Catherine Garrett - The Framers Room

by Insiders Dunedin

When you look at a piece of art or a framed object on the wall, the subject is always at the centre of attention. Yes, a piece of art or an item of sentimental value can look amazing on the wall, but it can be easy to overlook how it is displayed and protected. A statement that led me to question whether I have ever thought about how safe that object on the wall might be or how long it might last? 

I caught up with Catherine Garrett, a lady that can easily answer the above question. Catherine is an Artist and Professional Picture Framer that has been framing for the past 13 to 14 years after dropping out of Art School. She now manages 'The Framers Room' that opened seven years ago this month. 

Catherine always knew she wanted to work in a Gallery where she could help other artists, as opposed to being one herself. She got into framing as the opportunity presented itself. Looking for a gallery job at the time, she was offered one that happened to be a trained position in picture framing.  

This job was one Catherine jumped at as there is no such course that you can take to get qualified. If interested you need to be trained by another already trained Framer, who is willing to help. From here you need to sit a British standard exam that will give you the title, 'Guild Commended Framer'. An exam that follows an intensive year of framing that proves you are a considerate framer. That you believe in conservation and do things properly to preserve the art or subject to the best of your ability. 

Alongside managing 'The Framers Room,' Catherine also helps out in the adjoining gallery, 'The Artist Room'. Both businesses work very closely together and are both run out of another great historic building our warehouse precinct contains. 

The Framers Room works with a lot of Dunedin based artists but also frames a lot of work from out of town. A challenging but achievable process in itself, managing a visual process via the internet. Despite this, a good portion of their work involves finding solutions for the public.  Catherine rattled off a huge list of items that people have come in to get framed. You could guess most of the typical item's such as rugby jerseys, certificates, diplomas, kids art and war medals. But, they also frame very obscure, but obviously hold great sentimental value objects, like a seat belt or a slingshot.  

The framing process is pretty straight forward but contains many variables. You start with a 'mount', or to anyone else might look like a piece of coloured cardboard. In reality, these are matte boards made from 100% cotton and will last forever. Following this, a frame is selected from a wide range of options, and then the glass is chosen to finish. A critical last step, which will drastically affect the frames ability to protect your art or object. 

Everything mentioned above is completed in-house at The Framers Room. Catherine works on every stage of the process including cutting the glass. The experience and knowledge required for such a process can not be dismissed. The variety of different woods or finishes possible is mind-boggling. Hence, why visiting someone like Catherine will save you a lot of time and pain. Her years spent framing thousands of pieces will go a long way in finding the perfect framing option for yourself. Better yet, she loves doing it! Catherine enjoys framing because it allows herself to focus on what is important to her; helping others. She proceeded to tell me, "there is nothing like watching people get really happy and excited when they have artwork or heirlooms, that I present and preserve nicely for them."

With this in mind, next time you are thinking of framing something you should go have a chat with her. The Framers Room provides free advice and is very approachable. If Catherine can't complete your framing needs, the rest of her team should be able to help. If you have a damaged piece of art or need something reconditioned The Framers Room have you covered. Titus is a specialist in restoring oil paintings and canvases, and Becky is a master with paper conservation.

If you are looking for someone to frame your next project, you can trust the team at The Framers Room. No job is too big or small. More importantly, you can relax knowing that your items will be safe. Catherine treats all items as irreplaceable and her team have a long track record of working on some incredibly valuable items. She has framed for her idol, Colin Wheeler. Not too mention some well-renowned artists like Ralph Hotere. 

Be sure to go visit The Framers Room located at Level 2, 2 Dowling St. 

Follow their work on Facebook - Here

Phone - 03 474 1112

Email -

Post submitted by Joshua Jeffery



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