Getting art and photography professionally framed can be ruinously expensive. A number of online custom framing services are helping bring down the sky-high prices while offering a close approximation of the craftsmanship and quality you’d expect from a reputable bricks-and-mortar picture framer. Framebridge.com, a Washington DC–based company, is one that caught my eye, particularly their new collection of simple yet elegant solid American hardwood frames. Their selection of styles, while limited, strikes me as unbeatable in terms of looks, build, and cost.
Framebridge teamed up with Jason Pickens, a young New York–based furniture maker and woodworker to design their first collection of American hardwood frames. Using black walnut, cherry, and ash, he’s produced a small selection of frames that are handsome and straightforward—just what today’s clean, unfussy decorating trends call for. There’s a choice of two styles: Gallery, a slim silhouette with a modern, urban vibe; and Wide, a slightly beefier profile for a more traditional, even rustic, feeling.
The sustainable hardwoods used in the collection are grown in Virginia, milled in Alabama, and handcrafted in Framebridge’s Maryland and Kentucky factories. Nothing more than a simple matte wax finish is used on the woods, which allows the beauty of their natural variation, grain, and texture full expression: they’re all as velvety to the touch as they are pleasing to the eye. And the range of tones, from the rich chocolate of walnut through the amber glow of cherry to the pale blond of ash, make it possible to find a perfect complement to work you want framed.
Framebridge will custom frame art up to 32 by 40 inches in size. If you choose to mail them your art to frame, they’ll send you secure packing to do so. You can also upload photography from your computer, phone, or Instagram feed for them to frame. If you’re unsure what frame is right for your art, one of their designers will mock it up with a selection of suggested frame and mat combinations for you to choose from. Pricing—which includes the frame, the mat, printing if needed, and shipping both ways—ranges from $39 for a 5-by-5-inch Instagram-size photo (including printing) to $199 for a 32-by-40-inch large piece of art. As I said, that looks like an unbeatable bargain for custom framing to me.