What began as an interesting hobby for John Horrocks, owner of BlackBird Frame & Art, has become a thriving business in Asheville. On a given afternoon, customers are coming in to choose frames for their art and documents with assistance from Horrocks, his wife, Pat, and their staff.
The two-story shop is filled with an extensive selection of frames from simple designs to the ornate gold frames rich with detail. The store also has a multitude of art from prints and paintings to unique items such as solar globes.
“Custom framing is our main focus,” says Horrocks.
In addition to framing art for people’s homes, Horrocks and his staff also work with area designers and on commercial projects as well. For a number of years, he provided framing services for an international restaurant chain with a rock ‘n’ roll theme.
At BlackBird Frame & Art, the emphasis is on offering high-quality service to customers.
“We really emphasize education and experience on our staff,” Horrocks said. “There’s no other shop in the country that has as many certified picture framers.”
Horrocks’ staff receives training and certification through the Professional Picture Framers Association.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we have created and retained a good staff,” he said.
“It’s important to educate the customer,” Horrocks noted.
While the biggest issue is framing, how the piece is mounted is very important, Horrocks said. Conservation and preservation of the piece is another major consideration. Improper mounting and types of glass can harm artistic works and documents—especially ones that are historic and require archival preservation, Horrocks said.
One of the biggest advances in preserving framed works is the use of UV glass, which has become available in recent years. For a relatively small additional cost, UV glass can be used in the framing process.
“Now that’s our default,” he remarked.
Among services at the shop is custom framing of mirrors.
“We do custom-framed mirrors all the time,” Horrocks said.
Although some types of frames, such as those with gold leaf, can be expensive, the shop offers a range of options to customers.
“We cover the basics and higher end, and everything in between,” Horrocks said.
“We are unique in that we have several frame makers we represent,” he added.
Horrocks also strives to find unique selections of art to display in his shop.
Among offerings are mirrors from Peru with beautiful designs in the surrounding frames, light-powered globes that turn on their stands and replicas of vintage navigational instruments. Works of local artists such as Lisa Blackburn are also on display along with prints and painting of those in other parts of the country. On one wall hang traditional Japanese art prints, which an artist has fashioned into intricately layered works using an Exacto knife. Suspended from the ceiling are sleekly designed mobiles from Denmark. The shop also carries letter-pressed note cards and greeting cards with artistic designs.
BlackBird Frame & Art has been in Asheville for the past 15 years. Horrocks began the business while living in central Florida 27 years ago. Before becoming the owner of a frame shop, Horrocks spent much time framing art as a hobby.
BlackBird Frame & Art is at 365 Merrimon Ave. Shop hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the website at blackbirdframe.com or call 225-3117.
By Sandra Barnes