How many times have we walked around galleries and marvelled at the paintings? How many times have we hung up pictures on our walls and felt proud of our homes? Have you ever thought about what type of frame to hang up? Ever marvelled at the frames housing those artist’s works? What’s a frame? Does it add to the value of the work?

All around the country framers are measuring art, cutting wood, slicing glass, mounting drawings, painting edges. Hours and hours go into making the perfect frame for the perfect piece. But is this unrecognised art important at all? 

I visited a local picture framer to ask him about his craft. Donny Christodoulides opened his picture framing business in April 2021. In the years leading up to this, he worked in a spray booth, painting frames for galleries. He got to learn the ins-and-outs of picture framing, to see the hours of work that go into a two-second glance at an exhibition. After hearing that a shed was available in his local area, he said, in an interview, “I saw an opportunity to do things on my own”. The Blue House Yard in Wood Green rents out sheds to start-up businesses hoping for a supportive environment to grow customer bases, after hearing about this opportunity from a friend, Donny started his journey as an entrepreneur; “I didn’t know that I’d end up here but I’m very thankful that I have.”

After opening, the Blue House Framer quickly gained popularity, however there was always an element of worry “what if nobody wants picture frames?” said Donny.  Despite his worries, Donny’s business grew quickly and demands kept growing so much that only a year or so after opening, he “asked the landlord if I could have next door as I outgrew the space.”  After asking what the biggest challenge he faced was, Donny replied “having to do everything on your own is challenging: labour, advertising, admin, finances, stock etc. My biggest challenge is keeping the balance.” Since the expansion, Donny has even hired his first member of staff, who helps out every Saturday, it seems Donny is addressing his work life balance too!

As a picture framer, Donny has worked on hundreds of pieces ranging from prints, pictures, drawings, canvases and even objects. A picture framer’s job is to tailor his frame to fit the artwork. To pick the right colour, mount, trim and style of frame so that is presents the work in a palatable and pleasing way to its audience, without distracting from the actual piece, only framing it in the best possible way. Donny says that his favourite piece he's framed were original Akira anime sketches for the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square, whilst the most-challenging award went to a “piece of artwork made out of rope that was very heavy (like 30 kg) that went in a tray frame” but did “look great in the end.”

In the 3 years the Blue House Framer has been open Donny has become an important part of this community both at the Blue House Yard and in the wider borough.  Quickly established as an artisan with his regular customers and service professional with many galleries, Donny has not forgotten to give back to the area.  Last year he curated a local art fair for artists from the area to showcase and sell their work and also held workshops for children with special educational needs to get involved with framing themselves.

Since its opening in 2021, the Blue House Framer has launched into success and become a valued part of its community. It has delivered heart-warming gifts to people's homes again and again, filled our galleries with cultural marvels and created a much needed creative and caring space in the local area. When asked where Donny sees himself in the future, he said; “I think I want to go somewhere, a high street maybe. It's a difficult question to answer because I think I'm just doing it sought of slowly at the moment”. No matter what the infamous Blue House Framer chooses to conquer next, I'm sure it will be a continuous, wonderful and successful journey.

Check out The Blue House Framer at:

Or pop in to say hello at: 5 River Park Road, Wood Green, N22 7TB