In 1980 I opened the first frame shop in Cary, North Carolina on Kildaire Farm Road after working for a do-it-yourself frame shop in nearby Raleigh. Although today Kildaire Farm Road is a major thoroughfare, at that time, it was two lanes wide, there was a small pond with ducks and geese beside the road and the barn from "Kildaire Farm" was still standing. The shopping center where we were located had woods on either side, and I would walk across the street to work with my dog each morning.
Friends asked me, "Why do you want to move out to the boonies?" but I knew it was a growing area and I was young enough not to think that I was "taking a chance". When you are in your 20's you think you can do anything! Do-it-yourself framing was popular back then and our booths were all full on Saturdays.
By 2000, I couldn't walk to work without taking my life in my hands. All of Kildaire Farm Road was developed with businesses, shopping centers and subdivisions everywhere. Our shopping center had lost its anchor store and customers were moving on to the newer centers to shop.
So that year I moved down the road to another shopping center. Some local artists had asked to display their work on consignment at the old location. With the move the flood gates opened and more and more artists brought us their works.
Art is a natural addition to a frame shop so we began to carry original paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, and works in wood, glass, and metal. We also featured a local artist each month. Several artists began teaching classes at the store and we grew into an oasis for local art and creativity.
By 2006 it became clear that plans were underway to renovate our center so it was time to ease out of my lease a year early and move my business to a new area again.
It took a year to find the right location and now once again it is the first frame shop in town. Holly Springs NC feels fresh, lively and energetic. People are very welcoming and supportive of local businesses.
There is a special atmosphere in small towns that reminds me of the places I grew up in the NC Mountains. Everybody is friendly, knows everyone else and tries to be helpful. Life glides along with an easy and more casual pace.
Moving to a new place gave me a new attitude and a fresh perspective. Everyone in Holly Springs has been very welcoming and helpful. This positive attitude made the process more pleasant. Everything fell in place nicely and we moved in record time. Like the song says "I get by with a little help from my friends", and perhaps there was a little magic involved, too.
I have been framing for 27 years and some say I am regarded as one of the area's most experienced framers. All I know is the right framing is a creation in itself. Framing lets me be creative and work closely with people and make something with my hands.
We work with a wide variety of materials that include traditional as well as unusual combinations of colors and styles because there are rules to framing and you have to know how and when to break them to get the best results.
Most fascinating is our shadow boxes displaying family treasures. We have framed many items from baby clothes, spoon collections, father's military metals, mother's favorite jewelry, to the latest craze in our area --hockey memorabilia including Carolina Hurricane's autographed jerseys, skates, pucks, and sticks!
I like the feeling that we are a neighborhood store. People stop by and visit, just to chat or discuss a problem. It doesn't always have something to do with art. Kind of like an old general store that is a safe haven for everyone.
Our spirits need to be nourished with color, beauty and wonder. In this age of technology with its amazing machines and computers, its fast paced and impersonal mass production we find ourselves reaching back to the earth and to things that have the visual touch of the human hand to strike a balance in our lives. That is the nature of art.
— — —
Written by Judie Howard, owner
The Nature of Art