Vanessa Grant and Chris Couling
Framing anything – whether it’s photographs, artworks or memorabilia – requires a careful process of construction, demanding both aesthetic and practical skills.
The quality of materials, and the care with which it’s put together, shows in the final result.
Chris Couling and his fiancée Vanessa Grant recently opened their custom framing and fine art printing business, Orewa Framing Studio, in Moana Court. Vanessa has 12 years experience as a graphic designer, while Chris has been a civil/structural engineering draughtsman for the past 20 years; the combination of hands-on practicality, creative flair, accuracy and an eye for colour has been put to good use in their new venture.
In addition, they have the support of Wendie and Gary Wright who have extensive framing experience and operated their own business for 14 years – Wendie was a Fine Art Trade Guild Examiner, before opting for semi-retirement in Orewa.
“They are teaching us all the finer points of framing, and will work alongside us,” Vanessa says.
Everything will be done on-site, with a 44-inch 12-colour Canon printer producing fine art, photographic and canvas prints (stretched on-site), a razor sharp guillotine and the latest pneumatic matt and glass-cutter. Vanessa and Chris say they will work with customers to create a custom frame to suit each individual’s requirements, underpinning them carefully for a seamless finish.
Vanessa says as well as building a reputation for high quality and conservation framing of people’s most treasured pieces, they are also encouraging people to get their photographs off a CD and onto the wall. Simple, affordable canvas and framing options will also be offered – for example block mounts for children’s art.
The studio will also showcase the work of local artists each month – starting with Lisa Byrne of Millwater.
Chris says motivation to start a business came from wanting to leave behind a sedentary occupation and work with Vanessa on something that they are both passionate about. It brings positive lifestyle changes, enabling them to cycle to work, and share their commitments so they can both spend time with 19-month-old daughter Hazel.
Chris says a priority has been to create a warm, friendly and modern environment. “It’s a bright open space so you can browse among the framing options and local art in a relaxed manner” he says.