Great art needs the perfect frame and two local woodsmiths have been surrounding great images with the aging wood from local abandoned structures for the most rustic type of mounting.
Dave Lewis and Dawson Wallin were students in Invermere together in the 1950s, and lately the two friends have been building frames out of old barn wood — some of which is older than their friendship. The projects began as a hobby, but it didn’t take long for a local entrepreneur to team up with Dave and Dawson.
Since beginning the project five years ago, Kimberley Rae Sanderson Photography and Framing has become the exclusive distributor of the frames.
“They’re an absolute dream to work with — they’re fun, wonderfully sweet gentlemen,” said Kim. “And they build great frames of a quality that I can stand behind.”
Once the dimensions of her photographs are determined, Ms. Sanderson tells Dave and Dawson what she’s looking for, and the two men bring the frame to life in Dave’s workshop.
The partnership began when the woodsmiths were building frames as a hobby and Dawson took one of the pieces to Kim, who asked where it had come from.
“I told her I made them,” said Dawson. “She asked if I could make some for her to buy, and I said I’ll make a you a couple and give them to you, but I don’t want to go back to work.”
But it hasn’t been easy for the pair to keep the frame-building as a hobby, as an overwhelming demand has seen about 100 frames (“too damn many”) built by Dave and Dawson over the past five years.
“They’re excited to tell me the stories, and the whole process from start to finish is a lot of fun,” Kim said. “We’re working with reclaimed material from a local source with a valley flavour and history — you can’t beat that.”
Most of their wood was collected from old and unused barns, including the Hope Brewers’ barn and the Statham’s barn in Wilmer, as well as an old logging camp that was built in the 1940s and abandoned shortly thereafter.
“They source local lumber, and all the wood they use has a story behind it,” said Kim.
And audiences have an eye for barn wood, said Dawson, adding that no two frames can be the same.
There’s no question about the wood’s authenticity, as it is sometimes presents lichen and moss growing on the sides, added Kim. The frames are rarely stained, and sometimes touched up with bees wax.
Because many of the buildings where the wood is sourced from were slated for destruction, “we’re making use out of something that would have otherwise been burned,” Dawson said.
To inquire about your own barn wood framed photography, give Kim a call at 250-342-5102 o