Are you an art connoisseur? Or perhaps you’re looking to frame that favourite memory from your last European trip (a distant memory, we know)? Maybe you’re just mad for Slim Aarons prints? Whatever your style, desire or idea, Melbourne-based custom framing experts Framing To A T will be able to curate a unique piece for your home to shine.
In the business of custom framing for over 30 years, husband and wife duo Tony and Cath Stocks lead a small team of more than just professional custom framers but rather, designers curating premium conservation framing – craftsmanship at its finest.
Framing To A T are also purveyors of trends, and are one of the only suppliers to original Slim Aarons prints in Australia – the American photographer who was renowned for his intimate photographs of celebrities, jet-setters and socialites, as they holidayed in the hills of Hollywood to the French Riviera.
With every order, you can expect an individually-framed piece that is constructed in a way that protects and preserves your artwork, using conservation-grade materials, sustainably sourced timbers and expert framing techniques, ensuring your art will last a lifetime.
Man of Style: Tell us a little bit about FRAMING TO A T? How did the business begin? 30 years on, what’s changed?
Annie Stocks: Framing To A T Framers & Designers have been supplying quality bespoke picture framing since 1989. It was established by my Mum and Dad, Tony and Cath Stocks, and we’re proud to offer Australian-made custom framing, framed art, TV-Mirrors and interior decoration from our three Melbourne locations.
Beginning the business in a small factory space in Hallam, over the three decades in business we have sought out new machinery and technology, developing our handcrafted trade to a refined and precise product of exquisite quality. We have since expanded our small factory space to a 400 sq. mt. state-of-the-art workshop with a team of qualified picture framers that have an unwavering dedication to producing high-quality craftsmanship, integrity in production, sourcing high-quality materials and excellent customer service.
Together with Tony’s skills of creating, problem-solving and design, and the love of interior decorating, art and styling that Cath and I share, Picture Framing seemed the perfect fit 30 years ago and has developed into the business we have grown today.
MoS: As a quality, custom framer, how important is craftsmanship to you?
AS: Craftsmanship is integral in protecting and preserving artworks, photography and artful objects. Our team of picture framers are all qualified, learning our trade and specific techniques to produce a beautifully made framed product.
We don’t cut corners to cut costs, we only use quality materials and our Design Consultants in store create frame designs that are thoughtful and considered to ensure our customers’ art is cared for with well-designed framing.
MoS: When people are looking for a piece of art and a frame to match for their home, what are some tips you can offer to do so in a way that’s effective, effortless and stylish?
AS: There are so many beautiful avenues for discovering and sourcing art and inspiration. With art prints, photography and original art of diverse styles filling our digital and social media, there has never before been such a selection of quality art to unearth.
You may find a style of art or artist’s work as seen in a store, magazine, on a design website or even via social media. Many of our customers source art they love through these mediums and bring their purchase in-store to FRAMING TO A T for custom framing.
Selecting custom framing for an artwork or photographic print is such an exciting process in completing your art purchase or art piece. We recommend seeking advice from professionals to create a custom framing design that complements the art piece, that works with your home and suits your personal style.
We feel very strongly about shopping consciously and with purpose, from everyday choices, to where your art is sourced and how the framing is produced.
MoS: What’s the most important thing to consider when selecting artwork for your home?
AS: Choosing art for your home is one of our favourite aspects of interior decorating. An artwork brings personality and style to a space. We believe the artwork should be a piece that really speaks to you; a piece that sparks an emotion or memory and makes an impression.
There is no rule to follow as to when you purchase your artwork; in fact, an artwork can often be the inspiration for decorating and styling a whole space.
If you have multiple pieces that you love, we recommend placement on the wall in a gallery-style installation, rather than having many art pieces on every wall. Size of the artwork and framing is important for the balance of a space, as well as the installation and placement of the art. This is another aspect we love to assist our customers with to ensure an art-filled space flows beautifully.
MoS: Tell us about your Slim Aarons offerings: has this been a popular choice for homeowners looking to add a splash of aspirational style to their home?
AS: Absolutely! Slim Aarons was among his generation’s most influential photographers. His works span from the 1950s through to the 1980s, always in his typical style of playful, fun, vibrant and candid photography.
If we can’t escape for a European summer or holiday abroad, we love that Slim Aarons’ photography has the ability to transport us across the world through a beautiful stretch in time to spectacular locations. Over the decades of photographing beautiful people in exquisite places across the world, we love seeing the way the fashion and style changes in front of Slim Aarons’ lens.
At FRAMING TO A T, we have the complete Slim Aarons archives available exclusively to us, which are owned and housed by Getty Images.
These beautiful photographs are authorised and printed on demand in London from the original negative and of course, are finished with beautiful custom framing by our team.
MoS: What does the process look like for someone who places an order for framed artwork with FRAMING TO A T – what can they expect in terms of service and support?
AS: Purchasing artwork is a very personal experience and an investment so it is important for us to get to know our clients. When our customers come to us in stores or get in touch remotely, we discuss what it is that they like and what they are looking to introduce to their home. We want to assist in creating spaces where our customers’ own styles, experiences and energy are complemented in the styling of their home.
Often sharing photos of the space where our customers are looking to introduce an artwork, we assist with size and scale and talk about options for the frame design.
When you visit our stores, our selection of framed artwork is merchandised and styled to inspire and help you visualise the art in your own home and see how pieces can be framed. Together we can start to develop some ideas for art curation and interior decoration to complete your interiors.
We also find some of our customers often come to us with a clear idea of what they are looking to purchase and how they wish to have it framed. In this case, we can source art and supply custom framing, with purchases completed with delivery and installation.
“Purchasing artwork is a very personal experience but also an investment; artwork brings personality and style to a space.”
MoS: Where are your materials sourced from and is sustainability an important aspect for the business?
AS: We have always been conscious of our footprint in the industry, overhauling harmful materials and only looking to produce conservation framing, using materials that are sustainably sourced and more conscious of our environment. Operating and producing sustainable products is so important to us personally and as a business, and supplying ethically sourced timbers is a huge part of this.
When plastic mouldings were first introduced to the picture framing market, we made a conscious decision not to include them in our range. It was about the look of the product, the quality of the finish and the overall integrity. It would almost feel like we were cheating our customers away from what we offered as a handcrafted, expert skill using handmade picture framing timbers if we were to conform to this industry ‘trend’.
We love to offer unique mouldings designed and produced by local manufacturers as well as artisans in Italy for some of our really special frame designs. For our home-grown timbers, we use plantation timbers which offer a diverse range of frames to suit any style of interiors.
The more sophisticated techniques that we use today help preserve artworks and photographs, the less waste we’ll see in the interiors industry and the more confidence our customers have in investing in framing.
MoS: Are there any misconceptions about framing art? Would you say frames are almost as important as the artwork themselves?
AS: A beautifully framed artwork can absolutely transform the tone, mood and style in a space. Some people are nervous at the idea of framing their artwork or photography with the concern that a frame may take away from the art itself. This is not the case if the frame size, design, colour and texture is chosen to complement the artwork and not compete with it.
We strongly feel the frame design can make or break a piece, from the simplest of art prints to the most expensive original art investment. Not only is custom framing going to protect your art, but it is much more polished and ‘finished’ when hanging on your wall.
MoS: FRAMING TO A T seems to have had a big year, recently appearing on The Block – what’s next for the business?
AS: Thank you! We have been thrilled to partner with The Block over the last few years and to have not only our custom-made TV-Mirrors but our beautiful Slim Aarons prints included on this series, we are very grateful for the opportunity.
In 2021, we hope to continue to educate our customers on sourcing quality framing, art and homewares. I think as people move away from fast fashion, to quality in design and production, locally-made and vintage, we stress that ‘fast interiors’ also needs to stop. We hope for people to shop consciously and with the intention to reduce the ‘makeshift’ mindset of mass-produced products and opt for custom made, small, local and unique!
For more information or to organise a consult with a framing professional, visit FRAMING TO A T here.