Fun, Fabulous and Fantastic Matting
by Michele J. Emerson-Roberts ©



Take a look at the great matting examples that were provided to us by And Pictures This in Tacoma Washington. Stacy, the very talented owner has a knack for coming up the "perfect" design, color combination and style for some very unusual pieces of art. I think you will enjoy them as much as I have, and perhaps they will inspire you to come up with some innovative matting solutions of your own.  Remember, it's your likes and your style that should be reflected in your art collection and the matting and framing should reflect your taste.


Conservation matting and framing are used in all of the samples.


Example #1: This Birth Announcement Plate was a gift from the Maternal Great Grandparents and was destined to become a treasured keepsake. The new parents were at a loss as to how to best display it and keep it safe.


The 6" plate's colors of ivory, navy blue and a tiny bit of rusty red are a bit unusual for a baby and could have posed a problem. By playing up these colors in the matting and framing the plate in a rusty red 12"square frame; it truly is a work of art.


The back board/mounting and deep shadowbox frame are an exact match to the rusty red found in the plate. The center of the triple mat is "stencil" cut; ivory "V" groves are then pieced around the center mat. The second mat is ivory; the third mat is the same blue as the top mat. Notice how the vertical "V" grove lines on the top mat reflect the vertical lines found on the plate. Clear glass was used for clarity.



Example #2: The extraordinary Nan Goss mixed media woven piece is floated 3/4" above a black silk covered backboard. The walls of the frame are lined with pink mat board to enhance the art work and to keep the glass from touching it. Since many shades of pink are used in the art work, a perfect match was easy.


The 1 1/2" deep pearl teal frame is the perfect complement to Nan's gorgeous work and is repetitive of some of the colors in the art.



Example #3: The last few years has seen a huge increase in Cartoon Cell collecting.  Cartoon cells are made of Mylar and can easily be damaged by improper handling. This cell from an old Jerry Lewis cartoon was in excellent condition and quite valuable.


The challenge came when the owner of the art work couldn't decide what "cartoon color" mat he liked the best. The solution: use all of the four colors in the mat! The four different colored pieces were cut into chevron shapes and combined with white triangles. Notice that the points of the white triangles draw attention to the art work. The matt black frame and non glare glass complete the project.



Example #4: This commemorative art piece honors the indigenous people of Washington State. In keeping with the Native American theme as well as the colors used in the art work; white, red and black were chosen for the matting. The deep metal frame in the same shade of red was chosen to allow room for the non glare glass, 3/16" foam spacers and triple mats.


The bottom mat is a simple opening cut from a white mat board. The second mat is red and has a rectangle opening allowing 1/4" of the white mat to show. The black top mat contains all of the design elements.  It has "stencil" cuts in the shape of stylized arrows and continuing the design are triangle shapes cut from the inside corners. The white diamond shapes are inlayed into the top mat and further enhance the Native American motif.



Example #5 and #5B: This antique Gothic frame that belongs to the Children's Museum of Tacoma was perfect to showcase the hand lettered "thank you" proclamation. The "Characters" at the top and bottom of the document are rendered in ink and watercolor and are reflective of the medieval theme.


The castle shape single mat with red inlay in the open “V” groove is the perfect compliment to the antique frame. The castle is cut using a combination of oval templates and a straight mat cutter. The moon is cut freehand and has a silver metallic inlay. The tiny stars are hand painted with silver metallic acrylic paint.


Example #6: Tying the two very different sized carousel photos and the miniature carousel poles was a bit of a challenge. The client did not have room for two or three pieces of art so they all had to be encompassed into one unit.


The carousel poles had been constructed out of dowels, imported ribbon and beads and required a deep frame. The logical color for the backboard in the niches where the poles would be mounted was black, repeating the background color from both photos. The dark mauve and pink double mats with “stencil” cuts repeating the design on the poles complements the art work.



Example #7: The client is a fan of boxer “Indian” Joe Hipp and owned a limited edition poster of one of the boxer’s fights. His home decor was stylized Native American and he wanted to emphasize that motif on this prized poster.


The finished size of 22” x 28” is a great addition to his art collection.  The triple mat is marbled green for the top mat, Indian red for the middle mat and black for the bottom mat. The curves cut around the faces, zig zag shape around “the’ and the three blanket designs enhance the Native American style. The finished size of 22” x 28” is a great addition to his art collection.


These are seven great examples of completed projects that truly reflect the likes, style and taste of the owners of the art work.


Until next time.......



©2007 Michele J. Emerson-Roberts

webbed by South Sound Promotions