Framing digital prints is an extension of a print service provider’s (PSPs) services. Offering an end-to-end solution to customers provides an easy, one-stop shop environment. In the first part of this three-part series, American Frame was profiled. The company added wide format digital printing to its framing business after realizing the potential of servicing all of its clients’ needs under one roof.
Similarly, Red Wing Framing & Fine Art Printing, of Red Wing, MN, offers a variety of framing and giclée services to its customer base.
Company Background and Services
Red Wing Framing was founded in 2001. Located in a 3,000 square foot facility with a print area of 2,000 square feet and eight employees, John Patrick Becker, CEO, Red Wing Framing, and his staff offer a variety of services to international customers and clients in the upper Midwest.
Because the PSP’s business is equal parts framing and printing, multiple framing services are performed. These include museum level custom framing, canvas stretching, frame repair and restoration, mounting, and matting. The shop offered framing along with printing since the beginning, “We wanted to complement the custom framing by providing more of the entire image manufacturing process,” admits Becker.
The shop uses multiple machines to frame prints. A Pistorius double miter saw is used for mould cutting. Various wall cutters are for glass cutting and a Gunnar USA Inc. computerized mat cutter is utilized for cutting mats. The shop relies on a VacuSeal vacuum press for the mounting of art.
Print services, both fine art and general, include image restoration and color correction, large format printing, printing on canvas, acrylic prints, metallic prints, panel prints, glazing, weather-tolerant outdoor printing, printing on silk, backlit fabrics, and adhesive backing.
The PSP declares itself a Hewlett-Packard (HP) shop. To create digital prints it relies on two 60-inch HP Designjet Z6100ps printers and one 60-inch Designjet Z6200 printer, with another on order.
The printers are set to keep up with the shop’s busy schedule and the multiple mediums used. “We print every single day. We try to keep the printers as busy as possible. Typically we dedicate a printer to a specific media like watercolor, canvas, and photo paper,” explains Becker.
To ensure customers receive a well-rounded artistic experience other services offered by Red Wing Framing include art consultation, a corporate art program, and an online gallery featuring select artists.
Creating Happy Customers
With the print provider’s vast abilities and customer base, no one order is ever the same. “There are very few typical customers as this is the custom nature of our business. An order could begin with an original painting created many years ago by a relative who has since passed. Somebody from the family wants the original reproduced, printed, and framed for their siblings,” explains Becker.
Another order the PSP may receive is assisting businesses with decorations, such as the request from Oasis Eatery at Nesbitt’s Nursery. The company was looking for a way to decorate large, empty walls in its shop. Nesbitt’s supplied the PSP with photography of the food served in the eatery. Red Wing Framing created acrylic prints and mounted them with frames on the backside to make the images stand out on the wall. The Oasis Eatery and their photographer were happy with the project’s outcome.
A Soothing Installation
Photographer Linnae Carlson, a frequent customer, reached out to Red Wing Framing to aid in Carlson’s assignment at the Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Red Wing, MN. The goal was to provide calming imagery for the clinic’s surgical waiting rooms.
The installation was divided between two sides of the waiting area. One wall features a series of macro photography. Images of a classic car dashboard and the inner gears of a pocket watch were chosen to present viewers with complex images that would cause them to become lost in thought. The wall is considered a masculine installation, while the art installation opposite features a feminine touch with gallery wrapped images of flora and fauna.
The macro photography images are 16x24-inch acrylic prints mounted onto 20x28-inch floater frames. The acrylic prints were output with the HP Designjet Z6100ps on LexJet Corporation Sunset Photo Metallic Paper with a quarter-inch acrylic facemount. The flora and fauna 8x11- and larger 24x27-inch gallery wraps were printed using the HP Designjet Z6100ps onto LexJet Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas with one-and-a-half-inch stretcher bars.
The acrylic prints were a bit of a challenge. “Acrylics are fussy; they are very contaminant sensitive. It requires patience and a clean room environment,” notes Becker.
From request to execution the project took the PSP a month to produce. The Mayo Clinic and Carlson were both delighted with the installation.
A Fine Success
While offering framing alongside its fine art printing services, Red Wing Framing encounters many unique prospects. “Offering fine art framing creates new opportunities, especially on the commercial side of framing,” admits Becker. Whether it’s creating touching installations for families in their homes and tense areas or appetizing decorations for local businesses, the PSP meets any fine art print and framing request.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, The Fine Art of Framing.