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Lunenburg Framing & Studio
Lunenburg Framing & Studio

Creating heirlooms and making memories last

Rachel Bailey

What do cardboard and silverfish have in common?

 Mike and Brenda Nodding, who own and operate Lunenburg Framing & Studio, warn anyone hoping to preserve artwork or other framed treasurers that both are serious threats. Custom framing is their specialty and avoiding these and other potential spoilers of cherished photos, artwork, prints or mementoes is just part of what they can do for their customers.

 Mike and Brenda run the business from an addition to their home at 65 Montague Street in Lunenburg. They have a large selection of custom framing choices but their growing clientele are most impressed with the personalized service they receive.

 Sandra Crouse has all of her cross-stitch framed there. "They really take an interest in their customers," she says."Brenda is wonderful in matching colours. She takes the time to find out what you want. We talk. I go home and come back and it's just what I wanted. She has a knack for doing that."

 "People really appreciate that we take time for them, that we're willing to spend time helping them," says Brenda.

 Choosing a frame and matting to make a customer's artwork look its best is half the challenge and actually framing it is the other half. The couple divides the work relying on their individual talents to best serve their customers. "We make a good team," says Brenda.

 Mike developed his skill in framing by doing his own photographs. He went to wholesalers for the materials and industry literature and discovered there was much to learn. Enjoying what he was doing was the incentive to hone this skill to a professional level.

 "Framing is as much a science now as it is an art," says Mike. "There have been big advances in developing new materials for the framing industry over the years."

 Acid free material is now available to preserve framed artwork. Mat board to capture pollutants to protect the art and special protective glazes are also used.

 "You can get cheaper materials," says Mike, "but we've decided this is the way we're going to go. Quality is very important to us."

 Although now members of PPFA (Professional Picture Framers Association), custom framing started as a sideline of the craft shop Mike and Brenda ran from their basement 10 years ago while both were working full-time night-shift jobs. They took a real interest in framing, began investing in more equipment and further developed their skills and knowledge. As requests for their custom framing grew, the craft shop was closed and Lunenburg Framing was born.

 Mike and Brenda speak fondly of their shared dreams of having a child and opening their own business full time being realized at the same time. Construction of the addition to their home to accommodate the business began April 11, 2001, the day their son was born.

 As Brenda says, "There was no turning back."


Mike Nodding prepares a prized MacAskill print for framing.

 Mike and Brenda apply the same values in running their business that they use in parenting. They are nurturing their business with a commitment to doing their best for their customers, building trust as they go. They speak of their customers with the utmost respect and, using repeat business as an indication, they get the same in return.

 In addition to their many local customers, they have some who send items for framing from various parts of the United States and some who bring things with them on annual visits. "We're really pleased we have people come back to us year after year," says Brenda.

 Dave Burns, a fellow photographer whose work is

 sold at Lunenburg Framing & Studio, offers his

 observations. "Customers trust them. They have a good reputation. They do good work."

 "When the customer comes back and they see the picture framed and they go 'wow,' that's the biggest joy to us," says Mike. "That's when you know you're doing a good job."

 Teaching is crucial to parenting and in a similar vein educating the customer in the many options available to them is a service Brenda and Mike take very seriously.

 The items customers bring in range from photographs, to paintings, to cross-stitch, to prints, to hooked mats to be displayed.

 "There are so many different procedures and materials that are available. I'm there to give them the information that they need to make the best decision that they can make to preserve and maintain their artwork," says Brenda.

 Whether the item is valuable or has only sentimental value, the procedure and the final decision on what materials will be used is up to the customer, but Brenda informs them of all the choices available and helps guide them to a decision that will be best for them.

 The type of glass, or glazing as it is referred to in the industry, is important because light will deteriorate art. A mat will add to the beauty of framed artwork but it has practical value as well, providing an air space to keep moisture that may form on the glass away from the artwork and protecting it from pollutants.

 Plaque mounting is an alternative to framing which is becoming more popular as a way of displaying photos or prints. Mike and Brenda know the industry and are always willing to put their expertise to work for their customers.

 Lunenburg Framing & Studio is also the authorized dealer on the South Shore for W.R. MacAskill black and white and hand-coloured photographs produced from his original glass negatives. These classic photographs depict scenes of Nova Scotia's seafaring past and are traditional wedding and special occasion gifts.

 Framed art by local artists such as Janet Mason, and Nova Scotia landscape photography by Dave Burns and Mike Nodding himself is also for sale in the gallery. A good selection of ready-made and desktop frames is on hand as well.

 Mike has taken the opportunity to further indulge his long-time passion for photography by establishing a studio. Portraits and passport photos can be taken at the studio but Mike also goes on location to take individual and family or group portraits.

 Brenda and Mike Nodding are committed to making memories last and to creating and preserving heirlooms. Customer Sandra Crouse sums up her experience with Lunenburg Framing & Studio by saying, "They do wonderful work."

  June 16, 2004  
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