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Framing Specialist doesn’t Cut

Corners when Cutting Corners

What is art? Perhaps it depends on how you frame the question.

Frames are typically something that go around art, but for Andrea Hatch, the frames are artworks in themselves. The owner of Curiosity Art & Framing has won one international competition and claimed several other ribbons with her creative framing.

While most of her work does involve shaping designed and milled materials into rectangles for other people’s art, her competition frames go far beyond the everyday concept. Hatch started entering competitions to test herself, “to show people that you can do something a little bit different.

“It’s not just about making a frame; it’s about trying a new material,” she says. “It’s just about as much about challenging what I do as whether I win.”

What was initially a “lark” has become a “quiet addiction,” she says, noting that she has now entered every framing competition in the world except one in China. She’s had to hatch a lot of creative ideas, but, “It’s gone well,” she says.

Some competitions are sponsored by materials manufacturers, like Tru Vue or Larson-Juhl. Hatch’s win came in the 2017 Tru Vue competition, with a shadowbox of images and objects from a Jersey Boys movie. It included a scratch-made street lamp, four types of lighting, a Bluetooth speaker that played music from the soundtrack, and three thousand individually sculpted and painted bricks.

“It was nuts,” Hatch says. “I will never do another one as crazy as that one.”

Moments later, though, she’s unpacking a recent entry in the Fine Art Trade Guild competition. For a “Back to the ’80s” theme, Hatch created a green resin Ghostbusters shadowbox that lights up and “weighs a ton.” It took 48 hours to pour the resin, pouring layers every two hours (including through the night) so the resin didn’t crack or leave lamination marks.

In the dark, “this thing looks phenomenal because it just glows like ectoplasm,” she says.

In her design room hang several other entries. One has words written with individually cut, inlaid wooden veneer letters; another uses standard framing redesigned to look like book spines.

Hatch did sell one of her pieces, and her Beatles shadowbox has drawn many tire-kickers, but the prices are intimidating, given the labour and quality of the material. Unfortunately, one was stolen from a competition in Las Vegas – primarily for the rare, autographed Spider-Man comic book inside, she suspects.

“It’s now listed on the registry of stolen artwork.”

Most of what she sells is more basic framing, of course. With training and years of experience in conservation framing for museums, she understands how to give people’s work the protection it needs and deserves.

Hatch also operates galleries at her Red Deer shop and her original store in Stettler. She exhibits and sells work from local artists, coaching and guiding them through the world of art sales and building their reputation.

“The art world has less restrictions than the mob. There is no governing body that you can go to,” Hatch says.

Curiosity Art & Framing operates weekdays from 10:30-5, and Saturdays from 11-4. For more information, visit curiosityartandframing.com.

One corner in her Red Deer shop holds several the pieces Andrea Hatch has entered in competitions

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