Business is a frame job

[attach]6663[/attach]Julie Walsh once framed a fish.

“A dead fish,” she says. “It had been taxidermied, but still.”

She’s also framed narwhal tusks, and was once approached about immortalizing a tarantula shedding.

It’s not the sort of source material she usually works with, but it proves Workshop Gallery Framing’s claim: if they can lift it, they can frame it.

The shop moved to Danforth and Pape back in September because Walsh says she needed more space.

“It’s bigger, brighter,” she says of the new building. “It’s also closer to a lot of people I’ve been framing for, anyway.”

Inside the store, Walsh displays a number of her own framed items, such as a taekwondo belt, and a chewed-up book and pair of eyeglasses alongside a photo of a dog.

She also hangs examples of her own paintings, as well as pieces by local artists.

“I’m an artist and was framing my own stuff,” Walsh says. “I was in business and knew that I would open a business at some point in my life. So it just seemed to make sense that it would be a gallery with a framing shop.”

The store pays special attention to each piece, since framing a fish and a piece of original artwork are very different projects.

“Good-quality picture framing will outlast your car, and your stereo, and your house, sometimes,” Walsh says. “It can be passed down through generations.”

The shop’s materials vary based on what’s needed, from museum board to glass designed to prevent fading.

Walsh works with companies that are involved with reforestation efforts, and donates leftover offcuts from projects to schools for use
in art classes. Old frames that are still serviceable are given away.

Walsh and her daughter, Vanessa, do all the framing themselves. The work is done out in the open, where they can show customers the process and explain how it works.

“There’s no secrecy behind what goes into framing,” Walsh says. “Having that dialogue with people and including them in the whole design phase, it makes for a good relationship.”