Guest Blog: Emerald Frames
In the second of my Guest Blog series, I interview Cath Friend from Emerald Frames which is an established bespoke picture framing service and gallery that has built a unique and professional reputation in the Buckinghamshire art scene
- .What is your business called and where did the idea come from?
Our business is called Emerald Frames, and we are an award-winning picture framing workshop. We offer a bespoke picture framing service, and we also have a gallery space where we exhibit lots of beautiful art, which has been created by some very beautiful people. The name comes from a combination of many different ideas, from green being my favourite colour, Emerald being one of my favourite songs (Thin Lizzy) and we also wanted the name to be simple, pleasing and easily remembered.
- How long has your business been running for?
Emerald will be 12 in January!!! Crikey, where does the time go? I started small, just working weekends and learning my craft, then jumped in with both feet when we opened our own premises in Chalfont St Peter. Dave and I now front the workshop with extra help from Josie at the weekends.
- What is your background?
My background is quite diverse, with my main career of spinal nursing for many years, before launching my own business. A bit of a side step, and a leap of faith, but a very happy transition from one world into another.
- What sort of services do you offer?
We offer a full framing service, from canvas stretching, textile framing, mount cutting and picture framing. Nothing is too big or too small for us to work on, and everything is special in its own unique way. As a family business, Dave and I are both qualified picture-framers, but I obtained some further, advanced qualifications, which specialise in Conservation and Museum standards. We are lucky enough to work with private archives, national galleries and influential artists, so we provide the highest level of service.
We always aim to provide the best framing service to all of our customers. We also host a busy gallery space, which focuses on supporting and exhibiting local unpublished artists throughout the year. This is typically accomplished through monthly solo shows at Emerald, with a cracking Christmas collective at the end of the year, although we occasionally host an impromptu exhibition for local charities.
- What’s the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to frame?
We have framed quite a few strange things in our time. I once framed a cycling picture inside a bike tyre! The tyre was the frame and fitting the glass was certainly interesting . . .
The most recent unusual project we framed was making a box frame to house a surgical instrument that removes varicose veins . . . which was a gift for a retiring vascular surgeon, and had been pimped up with diamante by the vascular team before framing (double checked… the instrument in question had never been used!!)
- What’s your favourite part of running your business?
There are many great parts to the business, but my favourite part is working with people and creating beautiful frames to complement their artwork. We are very lucky to see the most amazing things that people bring in to us every week, and we never know what’s going to be on our framing bench next.
- How have you had to adapt your business to cope with Coronavirus?
During the pandemic, Emerald has been impacted in many areas. Our biggest challenge has been closing our doors to customers during the lockdowns. We have tried to adapt by focusing on keeping in touch with our lovely customers and friends to let them know our latest news, and also by taking elements of the business online.
As we are currently in lockdown, our workshop is closed to customers, however I am listing our beautiful Christmas art exhibition online, and we are already taking appointments for when we are open once more.
- What’s the best feedback you’ve received from a customer?
We have the most amazing customers, from fabulous reviews, wonderful referrals, glowing online feedback, pots of jam, Christmas gifts and birthday cards. Emerald is a thriving business, which has been helped immeasurably by word of mouth referrals.
We are so proud and humbled by the support we have received from our friends in the community. It’s fantastic that so many people support local independent businesses, and place their trust in us us to help make their homes more beautiful.
- Where are you based and how can people contact you?
We are tucked away, a hidden gem in Chalfont St Peter. Our workshop and gallery space can be found at 1 Blay’s House, Churchfield Road. Chalfont St Peter. SL9 9EW
Our standard opening hours (in standard times!) are Tuesday to Saturday 9 to 5, however we currently work by pre- booked appointments.