I’ve been experimenting with options for displaying photographic prints around the house.
For one-of-a-kind prints or those you want to keep around for a long time, archival mounting and framing are still the best options. This will help protect the prints from damaging UV light, pollution, and caustic or acidic mounting materials. It’s hard to beat a proper professional frame job done by someone who knows what they’re doing and who can use the right materials. It’s also the most expensive way to go and not always cost-effective for temporary or less-valuable artwork.
Store-bought frames are an inexpensive way to go but it’s hard to resist replacing the cheap sub-standard mats and backer boards with something a little better.
In between these framing extremes there are all kinds of options available for buying custom and semi-custom frames and mounts on the Web. These range widely in quality and price but you can often find the just-right balance between cost and quality. Glazing is often a difficult choice with each of the options having drawbacks. Acrylic, such as the Acrylite® brand comes in options such as UV protection and anti-glare (which somewhat degrades the view of the print). Acrylic, particularly in larger sizes, is not as flat as glass. Glass can break in handling and the best quality museum-grade glass is very expensive.
Surface-mounted prints, such as Foam Mounted Standout prints offered by companies like Mpix, are a more modern looking presentation. They’re far less expensive than traditional quality framing options but are not considered archival and subject the print to more environmental hazards. Plus, you’re limited to the company’s printing service which may use a quality and paper you’re not particularly plased with.
I’ve tried metal prints recently, where the images are printed directly onto an aluminum substrate. This enables the prints to be floated off the wall. We put up four wildflower prints, two on either side of our kitchen window, and they add a nice decorative touch. The quality of the prints is nowhere near that of a well-made conventional print on paper but they’re suitable for decorative purposes. The cost is rather high but still nowhere near a properly mounted and framed paper print. Another plus, particularly in our kitchen, is the durability–these can be wiped off with a rag.
Obviously there are many other options for displaying art and I’ll no doubt continue to explore them but, so far, there’s no clear winner covering all criteria for safe and attractive display at a modest price.
Because we are new to our neighborhood since last spring, I’m reluctant to complain about other new arrivals in the area. But a woodchuck has set up home here and we prefer he, well, didn’t. His sprawling multiple-entry McMansion is a menace to tractors for one thing.
I can’t say he’s particularly obnoxious in most regards–he doesn’t pee in his yard, shout f-bombs in heated family arguments, ride ATVs back and forth, back and forth, back and forth like certain other white trash neighbors.
Nevertheless, I think I’ll encourage him not to live here any more and decommission his estate.
Lori arranged for Makayla and Nathan to visit us for a couple days. She thought they might like to see the ducks at our neighbor’s farm across the street. Anne and Bill of Toad Hill Farm turned it into a major event to the delight of all.
First stop was the ducks, including one who has a role in an upcoming NBC crime program. From there we moved over to the chickens and then went inside to harvest some eggs for Nathan and Makayla. Then it was over to see the young pheasants and finally the turkeys. Bill was ever-patient answering the barrage of questions coming from all directions (including Lori and me).
Bill then fetched some fishing gear and brought us to the farm’s pond which is stocked with a variety of fish. After some initial gear confusion, we got things to the point where Nathan was able to cast his lure into the pond. It didn’t take more than a few tries for him to get the first and only fish of the day. Meanwhile Bill and I caught our limit of pond grass and we reached our limit of fishing relaxation in short time. Makayla was more interested in the frogs. Lori mostly mocked us as she mistook skilled technique calibration for inept bungling.
We all then retired for iced tea and apple cider to recount the adventures with appropriate embellishment. Bill and Anne went way “above and beyond” to treat us to a fun and memorable day, one that was a huge hit with Makayla and Nathan.
Lori has a birthday today. She consistently has one every year about this time. She’s very reliable that way. Normally we observe the occasion by doing a death march at Robert H. Treman Park in weather worthy of Satan’s hothouse.
This year was different on two fronts: the weather is uncharacteristically cool and Lori’s “on call” for customer service problems, limiting her flexibility. (It’s a new program her employer justifies by saying it helps software engineers develop customer awareness, much in the same way that requiring surgeons to rotate air-conditioning maintenance chores helps them develop operating environment awareness. Incidentally, in both cases money is saved by the employer–it’s a win-win! Except for the people laid off who used to do those jobs.)
This year we decided to visit Stewart Park in Ithaca; Lori had never been there and I hadn’t been there since my age was in the single digits. A windy cool day kept picnickers at bay but the park is quite the gem in any case. We will be back. We topped off the experience by having lunch at Ithaca Bakery, an old reliable favorite.
It has been a little over 2 years since Lori did her last pottery glaze firing. Over the Memorial Day weekend, we did our first glaze firing in her Newfield pottery studio (also known as the basement). Lori’s been trying out new designs for her distinctive church-key patterning plus she was eager to see if the old glazes were still usable. Things went well given how long she’s been away from it and she’s eager to continue the new momentum.
We have a particularly cold, snowy, and windy December and January. The last couple days have been brutally cold with temperatures dipping down around -60° (estimated) with wind chill factors making it feel more like -120° (estimated). Speech is difficult in these conditions as the vowels are nearly frozen out and even consonants become atonal ice cubes as they are formed in the mouth. When you exhale, the water vapor instantly freezes and gently snows to the ground.
Likely a manifestation of Mother Nature’s sense of humor, this frigid weather descended on us as Kali and Michael visited from Austin (temperatures in the 60’s this time of year). Not to be deterred, Lori sledded them around various Ithaca-area highlights in an assault of determined tourism, even including a stop for Purity Ice Cream (to warm up).
Fortunately we’ll be getting some relief soon as temperatures warm up into the zero range. But shortly after that, we’ll have a cold snap.
Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.
– Mark Twain
Lori wanted a big Christmas tree this year. She figured it was our first Christmas in the new home and we have a lot of open space in the living/dining area so a tree of appropriate scale was required.
I helped with a few of the logistics: securing the DOT permit to transport the tree to the house, renting hoist and scaffolding, adding structural support, etc., but Lori did all the decorating work. I’ll help again in a couple weeks (rigging and chainsaw work, hauling pieces out of the house, etc.) after Lori transitions from pleasure of scent, lights, and festive celebration to cursing at the carpet of needles on the floor.
Will Lori want to go jumbo scale again next year? Who knows? That’s part of the fun.
Winter has descended in Newfield, promising a white Christmas. (I hope Lori doesn’t notice the foot of snow–she moved to Newfield with the understanding that there would be no snow.) We were surprised by the postal arrival of a small Christmas tree lit with tiny LED bulbs, thanks to friends Pat, Steve, and Todd. I had it turned on when Lori arrived home and it was a huge hit; I think it instantly got her in the holiday spirit.
Speaking of Lori, she got a new work laptop recently (issued every couple years) and has had to spend time configuring it, getting acquainted with the different operating system, and so forth. Now, a laptop may sound rather pedestrian but a well-honed laptop in Lori’s hands becomes a battle axe. As a technical project manager she routinely machine-guns status demands, deploys code, inflicts meetings, and velvet-steamrolls impediments. Sometimes fragile egos get bruised but that’s just collateral damage in the heat of battle. The laptop is a weapon in the arsenal to Make Stuff Happen. Defeatists beware.
Meanwhile, it snows and winds howl in Newfield.