The Fine Art Trade Guild, which we are members of, hold an annual International Art and Framing Industry Awards weekend. The awards are for businesses right across our industry from framing suppliers and manufacturers to individual artists and framers. There are framing competitions that include Best Mount Design and the Guild Framing Challenge. Framers like me are encouraged to pull out all the stops for their competition entries. The design must be ambitious, creative, well thought out, meet the entry criteria and be perfectly executed.
I decided to enter this year for the first time, the Best Mount Design: Hand Cut competition. All entrants were given the same image of an iconic Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair to design and create a mount for.
In March, I was delighted to receive the news that I had been selected as a finalist in the competition along with three other outstanding entries. Then, at the awards dinner, it was so exciting to hear my name announced as the winner that I couldn’t help utter a little shriek of astonishment and delight! The category sponsor ColourMount, Slater Harrison, a leading UK mountboard manufacturer presented me with my award.
Background to the Design
When the Fine Art Trade Guild announced that the subject for this year’s mount design award was to be the image of a Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair to celebrate 150 year’s since his birth, I knew I had to enter. I have been a fan of Mackintosh design since my teens when studying art & design at school. As a family we had strong connections in Scotland. We lived there when we were young and visited often. My brother & I were both born close to Glasgow.
I fondly remember searching out the Mackintosh buildings and iconic sites with my Mum in 1990 when Glasgow was the European City of Culture. I even dreamt at that time of attending Glasgow School of Art, one of Mackintosh’s most famous buildings. Ultimately, that wasn’t where I studied for my degree, but a fondness for that building remained. I was devastated to see it destroyed by fire for the second time in June 2018.
My mount design is a triple mount with cut out details within a channel in the second mount that reveal rich coloured velvet squares to reflect the upholstery of the chair. The uppermost mount combines an oval and straight cut combination with a debossed line to echo the curves in the back of the chair. The overall design is intended to be reminiscent of the Mackintosh style by incorporating a combination of stylised, organic curved elements with straight lines and geometric shapes. As in all good mount design, the colours used are intended to enhance and complement the image.
The mount was entirely cut with hand operated equipment as defined in the entry criteria for the category. A seperate category for CMC (computerised mount cutter) designs was introduced this year.
At the end of the evening, they announced the subjects for the 2020 framing competitions. They are ‘Street Art’ for the Mount Design and ‘Back to the 1980’s’ for the Guild Framing Challenge. So, thinking caps on!