Recently we asked our customers what questions they had about our products, about our company, and about framing in general. We loved the feedback we have received so far because it allows us to know what our customers are wondering about and gives us a chance to help them out. So over the next few weeks we will be answering these questions along with questions our customer service team receives often on our blog. If you have a question or would like to know more about a topic email, Facebook, tweet, call, comment, write a letter, send us a carrier pigeon,etc. (the last two however we do not recommend as it may be quite some time before we receive them!).The point is we love our customers and we love the feedback we get from them because it allows us to cater to them.
So give us some questions to answer so that we can improve your shopping experience and give you some tips and tricks!
Get to know Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday
From what we have heard from our subscribers, last week’s Favorite Hobby Friday was a huge hit! This week we bring you the favorite hobby of one of our customer service representatives, that many of our customers who have purchased picture frames from us may have spoken with, Kelley Kombrinck.
I sat down with Kelley to discuss his favorite hobby and the talent that was first displayed here.
Kelley, we first experienced your talent when you drew a Unicorn and an elephant on a customer’s order, why don’t tell me a bit more about your hobby!
I’m a guy who likes to draw. Mainly charcoal or pencil/pen and ink on paper. Most of my work is done by hand but I’ve begun using digital media—i.e. Photoshop—to color my pictures. My genre of choice is horror art—ghosts and monsters and such—and my style is mainly comic book/fantasy, but I can still bust out a pretty accurate portrait if I need to.
Judging by your level of skill you’ve probably been drawing for a pretty long time; When did you first start?
I have been drawing as far back as I can remember, and it was always monsters, always.
So why did you start drawing monsters at such an early age?
As a kid I just drew because I wanted to be like my older brother who also drew really well. As I got older and realized I was good at it I started drawing to break the ice with the people who sat around me in school because I was kind of weird and awkward and it helped to get people on my side right off the bat.
Most creative people are a little weird, so you’re not alone in that— how long has it taken you to become a master at it?
Like most artists, I’m still mastering it and continue to develop and learn. I will say that I really kicked it into high gear in my early twenties when I started incorporating more realistic human anatomy and working harder to understand light and shadow.
The level of detail in all of your pieces is outstanding, how many hours a week would you estimate you spend drawing?
It depends on the week. Some weeks I don’t draw at all. Other weeks I might put 22 hours in. When I’m working on a hot project I’ll get lost in it.
22 hours, that’s a long time, you must really enjoy it—what’s your favorite part about it?
For me, there’s a moment where a picture is not quite finished, but where I’ve gotten all the main elements penciled in and they look how I want them to look—the picture still has a way to go and there’s a lot of cleanup and smaller details to add — but I see the most important parts and they are staring back at me as if they just stepped through a door out of my imagination. I go on and finish the picture and its great and everything but it’s that moment halfway through that is my favorite.
Wow, that was really poetic, with how you talk about drawing it’s hard to imagine that this question would apply to you but, none the less, what’s your least favorite part about it?
Oh lord it’s when I get a picture to a great place and then I go one step further and it hurts the picture. Sometimes it’s just something that bothers me and no one else really notices but I’ve occasionally ruined a drawing that I’ve put a lot of time and work into by just not letting it rest when it was done. I also hate when I go to ink my pencil drawing and I make a mistake—ink does not forgive.
Like most artists you appear to be your own worst critic! What has been the most memorable experience?
I’ve had several. One of the most memorable was having my work displayed in a black-room art show at a specialty shop back in 2001. My first— and last — exhibition. I drank all the wine and left early with a headache but I did sell one piece.
Sounds like a successful night to me! What is one thing you have learned about yourself through drawing?
I’ve learned that I can really take a critique without getting my feelings too hurt and turn it into development. People are quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong and sometimes it’s just to be snarky but if I can pull something useful out of it and improve my technique then I’m all for it. Some of my biggest jumps in growth have come out of brutally stated critiques.
That is a great ability to have as an artist— what is your advice for people who may want to start drawing?
I think that if you want to start doing it, you probably already are but if you’re wanting to take it to a level where you want to show or sell your art remember this: your style and subject matter is your own, do what you want, but when your technique gets criticized, listen with an open mind. Even if the critic is a jerk, they might be right.
I think that is something we could all use, even those that aren’t artistic—be yourself and stand up for what you believe in!
Thanks so much Kelley for taking the time to answer my questions!
I hope you have enjoyed Favorite Hobby Friday so far! Stay tuned next week for our Posterservice Sales Rep David Estep’s favorite hobby!
Get to know Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday
The people who work for Frame USA aren’t just a bunch of drones. We want our customers to know us to be familiar with the people who day in and day out provide you with quality American made picture frames at affordable prices. We thought we would give you an inside look at what our employees do in their spare time. First up: Chas Hall, who is our Director of Sales and our newest employee!
I interviewed Chas about his favorite thing to do when he’s not at work here is that interview.
So Chas, what is it that you enjoy doing on your time off?
I participate in something called The Warhammer 40K/Fantasy, which involves collecting, building, painting, custom creating and gaming with plastic, metal, or resin miniatures.
Impressive! So when did you first start creating the pieces?
I began this hobby at the beginning of January in 2012
So you’ve been doing this for almost 3 years now, how did you get started?
A friend of mine was familiar with my interests for painting and building things. He was also aware of my competitive nature when it comes to playing chess and checkers and quickly realized I could apply each of my interests into one hobby, which I immediately developed a passion for.
That’s a pretty involved friend, How long did it take you to become a master at it?
Because there are so many challenging aspects and areas of the hobby it can be difficult to master all areas. However, if there is a specific aspect that I feel I’ve mastered it would be custom creating projects. For example, I would be taking a kit and fully converting the product in a unique way, which is opposite of what the manufacturer or instructions would suggest.
You’re saying that you start majority of your pieces completely from scratch, that must take up a good chunk of your time, How many hours a week would you estimate you spend?
At least 45 minutes per day in a 7 day period.
So that is roughly about 5.5 hours a week! What is your favorite part about it?
My favorite part about it is custom creating something or converting a product that is not a direct representation of what is included within the kit.
I can tell you’re really passionate about this hobby, with that being said, do you have a least favorite part about it?
The gaming aspect is my least favorite because there are so many rules, terms and Warhammer 40k/fantasy lingo to learn, which can dramatically slow down game play. There are also constant updates within game rules that may affect a player who is not completely familiar with his/her rulebook, which can also delay game time.
That would be difficult to stay up to date with, so what has been the most memorable experience with Warhammer 40k/Fantasy?
Without a doubt that would be winning painting and/or conversion contests in tournament entries!
If you’ve won tournament entries you must be pretty talented, what is your advice for people who may want to start participating in it?
Have patience and have fun! Don’t expect to become great at custom building, painting and/or gaming over night, it takes time. Encourage your friends to participate so that you can continue to learn and grow together!
So since you’ve been doing it for a couple of years now, what is one thing you have learned about yourself through mastering this?
One thing I have learned about myself is that even when it comes to having interest in a hobby, I have a pretty solid ability with attention to detail, specifically with painting schemes, instructions, etc!
Thanks so much Chas for taking the time to answer my questions!
Not only does this allow for our customers to get to know our employees but it allows for our employees to get to know their coworkers on a level that they may have not had the chance to.
If you have any additional questions regarding his Hobby, leave us comment and we’ll get it answered for you!
Frame USA loves to have fun, we host several events for our employees however we rarely share them with our customers. Since today is all about being someone you’re not we thought we would let our customers in on the fun! Today’s festivities included: a pumpkin decorating/carving contest, a costume contest, and festive snacks. All of today’s winners for both the pumpkin decorating/carving contest as well as the costume contest will be posted on our instagram, so check it out!
It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
We posted early last week a sneak peak picture on our instagram of all the pumpkins that we got to give out to our employees. Two employees spent hours weighing pumpkins to find the perfect selection, and boy did our employees deliver with their creations! We have some hidden talent for pumpkin decorating/carving in our midst. Our CEO gave us a challenge that if 50% of all of our employees decorate a pumpkin Frame USA will donate an additional $250 to our November Charity of the Month The Freestore FoodBank. Our employees delivered and we had 35 pumpkins that were brought in decorated/carved. Our employees then voted on what their 3 favorite pumpkins were. We had 4 winners for this competition, with a tie for second place. We would absolutely love to hear what our customers think are the best pumpkins and to see some of the creations you and your family came up with!
When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween!
You probably are thinking to yourself how can employees that work in a warehouse really dress up during the day. Well I’m here to tell you that all our employees chose creative costumes that were safe! Below are some of the costumes! Let us know what you and your family are being for Halloween, we would love to see your costumes!
Trick or Treat!
Not only did we have fun with pumpkins and costumes, we are all now in a sugar coma! We had festive goodies during one of the breaks that included apple cider, chips, cookies and cupcakes. Some of our office workers planned a potluck and brought in delicious foods to enjoy for lunch.
One of our employees is getting married soon, so her manager decided to be sneaky and plan a bit of a bridal shower for her. Safe to say she was completely surprised and got some great gifts off her wedding. Congratulations Beth, we all wish you and your soon to be husband a lifetime of happiness!
It’s safe to say that we had a very entertaining Halloween Work day! I hope everyone enjoyed seeing Behind the scenes of Frame USA.
We had the privelege to show off our very own “Beer” poster on A&E’s Brandi and Jarrod: Married to the Job!
For those who have never seen the show, the couple Brandi and Jarrod are originally from the show Storage Wars on A&E. This couple’s constant tension and interesting dynamic has created an interest in the couple’s day to day life, resulting in their own reality show called Brandi and Jarrod: Married to the Job. It was only several weeks ago that we received an email from the A&E studios asking if they could show our very own image on their next episode. We were more than happy to oblige!
Here is the image to look out for:
If this item strikes your fancy after seeing the episode, you can purchase your very own poster here.
To see yesterday’s episode, click on the image below. You can see more on their website, too!
Our contest has been extended until the end of June!
A quick recap: entrants will submit their work through Instagram using the hastag, “#FrameUSA”. Artwork / photography must be original and created by the entrant. Many will enter, but only 5 will win. We will print your art for you from Instagram, frame it, and send the finished frame product with a special offer as well.
Not bad for snapping and posting a quick Instagram photo! You can also follow us on Instagram to see what our framers are up to. (Hint: it’s a lot!)
We love a good contest, and our selection for June is a great way to frame some of your favorite instagram shots or artwork — absolutely free!
Of course, we expect some great shots and work from this contest based on what we saw last time. Even if you’ve never shopped with us before, if your work is selected, we’ll frame your submission for you AND send a great offer along with the frame. If you like our work, feel free to use it on an order!
Do you have any work that you’d love to see framed? Enter it into our contest by posting it to instagram! Just use hastag #FrameUSA when you post and we’ll enter you into our selection process. We’ll pick the 5 most creative and “stand out” art/photographs. Let the creative games begin!
Framing has many different meanings and many uses as terminology, spanning from artistic photographs/photographic cropping, reflective framed surfaces, and of course, picture framing itself. Exploring the art of framing is diverse and complicated, but an interesting obervation of what framing has meant in the past and what it means today.
Set in the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, this exhibit aims to explore the meaning of framing in both a past and present sense. This exhibit is hosted by Cornell’s History of Art majors, showing that these students not only study the history behind the art, but the artistic perspective itself. You can find out more about Cornell and this gallery at the link provided below.
To learn more about art framing, you can visit our blog archive on the subject here.
A frame collage (Or “Gallery Wall”) is a HUGE recent trend in interior design. A recent Kickstarter campaign shows that, in framing, sometimes less is more.
We’ve talked a lot about frame collages in the past, and the great statement they can make when assembled in a tasteful manner. We’ve seen many of our customers take great advantage of this technique, from Bachelor winners to our tasteful twitter followers…
In recent news, however, we’ve found a great example of forward-thinking design for framing mobile photography. (Instagram lovers, this is for you!)
Meet the Fotobit: a modular framing system by Alan Yeung. This product allows you to place the frame on the wall using a single nail, balance the frame with a built-in leveler, and attach the frame to other units to create an assmblage of frames. The concept is very modern and well-received–in fact, the Kickstarter has raised over $4,000 above the expected amount! With this trend in frame collage design on the rise, it’s obvious that this style of design is here to stay.
What are your thoughts on this new product? Let us know if you’re a fan of this modular-style frame, or what you’ve done to mimic this look! (We personally thing that our Architect series could handle the challenge!)
Frame USA Offers Craft Kits for those who Love to “Do It Yourself”
We get it, we get it! Projects that start with a broken couch and an old rusted locomotive engine often DO make some of the coolest home design pieces. Just like we can’t get enough of lightbulbs turned into gardening fixtures or christmas wreaths made out of coat hangers. It’s fun, stylish, cheap incredibly creative.
We make it a point to offer a few lines of products that our customers can tweak and edit to their heart’s desire. Below, we’ll list some sources of great products that you can use to make your own custom frame designs — but first, a video that should clarify the whole DIY process for beginners!
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the inspiration – create – share phases, you’ll be churning out great projects in no time. Here are some products we offer that have inspired some great customer creations in the past — we’re sure you’ll find them useful, too!
Unfinished Picture Frames: The ultimate favorite when it comes to complete personalization, the unfinished series can be oiled, glossed or stained to create the perfect look you’re trying for.
Decorate – It Picture Frames: A favorite for the kids, the Decorate-It series has always been a great success for ourselves and customers alike. The highlight of this frame is the totally open, flat surface which you can use to decorate in any way you’d like. We’ve really enjoyed taking these to local festivals and fairs, bringing craft supplies and letting kids decorate their own frames. You really can’t go wrong with Decorate-It, as a professional or as a craft-lover.
U-Frame Kits: These metal frame kits are unique in that they do not come assembled, rather, they arrive to you in two pieces per item purchased. What does this mean for you? Total framing freedom! Our easy-to-use kits come with assembly instructions and come with two pieces of moulding per item bought. What this means is that you can buy a 24 inch U Frame Kit and a 36 inch U Frame Kit, then assemble them to create a 24×36 frame! Aside from the freedom in assembling your own way, you also have the ability to mix colors if your art piece calls for something outside of the traditional frame.
Shadow Box / Jersey Frames: Being in the home town of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Reds, we see a pretty great amount of business from Shadow Box customers. Shadow box frames are also commonly referred to as “Jersey frames” among athletes and sports fans. These are good for many other purposes, however — dioramas, antiques, art installations and 3D assemblage pieces are among many other ways to use these frames to their fullest.
Acid – Free Mat Tape “Frame”: A relatively new method (popularity-wise) that involves wrapping the outside of the frame in tape, creating unique designs where the only limitation is your own creativity. Our mat tape is perfect for things like this! See some awesome examples here!
Custom Picture Frame Mats: We also offer custom mats to fit any frame you may already have built. Using MatDesigners, you can order mats that can fit into almost any picture frame with the exact style and opening you’re looking for.
Other fun series: Barnwood and Corporate always produce fun results for our customers, just because of their versatility and price. Barnwood is naturally a very earthy look, so this frame already fits the DIY description!
Follow us on Pinterest for more on some fun “DIY” projects. We would love to see what great things you’ve created with our frames!