Frame Shop

In Home Life, Work Life
For our third and final home-themed post this week, we wanted to share the transformative way we are thinking of our own home – or more specifically, how one half of our basement is becoming a frame shop.

About a decade ago (maybe a little more) Cassie worked at two different professional framing shops in Gainesville, Florida, which helped pay her way through university. It was cathartic work. It required creativity and craftsmanship that varied with each piece of artwork, but it was reliable work – one step after the other. Measuring art, choosing weights and styles for frames and mats, cutting mats, glass and moulding, piecing everything together, meticulously cleaning between each step.

It was easy to find the flow and zone out, and there was something satisfying about glue on skin, the smell of sawdust and sounds of wooden blocks falling to the floor as the chop saw released the moulding. Quite different from designing on computers.

After a decade of working in technology, the pull toward the physical world has gotten stronger. We’ve both felt more of a desire to work with our hands and make tangible things, whether books, posters, prints, or frames.


When the opportunity came last fall for us to purchase some framing equipment from a neighbor, we hummed and hawed but ultimately hauled home our new 300lb chop saw (thanks Steve!), boxes of glass, mat boards, moulding and nearly every bit of equipment that Cass needed to relive her college days.

So it was that amongst other home renovation projects, we allocated space in the cellar for framing. The first piece we thought we would frame was a gift Mark gave Cassie for our fourth wedding anniversary: a Japanese version of a 33 record with the lesser-known single by Elvis, “Any Way You Want Me” – our wedding song.

ELVIS PRESLEY Anyway You Want Me 1956

Although the frame job and the shop itself are works in progress, it is progress none-the-less, and we look forward to hanging the framed piece.

After sitting in a nearly-empty house for over a year, it is satisfying to think of how we are now beginning to use various spaces in our house. This week we borrowed a book from our midwife called Birthing the Easy Way and we randomly opened a page to this passage:

“Home. The word brings thoughts of comfort, relaxation, familiar surroundings, and people we love. […] The home used to be the centre of life’s activities, where the most joyful and sorrowful events happened, surrounded by the closest family members. Sick people were nursed at home, old people died at home, and babies were born at home. Parents worked at the home and children got their education at home.

Things have changed. While home is still a sacred place, we spend more of our lives separated. Parents go to work; children go to to school. The youngest go to daycare, the oldest go to nursing homes. Birth and death – the most significant of life’s events – occur in hospitals.”

We love the idea of the home as a central place in one’s life and family. We also feel immensely grateful that we don’t have to accept that disconnect between work and home. Technology has allowed us this privilege, letting each of us work from home full-time and balance our workloads with care for our daughter.

But it’s also satisfying to know our home accommodates many different kinds of work, work that satisfies different parts of our brains. We intentionally designate space for creation and for doing things we’ve always dreamed of doing, like having a frame shop.


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