Theatrical elements and a steampunk design have landed a Red Deer picture framer an international prize.
Andrea Hatch and her daughters Emilie and Rebekah, of Curiosity Art and Framing, collaborated on an eye-catching box frame that won ‘The Frankie’ award at the West Coast Art and Frame Show in Las Vegas.
The Red Deer team was up against 30 competitors from across North America for this design award, sponsored by Frank’s Fabrics of California.
Andrea calls the win “awesome,” saying, “I really liked that we tried a lot of new things,” and that the judges understood and appreciated these innovations.
The deep-set picture frame displays an old-fashioned pilot’s cap and goggles. It features interior lighting, a cog-and-gear relief design, and utilizes cutting-edge materials — including thermoplastics that can be shaped with heat.
While the frame was created over about 40 hours in Red Deer this winter, the steampunk idea had been percolating in Andrea’s head for about eight years — ever since she bought the cap and goggles at a Cirque du Soleil show in Edmonton.
Since then, interesting new materials became available. Rebekah, who was involved in cosplay, brought Fosshape and Worbla to the table.
Used in theatrical set and costume design, Fosshape is a non-woven thermal material that can mold itself into different shapes and harden when heated with a hair-dryer-like air gun. Andrea said it was used to create the head shape that the cap and goggles are displayed on inside the frame. Worbla is a similar thermal plastic.
Her daughters also brought their electrical and precision cutting skills to the project. “It’s really nice to see everybody’s contribution,” she added.
Andrea’s next goal is to win a prize at the Fine Art Trade Guild Show in Europe. “That would be my hat trick,” admitted the local business owner, who had also previously won finalist recognition at the Truvue Glass Company show in the U.S. in 2017.
While intricate designs aren’t often used in day-to-day picture framing, Andrea said the steampunk frame will be displayed in the store to give customers an idea of what individualistic touches could be applied to their framing orders. “It’s nice to show people that you can do something very simple, or you could add some complexity — or even go over-the-top.”
Curiosity Art and Framing, at 5002-48th St., has operated in Red Deer for three years. The Hatch family also has a picture framing business in Stettler.