograph.

    It's the memory that really means something. Not some piece of paper with emulsion on it.
  43. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Well, Jerry, Toni just suggested you go into scrapbooking. You already have that huge loss on moulding purchases that suggest that framing may not be the best avenue for you. I could lose a diploma and think nothing of it. Toni doesn't have either one of her's framed. You can make a big deal over a diploma and the recipient knows exactly what it's worth. It reflects the degree it represents and only that.
  44. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just want to know which college she went to so I can get my daughter transferred. Right now, tuition is killing me.
  45. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Tuition, shmoition. We've seen that gorgeous wife of your.. we know whats really killing you Paul. . . :D

    A degree is exactly what you want to make of it. I get a kick out of the diplomas on my doctor's office wall.... 2 obedience schools, and 1 for finishing a 250 mile run...... with a heart and stamina like that I know she will see me well past my octogenarian diaper stage. But they all are done in a nice cherry frame 38-078C with a pongee silk mat and gold fillet. Her bitch just got a grand champion so I know there is one more to come..... plus the ironman this summer..... :thumbsup:
  46. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    True, Baer, but she's worth it. The fact she can put up with me makes her a bargain. :)
  47. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have been doing this for over 20 years smartass!

    Do you want to compare profit percentages?

    I bet that I blow yours out of the water.

    True that your volume is higher, but do you really want to compare?

    49.6 cents of every dollar that came in my door in 2008 went in my pocket.

    I realize that I am just stupid, but I pocketed over 100k last year working alone.

    I raised my poster frame special price 6 months ago because I was cheaper than you.

    You brag about how cheap your retail prices are, but they are really?

    Anyone can sell plain glass, regular foamboard and paper quality mat cheaply.

    I have a frame special going right now that I can frame a diploma for $54.95. I do them every day. And for $10 more I engrave the school name on the bottom frame rail.

    But again, that is selling cheap stuff cheap.
  48. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    With all due respect, one cannot use that as a rule, Warren.

    To some, a diploma is something very important and more than just a piece of paper. As a matter of fact, a customer spent $800 just on the restoration of the diploma for her husband (she could have gotten a copy but the original signees were dead along with their original signatures).

    And of course $300 to frame it, on top of that.

    I even framed a high school diploma for a young lady recently and the $180 price tag was just fine.

    On the other had, that diploma for that article lady is certainly just a piece of paper.
  49. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That was a very well written response, Dave.

    But, are we all so myopic that we didn’t see the humor in the piece? When I read it I chuckled. Ms. Jameson obviously wrote it tongue-in-cheek. We would all have thought it funny if she wrote about a home improvement designer.

    Last week I wrote about our experience with a “New Age” acupuncture treatment for our dog. On the surface, it seems absurd. I was poking fun at the process, not disparaging the results.

    My suggestion would be to let it go and let it die a quiet death. By expressing our outrage in print, it simply focuses attention on what many people already perceive as being an outrageously expensive product.
  50. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    While I was writing my response, I received an e-mail from my Larson-Juhl representative mentioning that there will be a favorable article on CBS News Sunday Morning on the importance of custom picture framing.

    With luck that will receive a wider audience than Ms. Jameson and go some way further to bolster our industry.
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