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PPFA, CPF, and Modern Standards

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Jim Miller, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This was posted on another thread:

    The CPF exam is updated on a regular schedule by the PPFA Certification Board. About five years ago it was completely rewritten, and I believe it was most recently revised last year.

    Anyone who believes the PPFA certification programs should be handled differently may wish to contact Heather Kelso at the PPFA headquarters in Jackson, Michigan. The association welcomes volunteers to help update and revise the CPF and MCPF exams.
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Who are the members of the PPFA Certification Board by the way??
  3. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Joyce Michels, MCPF, Chair
    Don Berkman, MCPF
    Linda Wassell, MCPF (Linda will be leaving for the Competition Board soon)
  4. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Thanks Dave.
  5. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wow, it's cool when the dogs and cats can get along so well together. How about the rest of us?!!!
  6. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    It's updated and harder than one might expect.
  7. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I called Heather today and got a bit more detail, FYI:

    1. The PPFA Certification Board members may be appointed to no more than two 3-year terms.

    2. The CPF Exam undergoes review and revision every three years. It was last updated in 2008.
  8. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    I only ask because I truly don't know this, but I have heard that all the members on the PPFA board don't have storefronts? That they are all framing from thier garage/houses? Is this true or not?
  9. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    What difference would it make? I don't have a storefront, have no drive-by or walk-by traffic. Does that disqualify me as an educator or for a potential seat on the committee?

    The Association supports a wide variety of framers and I know for a fact that there are home based (garage framers) who are better equipped, skilled, and educated than many storefront framers will ever be.

    What bearing on one's ability to review and write the criteria for the CPF is based on the location of their business?
  10. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree with Rob that it is completely irrelevant, but it's also untrue.
  11. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    GAWD FORBID!!!!! L.
  12. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Those who can't,,,teach. Huh?

    The reason I think it's an issue is because it's called the PROFFESSIONAL Picture Framers association. So I'm sorry if I like to look at your success as a framer before I let you tell me how to do anything, especially how to run my shop, if you can't run a successful one yourself. I just think that the board of the PPFA should be held to a much higher standard. I know all the golf clubs and what they do, and I have tons of equipment and I practice all the time, but I'm still not part of the PGA. Who cares what you know, it's what you've done. I'd take lessons from Arnold Palmer who can easily point at a long and successful career, and say "I know what I'm doing" over some joe who plays in thier back yard.
  13. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    So they all have store fronts? or some have storefronts? Or none have storefronts?
  14. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Storefront is as much a mark of professionalism as a stethoscope. I own a stethoscope (2 in fact) but I am no doctor. I know many owners of storefronts, but if they had to rely on their own hands to sell, make or fit a frame, they would starve. Then there are those who's commute is down a flight of stairs and hold them to the most professional standards as well as teach and held every position in PPFA.

    A few years ago I believe almost if not every top chapter position was held by a home based framer. And (IMHO), it was the last year for PPFA to really make strides forward.

    We have/had at least one MCPF who was a long time HB/officer/educator...

    If the board was all Black/Asian/Latino/Indian/gay/lesbian/purple haired/bikers/CEOs of Vendors, would we be having this discussion?

    I remember when vendors made up most of the board........ as the saying goes..... "Remember the good ol' days..... they were terrible".
  15. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes it's called Professional Picture Framers' Association ... it is NOT called RETAIL SHOP FRONT association ... neither should it be ... why do you assume that only people with a store are a success?

    You can have a store front and be UNsuccesful
    You can have a store front and be successful
    You can have a commercial business without a store front and be successful
    You can have a commercial business without a store front and be UNsuccessful
    You can have a home based business and be successful
    You can have a home based business and be UNsuccessful
    In any of these categories you can be professional
    In any of these categories you can be UNprofessional

    And how do you determine 'success' ... a reasonable gauge by any standard would be adjusted net ... and I strongly suspect there are many commercially focused framing professionals without a retail store front who are generating larger adjusted nets than many of those who have store fronts.

    And then there are those artisans who have store fronts who know nothing about running a retail business! But that's another story, and hardly one on which the PPFA has much bearing.
  16. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    Can't what? Can't FRAME? I believe that my reputation speaks for itself.

    At one time I had four retail storefronts - and at one time they were all very successful. But with the changing economy and escalating retail rents, we made a PROFESSIONAL business decision to focus on the current strength of the business - which is commercial/corporate sales.

    My wife, Barbara is a expert in the field and her new book was published this month by PFM books. www.theartconsultant.biz

    Since she also operates out of our "non-storefront" location (I did not say we work from our home) - would that also make her any less qualified to teach or write for PFM?

    The reality has always been that the PPFA was comprised of a group of people dedicated to improving the PROFESSION of picture framing - and retail storefronts are only one aspect of the industry. Would you say that a shop with employees that frames 125 pieces a week that is located in an industrial park is any less qualified to produce good framing?

    I just do not get where you are coming from and I hope this is not another "bash the PPFA" thread. If you have issues with the PPFA, there are ways to get involved, become a board member or officer, serve on an advisory committee - or just give input.
  17. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    So a piece of paper that "says" your a proffessional picture framer is valued more than a succeful career that can prove it, huh?

    For those "Home Based" Master picture framers, can you show me a certificate of Liability insurance that says your even allowed to handle a 5 million dollar peice of art work? Or even a $100,000.00 piece of art. Lets start there. Who in their right mind would hand over a piece of artwork like that to a home framer? What security steps have you taken on your customers behalf just to provide a safe envirornment for thier art while it's in your posession? Do you have a seperate security system in place for them? Do you have a moisture/ temp controlled room that's monitored? Or does your Proffessionalism have a ceiling ? In my mind, when I hear the words Master Picture framer, that person is qualified and ABLE to handle ALL art work, no matter the value. And be able to do it under pressure, and meet deadlines and be profitable. It's everything, not just a store front. It's not just what you know. Its EVERYTHING. And if you don't have it, then your not. Simple.
  18. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer


    There has never been a better time to be involved with PPFA. Dues are half what they were when PPFA was a stand-alone organization and the services are easily twice as effective. The offices are professionally run, and it is easy to get an answer to a question about the profession and the management of the association whether you are a member or not. The web site is public, and even the members forum can be viewed by non members. There is considerable information on the web site, including the organizational mission and code of ethics. All of the board members, committee members and their contact information are posted for all to see. On the occasions when I have asked for more information to be posted, I have found the staff to be interested and helpful, and reasonable requests to be granted. As anyone who spends a few minutes here soon realizes, we picture framers are a very diverse group. It is easier to herd cats than to get even most of us to agree on much. I urge anyone who thinks that the only trade group we have is not fulfilling their needs to consider giving some time and money to improving the offerings. I have to agree with PPFA's critics that there are some serious limitations. IMHO these limitations are a result of less than steller participation by most picture framers. I am sure that the membership office has a good idea of the percentage of working picture framers that are active members of PPFA. I am betting it is low. I have been hearing some scary numbers about the number of shop closings last year. I think this is a time when we should be finding ways that we are similar and circling our wagons. I have great respect for anyone that can survive in this profession, regardless of how they do it. As for the CPF exam, I took it in 2007 after decades of reading everything I could find about this profession and applying it in my work. No one I took the exam with left the room with confidence that they had passed. It is no breeze of a test, and I took a lot of them in my academic life. It is a serious test and anyone who goes to the trouble and expense of taking it is serious about their work. It certainly doesn't make any judgment about the seriousness of those who have not. It is not a perfect system, but it is what we have.
  19. Jeff K

    Jeff K CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Smooth, What?!?!?!?

    Jeff K
  20. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    And YOU have this National Treasure Vatican Vault type setup? If I was the owner/curator of a million $ or more piece of art I`d send it a MUSEUM conservator,anyhow...really....! BTW,Professional actually means(from my CPA,thank you..) That you derive 2/3 or more of your income from said activity. The "levels" of quality,location etc. are subjective descriptions added to try and create some definition.Nuff said..Troll going back under non vault bearing bridge now...carry on. L.
  21. Classic Art Bob

    Classic Art Bob SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think what is being talked about here is implied perception.

    For many years picture framers and almost all other professions have banged their chests while saying that retail store fronts (that force higher expenses on us) made us legitimate buisness owners in the eyes of the public. We have been brought up to believe this. In fact where I live in South Western Ontario, I remember a time in the mid 80's when a few of my sales reps had talked of discontinuing service to some home based operations because the sheer number of them where making it harder for "legitimate" business owners. I believe they were talking about those artistic individuals that where simply taking advantage of better prices to frame their own art. But this is the area where things can become fuzzy. Retail store fronts are most certainly in the habit of catering to the general public. Home based operations may not be, and this is where the perception lies. People believe a store front makes you legitimate and a garage makes you a guy who does framing. I doubt these suppliers actually turned away the business many of these qualified individuals brought to their door, if for no other reason than to hope that these people would become popular and thrive. (Better not to burn your bridges)

    Whether this is true or not, whether it is right or wrong, the public perception is that store front based operations are more legitimate than home based buisnesses (in any profession). If you don't believe me ask yourself why anyone from massage therapists to butcher shops have a store front at all.

    Don't shoot the messenger. :smileyshot22:
  22. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    One of the finest most competent framers I know, works out of his basement. He does gold leafing, custom hardwood mouldings, spray lacquer finishes, by the book preservation standards.

    Now Smoothy I am not sure what bone you have to pick but talking about the PPFA, CPA and MCPF are clearly things you are uneducated about. The PPFA is not there to set standards on running a business, they are there to help educated and set standards for a level of craftsmanship required in handling art.
  23. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God


    I would take it a step further. I agree that a big part of PPFA's mission is to educate and perhaps maintain standards - but one must also remember that PPFA is a trade association (OUR trade association) - and it's mission is to enhance the viability of its membership and to promote picture framing.

    There are a whole host of benefits (especially with PPFA+ and PMA+) that are enhancements and are not purely education based.
  24. Classic Art Bob

    Classic Art Bob SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree, the PPFA is a good organization and has much to offer all framers. However I haven't been a member for quite some time as the local chapters went the way of the Dinosaurs many years ago, and back in the day, reviving it seemed alot like beating a dead horse.
    (I've been wondering when I could use that!!!)
  25. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    I'm not picking any bones here. I'm simply asking questions and getting some very defensive answers.

    So what is a Proffesional picture framer then? anyone who has passed the certification course? and pays the dues? that's it? that's all that is required?

    I think the PPFA has a valid place in our profession. Along with some of the other associations. And while I have seen my share of idiot framers that carry that certification on them as if to validate their very existance, the people that are on the board should be complete, and successful in every way to the picture framing profession. they should be the standard, and not just wannabes trying to teach others how to bes.

    I've framed original Piccassos, Francis Bacon, Lucian Frued, H. Matisse, G. Klimt, Chagall, and many more. I've had to deal with insurance agents signing in and out of posession of properties, and have endured background checks, credit checks, bonded, insured, EVERYTHING! I frame for a couple Museums. In fact I just framed an original 1934 Dali that the Dali Museum only had a small black and white photo of, and have never actaully seen since it was done. When I told them what the colors in the picture were and some lines they thought were one thing I informed them that it was actually her reflection as a religious cross and gave them more details about the picture. (I wasn't allowed to photograph the image in any way of course by the owner.)
    So again, I ask, who are the members of the PPFA and what success and reputations have these people achieved? How am I to take someone seriously who they themselves can't make the final cuts to be a professional "Master" framing career professional?
  26. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Do you mean the certification board, which is or was the original topic here? If so, then no it is not true. And irrelevant.

    Or do you mean the board of directors? Listed here: http://www.pmai.org/content.aspx?id=10554

    Again, untrue and irrelevant.

    Just asking questions?
  27. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are making a huge assumption based on a rumour. I wouldn't think that was very wise.

    An individuals career is not the responsibility of PPFA or any other organisation.

    Rob and some of the others have indicated what the role of PPFA is! Perhaps you don't understand? Perhaps you just have an axe to grind?
  28. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The Certification is kind of like your Profile Smooth1; it is only as good as it is backed up.

    I know a few fine art framers in FLA, and there are a few more here on the Grumble; but I don't know of any framer in FLA who has the kind of establishment with the kind of equipment and handles the kind of insurance and bonding you're talking about.

    In fact, I can only think of about three who would only come close to that kind of equipment; but I do know well over a dozen framers who handle that quality of art and frame jobs on a semi regular basis. . . and they tend to be in very specific regions for very specific reasons... but Florida and it's wet, damp and proneness to wet-windy conditions doesn't qualify.

    So I'm more curious about what you truly bring to this judicial bench of yours, then even the validity of your perceptions as to the board's qualifications.

    Just making some observations and saying.....
  29. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I was sort of wondering what someone in this business model would care about anything artdotcrap or postersdotjunk would do. Smooth appeared a bit salty about the fact that these publishers were offering framing in another thread. Now both Jay and Laura can tell you that in Kentucky they would say "That Dog Don't Hunt".
  30. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Hmmm, I'm not really sure. Hence the question. And I am sorry if people here feel so offended, but my opinion is mine to have. I feel that if someone were to present themselves to me as say a board member of the PPFA,to whatever capacity then yes, it all matters. And it should matter. And I should be able to look at thier background and be able to verify their claim of knowledge and measure of success in the industry.
    I'm not saying they aren't either. I truly don't know. Is there a standard to which you must be before you can/ are eligible to be said position? Maybe I'm asking these questions in the wrong place. My original question was just regarding the board members of the PPFA. If it's untrue, then that's all that I wanted to know. If it's irrelevant, then that's more a matter of opinion.
  31. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    No ax, just a question. I'm not assuming anything. Your right , I don't understand.
  32. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Theres a reason for my anonimity. Security being one of them.

    I'm not here to judge anyone. I came here looking for information and I saw this thread, so I asked a question reagarding the PPFA board. Then it turned into home based framer vs. storefront framer. Which fine whatever, if you feel it doesn't or shouldn't matter, then whatever. So how do we measure the leaders in our industry then?
  33. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    We frame at all levels. I don't JUST do high end framing. In fact, we do alot more than just framing. See, this dog hunts, fetches, and gets a beer out of the fridge.
  34. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paragraphs, people, paragraphs!

    White space incorporated into posts makes for ease of reading.

    I don't care how fascinating your opinions may be, if I encounter 6 or 8 inches of solid typing I skip over it.

    Just hit ENTER every few sentences and what you spend so much time writing will be readable.

    Carry on.
  35. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    I haven't talked about anyone. I asked a question. If it is indeed untrue, great! irrelevant, I'm not so sure.
    That's a good definition. But on thier home page, click on "becoming a member" and read that very first line. Sounds to me like they know how to run and promote business, or no? it's just about craftmanship as you have stated here. Hence the problem I have if the board members themselves can't stay in business.
  36. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Yet I don't know of a single legtimate doctors office that is run out of his/her garage. And owning a stethascope is like owning a joiner. It's just a tool. The place where you do business is your arena. I'm not going into anyone basement for heart surgery. It had better be a sanitary hospital with lots of professional doctors walking around.
  37. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    When I say "storefront", I'm not meaning retail storefront. I mean a professional picture framing establishment to conduct business in this field. I'm not here to judge what is, I'm here asking questions. I don't even really think that doing 125 pcs a week is or should be a qualification. I don't think being in an industial park is an issue either. You atleast have a proffesional location in which custmers can come in and do business.
    I'm not bashing the PPFA. I'm asking questions, and determining the standards on how and who sets the standards.
  38. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh give up..Smoothy here is exactly like a lot of the animal "handlers" I have met over the years...the ones that proclaim,rather loudly" Only certified experts should do this."....translation, "Nobody but ME.No matter how good you are" I know it isn`t framing,but the elitist spirit is there. I am NOT a full time framer(well like most of you guys)..I do mostly my own stuff,And by Gawd I know what I`m doing...And I do know art.I happen to live in my arena! But it`s a well defended one.International awards don`t lie.... L.
  39. stevens

    stevens CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Do they release old tests or have any better sample questions besides the like 30 on their site?
  40. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Boy, talk about a projected inferior complex. You don't know me. You have never met me. And from the 15 or so posts I've made on here you have just judged me. Nice.
  41. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know enough....... good night,er morning. L.
  42. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    ( I know I am going to be sorry that I responded to this thread, but...)

    There are many business models. Let us take doctors, for example, seeing as that has been brought up.

    In our town there are many doctors. Some practice alone. Some are in group practices. Some have large facilities that have surgery capability. Some work in the building in which they also live.

    Some are only marginally competent and some are fantastic.

    What they DO have in common is that they have studied in order to be qualified in their profession. In times past, one could become a doctor by 'reading' medicine... a sort of apprenticeship. (This has changed, but then framers aren't doctors, after all, so the comparison is not totally even)

    Some have passed additional hurdles which allow them to have additional letters after their names. (FACS Fellow, American College of Surgeons, e. g.) I would venture to say that there are those who don't have extra initials but yet are as good or better than those who do have extra initials.

    So my long-winded point is that framers have many different business models, as do doctors. It isn't WHERE you frame; it's HOW you frame.

    If PPFA had a requirement that it should be run by people who only use one possible business model, that would merely artificially limit the pool of talent, which would be a shame and a waste...

    As to my own disclaimer, I have run a home-based business during which I became one of the first 110 CPFs and have run a storefront business wherein I became one of the first 7 MCPFs. And I have been active in PPFA in various capacities during the 28 years that I have been in business, so - yeah- I have been there...

    Ellen A. Collins, MCPF
  43. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Very well said. And I understand your point, but I don't think you quite understand mine. So I'll try one more time.

    If you are a home based framer, fine, whatever works for you. Everyone has to make a living, I'm not judging them. But when you present yourself as a board member of the PPFA, which certifies, and establishes the "standard", then you have to BE the standard, and not just know and preach it. It's all over the PPFA website about "Does your STORE look like Mars?" Go to the website and click on "why become a member."
    Really? Who are these people? This sounds to me more of a business service association. So I would like to know and see thier credentials and review the success in thier own careers. Hence the question I originally asked. I'm not here to attack the home framer, but I don't think a home framer is qualified to step into my showroom and tell me how to run a suuccessful business. So, if our chapter board member, or whom ever is the authority for this region, or chapter, district, whatever, then I would like to begin finding out who they are, and do my own background check so to speak.
  44. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    PPFA, CPF, and Modern Standards

    You just had to stir the pot, didn'ja Jim? :p
  45. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    :bdh: JB
  46. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    Come to California and I will introduce you to one. My father has a Masters, PhD, MD and is board certified. His is a medical doctor. He runs his practice OUT OF HIS HOME (OK not in the garage, but the door to the waiting area is adjacent to it :)) and has done so for more than 30 years in the hills above Los Angeles.

    His clientele includes professionals from all walks of life, (educated people - doctors, lawyers, music and film industry executives and personalities) and he has not found it to be detrimental to his ability to practice medicine. In fact, many of his patients prefer the anonymity of coming to a private residence without having to ride elevators and possibly be seen by others including the paparazzi.

    He is also on the Boards of several medical committees, taught Medicine at USC and UCLA and has been a Board examiner for many years. It does not appear that the fact that his private practice is home based has inhibited his abilities nor has he been "dissed" by his peers for being so. :)
  47. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm a big supporter of PPFA.

    The information that is decimated from the national office is first rate. The parent organization is professionally run and I have a high level of confidence that the directors are well qualified. The national directors are listed on the web site.

    I guess if you felt the need for more of a background check you could always hire someone to investigate further, that would be paranoid.

    That may not be as true at the chapter level and it's not fair to hold the chapter to the same standard. Most involved are good people donating their time for a good cause and the local chapter offers a good educational opportunities for smaller operators who have just joined or may not be able to attend the national convention.

  48. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    Smooth 1 - (and others)

    Once again I extend my plea to you to raise the level of board/advisory membership by offering your expertise to your fellow framers and the PPFA-

    Please get involved, sit on a committee, become a board member, or even an officer on the national level.

    Throwing potshots at the organization from the sidelines will not help to make it better.
  49. Smooth 1

    Smooth 1 True Grumbler

    Great, but if he walked into the Arnold Palmer Hospital with claimed accredited certifications on how to run a hospital, I think they would/should check into his background to verify, independantly on 1) His personal acheivements.
    2) His integrity, reputation
    3) Have a list of references
    4) Have shown and demonstrated with success his ability to run and operate a large medical facility.
    5) His proven track record of working in a high stress enviornmnent with other doctors and nurses, corridinating large efforts, with a history of success.

    While 30 years of having a nice little practice in his house has worked for him, I think it would be plainly evident that HE is not what they would be looking for. He is not the standard for the industry. He is the exception. Big difference. Would you like a Chef to tell the cooks how to prepare you meal who has never cooked a meal himself? Successfully? Let alone organize and cater your special events? Would you give your Porsche over to the shade tree machanic to diagnose and repair your transmission? Even if he were ASE certified? It takes very expensive proprietary computer diagnostic equipment to even be able to pull and read ABS codes and so on. theres alot more to being the standard then what you know, or what some peice of paper says you know.
  50. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    I look forward to seeing your name on the ballot next year, Smooth.
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