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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Matting Your Quilling Part # 1

Matting your work - Part #1

In my framing blog, I mentioned that my earlier work was put on wooden plaques. I’d like to tell you a little story about why I started matting my work. I was teaching classes for Lee Ward’s (which is now Michaels). After one of the classes I had a former student come in to visit. She told me she had just completed the quilling for the wedding invitation of her best friend. She had come in to the store to have the framing department cut a mat for the invitation. She had decided to put the quilling on the mat around the invitation. She told me it had taken her so long to do the quilling that if her friend ever got divorced, she could dump the invitation and put in a picture of her dog! I cracked up when she told me this, but it made me start thinking about it. I started matting my work which made it look much more professional along with an added bonus for my customers. If the bride received another invitation gift (on a candle, dish, tray etc.) she could take the invitation out of the frame and put her wedding picture in the quilled frame instead. At this time I was still selling in stores and doing some craft shows. Framing and matting made my pieces ready to sell right off the shelf . . . now to talk about the matting process . . .

There are lots of matting options. Of course you can take your pieces to a frame shop and have mats cut by a “professional”, but be prepared to pay! My sister had a beautiful invitation which I wanted to put in an oval opening. I took it to a frame shop since I hadn’t learned how to cut ovals yet. I ordered a double mat with an oval opening which cost me $26.00 . . . that was just for the mats, no frame and that was about 15 years ago. I now have “professional” mat cutting equipment, but for years, I cut my own mats with the systems sold in craft and hobby shops. I have used both Alto and Logan systems and preferred the Logan, especially for ovals. I found the Alto templates hard to use for ovals. I used the simplest Logan mat cutter which sells for about $80. For straight cuts and the Logan Oval/Circle cutter which sells for about $70.00. Just based on the price of that one double mat you can see how cutting your own mats can be very cost effective. You can go to Dick Blick (and no he is not a guild member) and look at the Alto and Logan systems and also several books on how to cut mats. You will be surprised at the difference matting makes and you’ll save big bucks if you can do it yourself.

Where do you buy mat board? You can probably buy full sheets at your local framing or craft store. You can cut quite a few mats out of a 32”x40” sheet. When I first started cutting my own mats I went to my local frame store and spoke with the owner. Frame shops have a ton of scrap mat. They almost always save the “falls” which are the pieces that fall out when they cut a window. Lots of the falls are pretty big because they come from mats cut for posters. I asked if I could buy some of the scrap mat and the owner let me go and pick out whatever I wanted because she had so much of it. Of course you may not get the exact colors you want this way but if you are getting a deal on most of your mat board (especially if you are practicing on it), you won’t mind springing for the full sheet of burgundy suede. I still save my falls and cut them up into smaller pieces to send out to teachers etc

Matting your work makes it look much more professional. The colors and textures you choose can really dress up a piece. When I teach a matting class, I start out with an invitation and show a simple single mat. Go to our pics file and choose the reference folder, then the matting file(s). A single mat is one sheet of mat board with a window, the color can one of the colors in the invitation or the color of the ink on the invitation. I like to use a mat the color of the paper in the invitation because I know my quilling will show up better on a white or ivory mat. I have however, used a darker color mat and done all of the quilling in white, which is very dramatic. Then again, white quilling on a white mat can be very rich, it really is a matter of personal taste, yours and your customers.

To get back to the matting class, I next show the same invitation with a double mat. A double mat is just what it sounds like, two mats, one on top of the other. A narrow band of color from the bottom mat shows around the window. I almost always use a double mat, the only time I use a single mat is if I am quilling a border on it. You will see in the matting folder examples of single and double mats with oval and rectangular windows. But to get back to this invitation, I then show some variations on matting it. In one case, I actually mounted the invitation on a piece of deckle edged colored paper and then raised the whole thing by putting a piece of foam core behind it and then put a single mat on the piece for the quilling. In the last case I used a double mat, but since the invitation was in color, instead of having the narrow band around the window, I cut a panel V-Groove into the upper mat and let the lower mat show through. This piece has the quilling on it as well. Now, I know you do more than quill around wedding frames so the next time we will talk about matting things other than wedding invitations and photos.

Here are smome other samples of mat cuts:

Single Mat with Rectangular window

Single mat with oval opening & oval v grove

Double mat with oval opening

Double mat with oval opening and panel grove

Double mat rectangular opening with panel grove

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you put this on your blog, and I love the woman who said in case of a divorce the matte could still be used - too funny. I have done a few matted and quilled wedding invitations and wanted to do a few more but the price of buying custom matte's has stopped me; so this has been very informative. Thanks. I'm off to read the second part.