By Allison Jones
The Greenup Beacon
Smile! *click* You’ve just captured the perfect picture of your family on vacation, in addition to painting the landscape of your travels.
You’re so proud of your work that you decide to get them framed. You want an independent business that is local and trustworthy and that will make a frame to format your works’ unique specifications. The business that matches this description and is located in Flatwoods is the Framing Bird.
The Framing Bird is a small, single employee run business that has been in the Flatwoods area for nine and a half years.
Employee and owner John Adkins builds custom frames and shadow boxes to showcase his clients’ pictures, artwork, documents, posters, needlework, and other unique pieces.
Since opening, the Framing Bird has relocated from its small yellow house on Bellefonte Road to an office next to the Flatwoods Papa John’s and overlooking Super Quik.
It has also changed to a strictly framing business.
“When I started my framing business, I sold small gift items,” tells Adkins. “After my frame business got better, I decided to focus my time on framing only.”
This framing business has a very original name. So how did Adkins come up with it?
Adkins says: “I had a hobby building bird houses. I sold them in gift shops: at the Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop, Keeneland’s Gift Shop, and the Greenbrier Gift Shop. Later, when I decided to open my frame shop, my wife, Gayle, suggested the name the Framing Bird because I would sell the bird houses in my shop.”
While Adkins no longer sells birdhouses in his shop, his passion for wood working can be seen in his frame building and decision to pursue starting the business.
“I was a contract mechanical draftsman and travelled to different states for work,” informs Adkins.
He travelled for many years and kept up his bird house and frame making hobbies at home. Adkins started his frame building pastime in his basement, making them for his family and friends.
But as he acquired more and more equipment and more pieces to frame at a time, Adkins’ travelling job became more difficult and less driven to a point where it got too hard to work both. His passion was at home.
“I decided to stay home with my family and continue working by opening my own business, my frame shop.”
Customers typically order frames from Adkins by going to the shop where they, along with Adkins, choose mats and frames best suited to enhance the customer’s artwork.
Inside the Framing Bird is a diverse selection of frames displayed across the walls and on racks. The mats are filed on a separate rack and are chosen to follow the color scheme of the customer’s artwork and make the piece stand out.
To the rear of the store, behind the room dividers, are the large tools used to build the frames.
Frame building is an art in itself that requires a lot of time and equipment to create a durable frame. While the frames themselves are not being crafting in the Framing Bird, they are being put together, or put in shape.
Some of the tools needed to build a picture frame are: wood or plastic or metal, glue, a cutting board, an under-pinner, a dry mount, glass, a glass cutter, mat board, and something to be framed.
The Framing Bird often builds wood frames, which can be made from any type wood, carved, painted or not, then placed together.
The glue is used to stick the corners of a frame together instead of nailing them and damaging the frame; screws are often used for metal frames. After being glued, the frame is place in the under-pinner, a device used to hold the frame together securely while the glue dries and prevent knocking it askew.
A dry mount is a sizable pressing tool that uses heat and pressure the permanently mount a print to a mat or back of the picture frame.
Once the frame is built, it needs to be fitted for glass so the piece on display can be seen and protected. For the glass to fit in the frame it will need cut by a glass cutter, a large tool with a sharp blade to cleanly cut the glass into various shapes and thicknesses to fit into the frame. After the frame has been made and the glass has been cut, it is time to use the cutting board to cut the mat(s) that will enhance the work being framed. A cutting board is a large square slab of word with a blade and ruler on one end used to measure and cut big pieces of paper or mat board.
When choosing multiple pieces of mat board to border and compliment artwork, the alignment can be tricky. To solve this problem, Adkins uses a tool of his own invention called a mat spotter.
This small, hand-held device clamps two mat boards on their corners, angling them so that they are both visible when framing the piece. Adkins uses his mat spotter daily at the Framing Bird, and has the available for purchase through Picture Framing Magazine.
Going on 10 years of business, Adkins has had a very successful business and plans to improve it more.
“Moving into the better location, here in the Super Quik mall, has already improved business,” he says, getting more visitors in his current office as it is in a more populated area.
His old office still stands and isn’t far from the current Framing Bird office, but it is over shadowed by the Super Quik mall.
Adkins’ plans for the Framing Bird’s future is to build and grow his customer contacts. He devotes all of his time to his business to make this plan happen.
The Framing Bird can be reached at (606) 833-1766. The store is open Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
It’s open Saturday from 10 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon and closed on Sundays and holidays.