A PICTURE is worth a thousand words, but it's the person who frames it that gets to know the real story.
After two decades in the game, FrameSmart Tamworth owner Wayne Shirmer has mounted the expensive, the historic and the downright quirky.
Only about two per cent of people using custom framing, Mr Shirmer said, but there's still enough work to take a peek into people's lives.
"I think it's born in you, you're born with an eye for it and if you follow your creativity you can produce a brilliant result," he said.
We recently framed the fondant figures from the top of a wedding cake who must have both been chefs and we had to keep the ants out of it.Wayne Shirmer
"We've done thousands of framing jobs, a memorable one was a smock made of hessian worn by a little girl that died of polio owned by the National Museum.
"We recently framed the fondant figures from the top of a wedding cake who must have both been chefs and we had to keep the ants out of it.
"There's been Aboriginal artwork on the curved bark of a tree that they make with their saliva, to full bottles of wine that need a cradle to sit on."
It seems the pandemic has brought out more creativity in the Tamworth public.
The diamond art craze has taken off and even jigsaw puzzles are sent in to be framed.
When customers come in often they have a basic idea of what they want to see done, Mr Shirmer said, but it's up to the framer to make choices that compliment the artwork.
"I hardly consider it work really, you produce fine pieces of artwork displayed in a way that makes people happy," he said.
"I think people look to us not to restore work but to preserve it for their children or future generations.
"It's always a buzz, apart from the artwork it's the people you meet because nearly every work has a story behind it and what makes it special to them."
One of the more expensive jobs involved the conservation framing of two old maps a customer found in the attic of their property.
Each costed about $8000 and needed museum acrylic for the glazing instead of glass.
"We also framed a pretty expensive cricket bat for a dentist, I think that was about $1800," he said.
"If someone requests conservation grade framing you have to present the artwork in its original state.
"It means you can't drill holes in it or stick it down with glue."
It's a specific type of person who has their art or items specially framed, Mr Shirmer said, because anyone can get a cheap frame from Kmart.
"The difference is that it doesn't last as long, these are for people who really want to preserve these things for their children or grandchildren," he said.
Glass that is used for conservation framing has to be 99 per cent UV because light will fade the paint.