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MGF, Master Grumble Framer
We talk so much about keeping the artwork as it left the artist's hands. Get a load of this quandry: The artist has done his art on corrugated mailing boxes, yellow mailing envelopes, and the top half of letters. "So-o-o-o," you think? Well, the post office, of course, put its adhesive backed, pink and white sticker at the top and over some of the artwork on some of these as well as other stickers of cancellation. There is no way to find these to be part of the artwork or in any way charming.

My customer has a collection of these--the are by a western cowboy and quite appealing--that were sent to her husband over the years. She wants some framed for Christmas. The mailing boxes have to be cut up in order to be framed, but what is this doing to the pristine condition of the art? The letters can be framed intact. The yellow mailers have the same problem as the boxes--ugly stickers. I will try to un-du them, but I'm not too hopeful.

ANY ideas are welcome. (This business is one challange after another, isn't it, keeping life very interesting.)
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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
You need to keep artwork "Pristine" to preserve its value. So I guess I would ask if you see (other than respect by the family) these "artworks" growing in value and some day being auctioned at Christie's or Sotheby's?



The artist probably intended these pieces of artwork to be stamped and cancelled by the post office, beside what better way is their to authenticate the age of a piece than a dated cancellation by the U.S. Post Office. You will in effect remove value from the piece if you remove these ugly white and pink stickers. Assuming the artist makes a name for himself.


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
And sometimes, they're not challenges: they're PIAs. Quite a bit lately, I have had to ask of the art owner whether they think it had, has, will have, or ever could have "value." It seems to be a useless question: what do I expect them to say? They usually come back with a vague, "Well, I don't know: what do YOU think?" (How the heck would I know??) At this point, you're doomed to drifting around in their family history, recent or otherwise, and it's downhill from there. I've just about reached the place where I won't adulterate the stuff unless threatened. Now, of course, I'm not framing Mel's cardboard box problem, so this isn't much help to her. But I think I'd vote to frame it "as is", if at all possible.


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Mail Art should be left with all marks, Stickers, bruises, and tape. The additions by the post office are part of the process. Mail Art is a colaboration. If the packages were not intended to be "Mail Art" (pre 1970's)and were the acts of a creative individual decorating the envelope or package, they should be left as is, to further demonstrate the artist's creativity.

Collectors, Owners and Framers often ignore the artists intent and values when assessing value to a work of art.

Jon Ostrander

I think the basic concept is wrong. It is not our job to correct what is wrong (or what we precive as wrong) with items that are brought to us. The best we should do is try to keep future damage to a minimum. If the customer wants restoration there are people who do that but they are not framers. Sometimes we try to make a hard job impossible. :) This may be one of the few times my signature is wrong.

When you look back it's better to regret what you did, than what you didn't do.


The first rule, do no harm, leave as is and follow the client's direction, if this varies from the prime directive, preserve the art, tell the client the optoins, allow for client discretion, and go from there. My motto is, "I may have to frame it, but I don't have to like it(or the method the client chooses. Sometimes, if I have the scrap rag strips to shim, or build up, and the piece is worthy of that, I will use them over mat board, if it seems that it could not be afforded, they would be thrown out anyways. Well, my 2 pfennigs worth. Happy Turkey day to you all, and blessings in the coming year, Love, Rebecca
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