The Framing Extravaganza

The Framing Extravaganza

Maxwell Ryan
Jan 12, 2006

Since I moved into my apartment 8 months ago, what remains of artwork I have amassed over the past decade has been leaning against all my walls in a very haphazard and displeasing manner. The tipping point came when I saw a little mouse run from behind one of my framed drawings! After fleeing into the empty, pre-dawn streets for a couple of hours, I returned to my house still scared but with the resolve to hang all the art immediately! (I thought, and still hold to the premise, that if I remove all hiding spots, rodents will lose interest—that and keeping the heat at a minimum.)

My new New York apartment has one official room and thus very few walls, but the walls it does have are 13ft tall. The plan, then, was to put as much of the drawing/painting/collages on one wall as possible. The second wall is reserved for photography and the third wall is the infamous striped wall—the finished version of which I will post another time.

In that I hate the permanence and violent nature of a wall full of nails and hooks, I knew I had to find a different approach for hanging the artwork. In that I really miss the molding of my 1920's San Francisco apartment, I decided to recreate it here, modern style. At first, I wanted to get an ironsmith to custom-make a long rod out of cordon steel that I could mount to the wall and from which I use hooks to hang each piece. The ironsmith I visited in Brooklyn proved too ornery, however, so I moved on to plan B. I was so excited by the excuse to visit my favorite employee, Jack, at Sid's hardware on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. While in that store, and with the Jack's help, most answers seem to bubble effortlessly to the surface. We devised the method you will see in the slideshow.

I bought one 8 foot long, 1/8 inch thick strip of anodized aluminum, and 25 metal washers. I already had my TOGGLER® (click here for cool anchor installation video) anchors appropriate for a hollow-wall situation. It was going to be relatively simple, it was much cheaper than the steel alternative, and it was fun to carry my aluminum strip home on the subway.

The result, fully dependent on the integrity of the anchors I used, is thus far, great. Instead of crafting hooks for each piece, I kind of cheated and looped the fishwire around the aluminum bar itself. The hooks would have added flexibility, but I don't think I valued their benefit quite enough to warrant how much work it would have taken to make them. I still have a wall full of art that I can move around if necessary and that all seemingly hovers above ground and slightly away from the wall. --jill (not maxwell)

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