The other day, David Cafiero's assistant Keehnan made a great point about framing. It might seem obvious, but it never hurts to repeat the message: art found at a flea market, estate sale, or student show can be taken to a whole new level with the right frame. It's also important not to pass on a striking sketch simply because it is framed unattractively (or in a way that just doesn't reflect your taste).
When I'm browsing Etsy shops, like Fustian, I always try to picture the original unframed prints or drawings matted in a classic frame. As Keehnan says, art scored for a good price often allows for a bit more of a splurge with the framing. And there is no law that says you have to get a piece framed right away. (Although the art is much better protected framed.)
There's a fun tool on pictureframes.com that is useful for very basic, preliminary experimenting, but of course it's not the same as working "live" with a skilled framer who can play with scale and proportion, and can whip out an endless selection of slightly varied mats to try.
[Computer -generated, experimental sample frame]
As a jumping off point, though, when the frame shop is closed, online tools like this can really help you "slip on" different options, for example, a stained bamboo molding versus black painted wood or a gilt frame.
All of the hand-pulled, moku hanga artists prints shown here are by Marissa Buschow, a woodblock printmaker "obsessed with birds and animals." Visit Fustian to buy or to learn more. Image two of water-gilded frames from Senelar atelier is via Country Living, photographed by Beatriz da Costa.
Just a reminder, the V & A has a short video about historic methods of water-gilding.
Another reminder regarding woodblock prints: the Gibbes Museum of Art offers interactive online features about Charleston Renaissance printmaker, Anna Heyward Taylor. Visit the Explore section, then click Tour Collections followed by Charleston Renaissance.
Anna Heyward Taylor, circa 1935
Wood-block print on paper
Gibbes Museum of Art