Monday, 8 September 2014

Summer has FALLen and can't get up- September Newsletter

Hi Everyone!

It's here again. September and the beginning of fall weather.  It is the time when all the summer lovers are saddened by the fact that sun has lost that penetrating glow and parents are cartwheeling to "Back to School" sales.  As most people who know me, summer doesn't have the appeal it does to others.  It's hot and sticky and my fair skin tends to burn into a shocking Malibu Barbie pink, if I don't trowel on at least number 60 sunscreen hourly. 

Autumn is my season. It is close enough to summer to have nice weather and the gray winter weather is still far enough away. I don't have to think about anything that might be down filled. The air feels crisp with the earthly smells of harvesting, newly jarred pickles and bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.  Ahh...I get giddy thinking of the pictures I will take  of the painted leaves only nature can create.
The only down side to this time of year is my recurring dream that I haven't graduated high school. I get a stomach flip every time when not fully awake to the fact, that I won't have to sit through the dreaded physics class with the teacher that smells like ketchup chips and Old Spice or memorize and recite the poem, "Ode to a Grecian Urn" for English class.  Please feel free to look it up.  It is just as fascinating now, as it was when I was 17.


In case you missed the last Antigonish Art Fair, you missed a  good one.  I was disappointed that the fair was relocated to the fair grounds, but changed my mind when I saw the sheets of rain.  The organizer said we had about 500 people that night, so that was a great turn out for a venue switch and wet night.  There were a lot of great venders plus the food and music and groups of dancers but my highlight was the violin/fiddle music by a man from India.  It was haunting and soulful.  I had wished he had played longer.

 I don't have many pictures, because in the rush to leave not only did I forget my camera but my new phone.  I was left with an older one that took some satisfactory pictures.

At my booth, I had my photograph cards and matted 8 x 10's, as well as my woodblock, etchings and lino prints. I also brought along Vicki's large binder of unframed etchings and examples of a plate and print.  I enjoyed introducing people to the many aspects of printmaking.  Most are familar with the concept of paintings, but many people still think that prints are reproductions of original artworks.  Many may not realize that before I trained and apprenticed to be a framer, I was a printmaker in intaglio, woodblock, lino and just starting to learn serigraph printing. CLICK HERE FOR CLAIRE'S BIO

I also discovered that Richard MacKenize from the Casket caught me by accident while taking a picture of the participant next to me.

I had a great time at the Art Fair meeting new people and some old friends and I hope it becomes an annual event.  Antigonish has one of the largest and most diverse collection of artists, artisans, performers and art culture in Nova Scotia. It is about time with flaunt our stuff!

A few years ago the cloth or  'recycle' grocery bags became popular as a replacement for the plastic bags.  The black bags from the grocery store were better except when you washed them they pilled and looked ragged.  I began to sew more attractive sturdy (and washable) cloth bags for myself. They received many compliments and people asked me to make them some.  I have began selling them again.  I use this type of bag for everything: shopping, beach and going back and forth to work.  It holds alot and looks pretty as well.

I want to remind everyone that Vicki has a exhibition at Zwicker's Gallery on Doyle Street, Halifax  upcoming December 6th. The opening day is Saturday, December 6th in conjunction with the Christmas exhibition.  If you can't make it to the exhibition, it is there for the month of December. 


My barn swallows have been very frisky this summer. They had five little ones in July and three more in August.  These are the last three that have finally ventured from the nest.

Plenty of spider webs were revealed after the rain...

I hope everyone had a great summer!

A Matter of Tastes Custom Picture Framing & Art Gallery *15 years in business & 8 years as a custom picture framer* Acid Free, Museum & Conservation Quality Materials at very reasonable prices. Located just 8 minutes on Highway #7 Ashdale, Antigonish, Nova Scotia Hours: Closed Sundays and Mondays/ Tuesday - Friday : 10:00-4:00 & Saturday: 10-1 Website: Phone: 902-863-5407


Rain, Wind and Drought...August 2014

Hi Everyone!                                                                                                                                                  

We have been having some extreme weather lately.  High winds and rain to drought like conditions.  My flowers took a beating in the hurricane winds at the beginning of the month. The mock orange survived and the ant rode out the storm on the peony bud.


I wanted to spruce up the outside of the gallery so I decided to paint the shutters crimson to match my business colours.  It really made a difference!

Vicki is having an exhibition at Zwicker's Gallery in December; the opening reception will be on December 6th. There will be approximately ten new medium to large oils.  I wish I could give you a sneak preview, but we want it to be a surprise.

Art Fair
I will have a booth at this weeks Antigonish Art Fair in Chisholm Park behind the Post Office. I will have some prints and photos for sale, so drop by and say hi!

FOR LAST...a few pictures from the last month.

I want to thank everyone for writing me and telling me how much you love my newsletter. 

Cheers and talk to you soon!


A Matter of Tastes Custom Picture Framing & Art Gallery
*15 years in business & 8 years as a custom picture framer*                                                                                                                                                                                                         Acid Free, Museum & Conservation Quality Materials at very reasonable prices.
Located just 8 minutes on Highway #7 Ashdale, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Hours: Closed Sundays and Mondays/ Tuesday - Friday : 10:00-4:00 & Saturday: 10-1
Website: Phone: 902-863-5407

A Matter of Tastes Custom Picture Framing & Art Gallery
*15 years in business & 8 years as a custom picture framer*                                                                                                                                                                                                         Acid Free, Museum & Conservation Quality Materials at very reasonable prices.
Located just 8 minutes on Highway #7 Ashdale, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Hours: Closed Sundays and Mondays/ Tuesday - Friday : 10:00-4:00 & Saturday: 10-1
Website: Phone: 902-863-5407

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

THANKS FOR JOINING! From A Matter of Tastes Custom Framing & Art Gallery

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to thank you for joining up to receive my newsletter via my new site. I am still working out kinks, as the government is super strict about these anti-spam laws and what I can do and how I can set up my blog site. I'm nearly ready to start writing my August blog entry!

Hope you are having a good summer!

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Hi Everyone!

The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation  is coming into effect on  
July 1, 2014.  

This means that I must have your consent to send you any emails, newsletters or updates via your 
email address, texts or direct messages via social media. 

In the past, I sent my updates and newsletter to 
my customers and interested parties via their email addresses. But after July 1, the only way to receive my 
Monthly Newsletter is to sign up below.

As of July 1, 2014, the only way to receive 
my newsletter is to sign up for it.



If you want to leave a comment, telling me which of 
customers signed up, I would appreciate it. 
You're  anonymous otherwise.  


Thanks, Claire 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

I will be closed  
Canada Day- Tuesday July 1st.

 Have a great day celebrating the 
BEST country in the world!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Why Mourn When is it FINALLY Summer Weather!

Hi Everyone!

The weather has been first rate lately.  I finally planted my garden and now I'm working on the lawn. I will probably need a tractor mower to get through the  thick grass.  My push mower has finally decided this is the LAST summer it's working.  The frame finally rusted and now the cut grass shoots out the top like some green confetti party popper

I have some new summer neighbours.  This family is currently occupying  a cozy little spot by my pond, where their young children swim daily, have picnics on  the bank and sun themselves.  It is so nice when you can get the kids away from the electronics and have some family time.  They grow up so fast! 

Victorian Era Mourning Brooch

I have to say, I get the most interesting projects! My customer wanted to frame this jet carved mourning brooch.

Victorians felt that wearing ornate jewelry while one was in mourning was distasteful.  Instead it became customary to wear simple black mourning jewelry  made from many unusual materials such as gutta percha, vulcanite and jet.    Jewelry such as the example above became de rigueur to wear when Queen Victoria went into mourning  in December 1861 for Prince Albert. Queen Victoria proclaimed that she would only wear 'widow's weeds"  for the rest of her life. There was such a level of public sympathy, that most of the middle class followed her into mourning, not only for Prince Albert who died in December 1861, but for their own deceased loved ones.  This public devotion to their queen instigated Victorian textile manufacturers  to go into overdrive making vast amount of black dyed items. As well mourning jewelry  production increased especially  by the already popular and well established Whitby Jet Company.

Shale Jet Line
A distinctive shale or 'Jet line' on the cliff face. Photo courtesy of W. Hamond. Jetline

Largest Jet
W.  Hamond employees recreate a bygone era as they hold part of the World’s largest Whitby Jet gemstone. Photo courtesy of W. Hamond. Holding the large piece of jet

Jet is a lightweight, fragile fossilized black wood from ancient and extinct trees that lends itself to very detailed carvings.  Most jet washed up on shore, with the majority of quantities on the shores of Whitby, North Yorkshire.   Jet is the most collectable of all the varieties today, but because it is fragility and not many pieces  survived over the years except for  pieces like earrings, brooches, necklace beads and cameos.

The dark arts: Prince Albert's death in 1861 sparked a booming trade for jet jewellery, made in workshops such as this one in Whitby, North Yorkshire
Workers in a shop in Whitby, North Yorkshire carving jet from the shores where layers of shale were a source of fossils and fossilize wood. Workers in Whitby Jet shop

The  Whitby mourning brooch, that I had the pleasure of framing, had an un-bloomed rose carved onto it, symbolizing  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's 'love that didn't have a chance to bloom into fruition'.

My customer had a handmade frame he wanted to use (top frame). Unfortunately,  the frame was too shallow to accommodate the height of the brooch.  I commissioned a carpenter to construct an addition  frame (bottom frame) and then the two pieces were merged  together.  I cut an oval, red suede mat as a background colour, carefully attached the brooch and finished the piece. I am happy to report that customer was pleased and now has it in a  place of honor in his collection of antiques.

And for last...
Here are some photos from the last few weeks of May and early June.

These ponies were very happy to see the summer pasture but  in different ways.  One expressed his joy by running and leaping. The other  preferred to just  get down to business.


This kitty prefers  fresh running water. Now, if I could only get her to turn the tap off when she was done!

 My neighbour brought me some of her beautiful deep red tulips.

And from the garden...

Cheers and wishing everyone warm summer days...they don't last long!

Talk to you soon!



Saturday, 17 May 2014


Hi Everyone!  There has been some crazy weather since the last time I wrote.  Snow, rain, tiny  bit of sun and more rain and mud.  When I complain about the weather, I am reminded that there was four feet of snow two days after I was born in May.  At least we only have rain and no snow...yet!
Me in modelling a one piece pale pink knitted romper accessorized by traditional bright pink blankie.

Meanwhile, I guess we just have to wait for the beautiful weather to arrive.


Recently we have had two galleries close their shops and that leaves us with an excess amount of framed pictures.  We are discounting all the framed pieces  by paying the taxes on all of framed artworks. 
The older framed pieces will be discounted furthur by 10%, making a saving of 25% on some framed works.  
This sale begins May 6-31.  
We are also giving a 10% discount off  your framing if you purchase unframed work during the sale.


Wedding season is coming up sooner than you think and I wanted to show you this beautiful guestbook mat matted and framed for Joel and Mike. 
In this example, Joel and Mike loved their engagement photos so much they left them in, maybe because it contains their daughter Ada and "fur" son, Lauchie.

 The first step  to getting a great guestbook mat is to visit me, so we can pick out the frame, colours and size. Joel and Mike have very large families so they needed a large guestbook mat. I can custom design a couples' guestbook mat to any size, large or small.   The first step is to cut the mat openings and add either an engagement or informal photos  for display purposes at the wedding reception. After the mat is signed by the guests, the married couple returns the mat to me, where I replace the informal photos with their wedding photos.  It is then assembled, framed and ready to hang on the wall to remind you of all the friends and family that gave you best wishes for your future.

Another project I am working on is shadowbox framing of childrens' baby items.  These two kiddies have outgrown their little things: a boy's sunhat, handmade sweater, brown bunny and little girls tee, pony socks and white bear.  They are only this tiny once, so why not have something to remember them by.

And my last project is a very special and unique. As I understand it, this are Mig'maw items.  The first two are hand sewn beaded items and the third is handkerchief holder made of birch bark with dyed moose hair accents.

I love getting interesting projects. On this one, I had to be very careful not to knock any beads loose when I sewed it to the back board or tear through the very fragile birch bark.  I think even my high school home economics teacher would be proud of my invisible stitches. She only made us practice it for hours!  Who knew I was going to use it in my work 20 some years later. 


I received a new shipment of corner samples in many different styles and colours.  The picture above is an example of really bright and colourful frames that can be used to add some sun to a picture such children's artwork or a cool poster.  Very reasonably priced.

Recently I have been getting alot of questions about framing glass and which is the best one to use.  In my opinion, glass fits each situation, what the customer wants and how much you are consider spending.

Premium clear glass is a economical solution to most framing projects.  It is a higher quality of glass than window glass.  Clear glass tends to have a 'mirror' quality which may be distracting under some indoor lighting.
Reflection control glass offers an alternative when you don't want your glass to have a reflective mirrored surface.  The effect is created by etching the glass to give  a matte like non glare quality to one side that will reduce reflective light. The slight downside of this glass is that  the image can have a slight visual distoration, especially the furthur the glass is away from the image.
Conservation glass comes in conservation clear,  conservation reflection control, and museum glass.  To make this special glass which filters UV harmful effects is that the glass is baked after the application an UV solution to one side. It claims to block nearly 99% of UV light that can cause fading, brittleness or discoluration. 
Museum Glass is the top of the line and the difference from the other conservation glass is the nearly invisible finish, allowing  framed pieces remain clearer and brighter.
Both conservation and museum are much more expenisive, for obvious reasons, than premium clear or reflection control glass.
Many ask if the conservation glass is worth the extra expense?  Personally, I can only offer you the options  as the customer must decide on the value of the work and how much  to spend.  Conservation glass might be worth the expense if the item is archivial, antique or valuable. The same prinicpal applies to a giclee print or reproduction poster.  Reproduction prints have only have a thin layer of offset or printer ink  that tends to fade over time.  If the reproduction has some value to you, then by all means add a conservation glass to your project.  In most cases, posters cost a only few dollars and then you must consider using glass that could be five times or more expensive than the artwork.  In that case you use clear or reflection control glass and be conscious of where you are hanging it.
The choice is yours on which glass you decide to add to your project.  The best framing practices can only go so far in keeping your works safe from fading, damage and harm.  When chosing a place to hang an artwork, keep it in mind that materials will be effected by  humidity, drastic temperature fluctuations  and  direct sunlight, even with UV filtering glass. 

AND FOR LAST... There seems to be quite a collection of birds around the studio.


I hope we will have a better May than April and here's hoping for some sunny weather. 

Cheers, From the Gang at A MATTER OF TASTES


PS-Getting married? Do you know someone that is getting married? Having trouble thinking of a UNIQUE wedding favour? Consider Sunset Tequila Pepper jelly.
Email me: or call: 863-5407


Friday, 7 March 2014


Hi Everyone!
Yes, winter is still here.

March has come in like a lamb and and let's hope it will go out like a lamb too. It has been a long winter. This partridge seems to think spring can't come soon enough!  And I agree!

Framing hockey jerseys has been a trend since the snow started to fly back in 2013. 

The first jersey was from the Ottawa Senators.  The jersey was signed by the team and  the coach, Paul MacLean.  The customer also brought in four Paul MacLean's hockey cards and a plaque, which we decided to place below the jersey. 

The next jersey you might have seen before in my January newsletter (it was a Christmas present).  The customer was so satisfied with the last job I did, he had me do one for himself. This is a photo of the the second linesman jersey which is a little different from the first one which makes each one unique.
A good many people take winter 'getaways' to beautiful Southern climes this time of year. Often vacationers pickup local artworks on canvas that on return  often end up getting lost in the back of a drawer or a closet.  If you have painting from a trip, come in and get it stretched on stretcher bars. You don't have to get it framed (unless you want too.)  That way you can have it hanging on your wall to remind yourself of the lovely holiday away from all these cold temperatures.


A customer got this unique painting purchased at an auction. I wish I had taken a picture of it with the original frame with hand painted bright sunflowers.  Unfortunately, the frame overwhelmed the work so we decided to replace with frame that enhanced the work.  After going through multiple samples we chose a  modern style that put TWO frames together and omitted the oil liner. As you can see, it looks great.
And don't think that beautiful hand painted sunflower frame went to waste!  It is now serving as a frame for a beautiful mirror. This is a great solution if you have an old frame that you love but don't have artwork to fit into it. Often a well placed mirror can maximize a room's style and add depth and light to a room.    

And for last...some photos of the last few weeks.
The Morning After- Januray.
February- Dog sitting three of my little buddies while my sister
was on vacation.
My February flowers...

Last night when I left a small jar and flower on the window sill, the water froze and cracked the jar and wilted the flower.

Oh well, warm weather is coming soon. In the mean time my trusty border colllie looks for her tennis ball she lost in October and she promises to look for spring too.

The Gang at A Matter of Tastes

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

A Matter of Tastes Website

A Matter of Tastes Website
Click to view website !

About the Business

The business, started in 2000, is located on a beautiful farmland property just outside Antigonish. It is just a short drive to see me and well worth the scenic drive. First and foremost, I offer professional custom framing, with over 10 years in the framing business. I am also intaglio printer, so you can rely on my 20 years of experience and advise on original hand pulled prints. The framing shop has a small art gallery that deals in original hand pulled prints and paintings as well as unique artistic works by myself and my featured artist, V.L. Maclean As an amateur photographer, I have many pictures of florals, landscapes and nature scenes on display and for sale. My favourite subjects are florals, nature and animals- (horses, dogs and kitties). I have a very relaxed setting and welcome everyone to visit and have a look around. It is ‘all a matter of tastes.” For more information: