Picture framers frame paintings, prints, photographs, certificates, textiles and collages to protect them from dirt and damage. They also frame 3D items such as dried flower arrangements, medals, sports trophies and museum pieces.
You could be:
discussing types of frame and materials with the customer
giving the customer a price and estimating how long the work will take
measuring and using equipment such as mitre cutters to cut materials for the frame and backing, and making them the right shape
assembling the frame, cutting glass to fit, mounting the artwork, glass and backing together, using frame tighteners and clamps
fixing the whole assembly securely, using pins, staples, tape or glue
attaching hooks or struts for hanging or standing
restoring old or damaged frames and framing pictures that need to be preserved
packing and perhaps delivering finished items
selling artwork and art materials.
Pay rates vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for picture framers in the UK can vary greatly, but a trainee starts on around £16,000 a year. Experienced framers may expect to earn in the range of £20,000 to £24,000 a year. Specialist framers may earn up to £30,000 a year. Many picture framers run their own business. They charge a fee, which varies depending on the item framed. It is not always easy to make a good income.
You could work for a frame maker or shop, an art gallery or museum or a photographer.
You could be self-employed working in your own shop.
You would usually be based in a workshop or in a shop with a workroom.
You would work regular hours, but, if in a shop, this is likely to include Saturdays.
You may have to travel to visit customers.
You might have to wear protective clothes – perhaps overalls and masks – when cutting wood or glass.
You may wear special gloves if you handle valuable artwork.
A good general education is useful. In addition, English, Art and Design or a technological subject at National 4 or 5 may be helpful.
You could take a private picture framing course or gain experience in a related craft industry before taking up this job.
Some picture framers take a college course in art or design first. Courses are available at different levels. NC/NQ (SCQF Level 4-6), HNC (SCQF Level 7), HND (SCQF Level 8) or degree (SCQF Level 9-10) .
It is helpful to have a driving licence.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
artistic, with a good eye for visual effect
good with your hands
able to concentrate and pay attention to detail
able to work alone
neat, accurate and methodical
aware of current designs
able to work to deadlines.
You also need:
good business skills if you are self-employed
good number skills for taking and calculating measurements
good customer service skills
health and safety awareness.
Training is usually on the job, under the supervision of an experienced member of staff.
You could prepare for the Guild Certified Framer (GCF) qualification from the Fine Art Trade Guild.
The Fine Art Trade Guild also offers advanced framing qualifications in textiles and mount design and function.
In larger organisations, it may be possible to gain promotion to a supervisory or management position.
You could become a specialist in framing fine art, conservation items or high value limited edition prints.
After suitable experience, you might be able to set up your own business. Some picture framers work part time, and have another job to supplement their income.
Building strong links with local art organisations such as galleries and studios will help you establish yourself in self-employment.
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