So how does a picture frame mouldings company come about?
Passion for the frame! Passion for bringing something unique (yet so simple) to a starved industry! When you look to our neighbours across the seas, the design options will blow your mind when it comes to framing. So many suppliers, so much creativity. From your basic length to multiple makers of fine art hand finished frames using modern and traditional techniques, such as water gilding.
Australia is a great land but we are so far removed from the rest of the world and with a small population our wholesalers have to make hard choices as to what to import. There are almost no companies manufacturing the mouldings here. Everything is imported from overseas companies already finished in length.
This has always troubled me. Why when we have so many resources here are we bringing in the same old same old from overseas. The other issue is that the market of custom framing in this country is small as most people don’t think to turn to a custom framer, but instead head to the nearest Ikea. Urghh! (That’s another story for another post) This has seen wholesalers being driven into a price war and when price is the driving factor quality and uniqueness in offerings suffers. It is such a long way to import these products so they have to make decisions based purely on business and design variety is secondary. Not that that is a bad thing but it can stifle creativity.
About five years ago I was part of a breakfast network group and one of our members made vertical gardens. I had given a 10 minute talk on some hand finished frames we had been creating. At this point we only had access to raw pine in limited profiles. After the meeting he pulled me aside and said “I can get you better timbers”. My mind raced with ideas and we organised to catch up for coffee. He presented me with the golden cherry, all these amazing native Australian hardwoods that I didn’t even know existed. My first thought was the simple box mouldings. We got started on picking species and standard profiles. We started with just your every day 2030 in about 6 species. Testing species for consistency in quality, work-ability and popularity.
From there over the years we built up new shapes, even introducing canvas float profiles, grooves, and inlays. Our clients loved them. Blackbean certainly proved to be the favourite, even though I would have thought Silky Oak would have come out on top. Once a client had a taste of our native timber range there was no going back for them. Not only we were providing a product of substance and with the heart of Australia ingrained in it, the timber is sustainably grown and 100% supports local industry. It was a win win all round.
It was early 2018 that my now friend, Bernd, and I began talking about the possibility of taking this to the framing market on a national level. We both knew that we needed each other to get it off the ground. Him from the manufacturing side and me from the business side. Who better to create a product for framers than a framer. Over the years we had ironed out almost all the issues that are normally faced in framing with working with natural products. After careful consideration and many chats, ARTIS PURA Mouldings was born. We officially launched on the first of July, 2018. We have started small as the capital investment had to come from our little framing shops profits.
We found ourselves a great warehouse not to far from our studio (working mum and wife with now two businesses proximity was imperative) and my husband, Gino, joined the team as the general manager. My dear friend Grant also took a plunge and joined us as our Accounts Manager. I mean, I still have a custom framing studio to run, and it is my heart. The future looks bright and I am brimming with design ideas and energized by what we can bring to our industry.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful framers who have supported us in these early days. I hope that this is one way that we can help energize our industry and support Australian made.