Do you offer same-day framing?
There are framing shops that make a big deal about same day service, but what they offer is no different to our policy - if you need your framing done very quickly, and we have the material in stock, we can usually complete it within one working day. We like to focus on delivering the best quality possible, and most of our customers are happy to wait for a week or two, but if you have an urgent present to frame or an exhibition deadline we can almost always accommodate you. We would need to choose a moulding from our stock, but rest assured we have a couple of hundred different styles in storage out the back so we can generally find a frame that makes you happy.
I appreciate that you are a family-owned, local business, which promises authentic service and quality, but are your prices competitive with a chain picture framing store?
Yes. We regularly visit the chain picture framing stores (because it is good to know the competition) and we are generally surprised by how expensive they are for an inferior service.
Chain stores promise 'efficiencies of scale' but we think this a furphy. We keep our prices down by keeping a few, very good, staff, who know their craft. We save money and time by avoiding mistakes. We even promise to redo any frame you are not satisfied with, for free regardless of the reason, because we are confident that we will get it right the first time.
We spend relatively little on advertising or real-estate because our customers keep coming back, and they tell their friends that we are the best in the Highlands. When you come into our shop you will be served by an experienced, professional framer (not a customer-service kid with a pricing matrix) who has the skills to design and build a frame that is fully customised to your needs. Anthony, the owner, is usually on-site (not in an office somewhere), which means that we are agile and efficient, we know what our customers want, and you aren't paying for office staff or some guy in a suit counting his winnings.
You say that you make custom picture frames for the professional artists in the Highlands, but that sounds fancy. I just want to frame a picture of my mum! Can you help me too?
We are very proud to be the framer of choice for professional artists and galleries, but we bring the same skills and attention to all our customers, whether we are framing pictures of cats and kids, jigsaw puzzles or certificates. We aren't precious about what we frame, and we don't mind at all when customers ask us to recommend the cheapest or simplest option.
We believe that every object that comes into our workroom is precious for one reason or another, and it's our job to find the frame that suits you. We will explain the options in as much detail as you want us to, and find the frame that suits your budget.
How much does framing cost?
This is a tough question, because there are so many variables when it comes to framing. To give you an idea, we would need to know:
- The size of the poster / drawing / photograph / painting / item of memorabilia / print / object you want to frame.
- The moulding or frame you choose. Some frames, such as our Bellini range, are made and hand-finished in Italy and cost a lot; while some frames are made locally out of hand-selected timbers; and other frames are mass produced in a factory and are relatively cheap.
- Whether you want a single frame or a stacked frame; a frame with glass; a frame with glass and a mount; a frame with a double or triple mount, or fancy fabric mat-boards; a box-frame; or a memorabilia frame
- Your choice of glass or perspex, non-reflective glass, UV glass, UV non-reflective glass (art glass), museum glass, Perspex, or UV Perspex. We offer everything, but most people opt for conventional float glass.
- And finally, the level of conservation treatment. All our frames are made with an eye to preserving your artwork or object - we only use acid-free boards and tapes - but if you have an artwork or photograph of exceptional value we can offer museum quality conservation options including buffered rag mats, barrier tape to prevent off-gassing from your frame, Japanese tissue hinges and so on. This approach is very time-consuming and is necessarily more expensive.
Whilst we can't predict what your particular requirements might be, we also know how annoying to read these sorts of Q&As and feel like the question hasn't been answered! So to give you an idea, here are a range of price approximations for an A4 (210mm x 295mm) sized flat painting that has no conservation requirements. These are indicative prices, but you will be given a fixed price for your job when you come in.
- A basic frame: $46.00
- A basic frame with glass and backing: $73.00
- A basic frame with glass, backing and a mat board: $100.00
- A Bellini frame with a double mat: $175.00
Do you make mirrors?
Yes we do!
Do you frame sports jerseys?
Yes we do! However they take a lot of work to do properly, so the cost starts from about $450.
Do you offer ready-made frames like the ones at IKEA or Harvey Norman?
No. We don't pre-make frames or buy in ready-made frames because we feel we can offer a better service as a custom framer, making exactly the right frame for each piece. We can't compete with the very cheap frames at IKEA, which are mass produced out of low grade pulp and sold in huge numbers, and we'd rather not try.
Do you cut mat boards to fit into a frame I already own, or for a pre-made frame I have just bought?
Yes. We know that there are times when a cheap frame is the right choice, and so we don't mind cutting mats to fit artworks or photos to a ready-made frame.
Do you repair old frames
Yes. We often repair or resize old frames, but it does take time and there are limitations. Some frames are beyond saving or would cost more to repair than to replace. If you aren't sure, bring it in and we can give you an individual assessment.
What can I expect when I bring my picture, poster, item of memorabilia or painting for framing?
By virtue of the fact that you are spending money and time getting something framed we know that it is an item of real personal or monetary value. It might be a gift, or something that you value enough to put on your wall, or a statement about who you are. As a result, we respect and care for everything that comes into our workshop, and we will talk to you for as long as you need to select the best framing solution. We won't try to rush you, or do the hard-sell, and we will do our best to design a frame that suits your taste and budget, not ours!
When you visit us, you will be served by a professional framer who takes the art and craft of framing very seriously. You will be served by someone who makes picture frames for a living, and who has experienced all the many problems and issues that need to be addressed in frame design. You will not be served by a casual, fly by night, temporary employee.
Aaron has worked for Black Parrot since we started. He has been in the picture framing business for over a decade and loves the challenge of framing needlework, memorabilia and tricky objects. Anthony is the owner of Black Parrot and has been an artist exhibiting in galleries around Sydney for over 20 years. Anthony has a PhD in Art Theory and History from the University of New South Wales (COFA), and has experience in every facet of the art world from curating, to conservation work, teaching, exhibiting and framing. Between the two of them there are few problems they can't find a solution to!
Do you do conservation treatments?
We don't do conservation work however we have a good relationship with local conservators and can organise a consultation or assessment. We routinely organise conservation treatments for our customers. While the conservators we work with must charge for their time, we don't add anything to their fees.
What options do you provide for framing?
Frames: All of our frames are made from quality timber mouldings.
- Australian, natural timber frames
- Customised finishing of timber frames. We hand-finish raw timber frames in a variety of woods, including waxed finishes, lime finishes and hand-mixed coloured finishes to match your precise requirements
- A huge range of Megawood, Partos, M&N, Antons and APM mouldings on our display wall and out the back
- The flash Bellini range
Mat-boards: All of our mat-boards are acid free
- A big range of Bainbridge and Watermark white-core and black-core boards
- Rising Museum Boards and Artcare boards
- 2 ply, 4 ply and 8 ply boards including solid core boards
- fabric mats and designer finishes
- Float glass
- Reflection control glass and perspex
- UV glass and perspex
- Art Glass