The PCP is making affordable, quality, black gallery frames made by American craftsmen in Lancaster County available to its members. We offer a limited number of common sizes of one frame style and color, not to compete with the many fine frame shops in the area, but rather to provide an alternative to the mass market outlets many of our members feel forced to resort to when they need to buy frames for an exhibition.
Why are we doing this?
Few people consider framing to be “fun”, but what used to be a relatively straight-forward job has become increasingly difficult and frustrating in all respects. Trying to get even simple, black, gallery frames has become an almost impossible task. With most non-custom frames being made in China, the quality has gone down to the point that seems that you can’t get a decent frame from any of the large art/craft stores or even many of the larger art supply stores. It has gotten so bad that we have had two prints (and the glass) literally fall out of the bottom of their frames when they gave way – while hanging on the wall.
Almost all of the mass merchant frames that we have seen have one or more of the following problems:
1. The frames do not provide enough room to include a front mat and a backing board – and forget about double matting. They simply won’t close with the provided retention system and you have to use it unless you’re feeling very inventive. (Most of them use a cardboard back with little swivel clips that go into a groove on the inside of the frame to hold things in place.) They expect you to mount the print on their backing board, which may or may not be acid-free (don’t bet on it.) Once you try to use one of these frames, you’ll see why that is a terrible idea.
2. Many of the larger frames are now coming with clear acrylic rather than glass to: a.) Reduce the weight to lower shipping costs; b.) Cut down breakage; c.) Increase profit margins. The problem is that it makes your prints look awful as the plastic sheets are prone to heavy distortion and the gases from the plastic do terrible things to your prints over time. Do you sell archival prints? Not if you mount them in frames with plastic rather than glass in front.
3. Interior surface flaking. Most non-custom frames are made from compressed wood or fibre products and unfortunately many of today’s frames flake as soon as they are touched. After spending the considerable effort that it takes to make sure the glass and print are spotless, there is nothing more frustrating than to have to remove the print to reclean it simply because the frame flaked when you “brushed” the inside of the frame as you were inserting the print.
4. If scouring through dozens of frames trying to find one or two that aren’t beat-up and have corners that actually meet in the right places is your idea of a good time, then go for it. It’s not our idea of fun but each to his own.
Lancaster County craftsmen, who use quality materials and take pride in their products, make our frames for us. They are affordably priced and include glass and an acid-free foam backing sheet. We are selling frames as a service to our members because we know that many of them have suffered through the same frustrating experiences that we have. The profits from frame sales go to support the PCP much the same way that the profits from Girl Scout cookies go to support that organization. (Admittedly, their cookies taste better than our frames.)
We keep a limited number of frames in stock in the following sizes and order regularly. If you know you are going to need frames, please give us a call as we will either increase our base order or specifically order your frames. Turnaround time is approximately two weeks.
We do not do one-off custom sized frames. However, if you need 5 or more frames in a particular size we will be happy to provide a quote.
Frame Prices (includes glass and backer)
11 x 14 – $13.99
16 x 20 – $22.99
20 x 20 – $26.99
18 x 24 – $27.99
14 x 28 – $28.99
22 x 28 – $34.99
I saw a mat cutter at the PCP. Do you cut mats to go with the frames?
Yes, we have a mat cutter but no, we do not cut mats. You can buy pre-cut mats if your images are of a standard size at most art supply stores and if you need a custom cut mat you’ll find that any frame shop can help you out.
Do you ship frames?
No. Frames must be picked up at the PCP. To make things a bit easier, we will sell through camera clubs so if the club wants to put in an order and then have one person pick them up that would be fine with us.
Do you sell any other colors or style of frames?
No. We are not out to become a frame store. This is a service to address one common need within the photographic community. That said, if there is a demand we may add the same style frame in white.