He was also an environmentalist. According to Jane Alcorn, President of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, Tesla was “very concerned about the fact that we were using up the Earth’s resources too quickly, and he wanted to make sure that we were using non-fossil, renewable fuels.”[iii] His selfless nature, passion, and true love for progress, both on a human and scientific level, were unquestionably one of his most remarkable aspects.
Oliver Brothers is known for restoring and conserving fine art for the past one-hundred-and-sixty years and its excellence in museum quality custom framing. As a result, we deal with unusual and special projects on an almost daily basis. As the head of custom framing, I always strive to create a cohesive union between the artwork and the frame, a union that also leads to a new message, a new idea. This time I had the perfect opportunity to combine an artwork with the right frame to make a statement about ecological responsibility in my industry – a subject I am passionate about. This was a great pleasure and a unique opportunity.
Both the visual effect and environmental sustainability were equally important in selecting an appropriate frame moulding. Out of the many choices on hand, I carefully considered options from our eco-certified or green framing selections. The Oliver Brothers’ frame collection consists of many ecologically responsible materials including repurposed metal siding frames, sustainably grown woods, as well as urban-salvaged woods, and reclaimed barn woods.
I selected a frame that is visually striking and also directly compliments my own vision towards respecting and re-using our natural resources. As many industries are changing and evolving in a positive direction, I wanted to use my contribution as an example of how the custom picture framing industry is changing as well.
Urban Ashes is a Detroit-based picture-frame maker that embraces the social consciousness. This company uses materials salvaged from deconstructed and demolished homes. They also employ and aid a disadvantaged work force. Each stick of moulding is handpicked for its character. Each piece contains a distinct narrative; every wood knot or old nail hole contributes to the story and reminds us to honor the history of the city and neighborhood as well as the lives of the people who lived there.
The monochromatic sepia poster colors, ranging from light to dark brown, work great with the natural wood color. The black mat board is separating the frame and the images and preventing the two from blending into one visual experience. Experimenting with mat board width, I came to the conclusion that a 4” (10.3cm) black mat in each direction would let the viewer see the 18” x 26” (46cm x 66cm) images much better. A thinner mat used with monochromatic images, often makes artwork less visible and contributes towards a cluttered feel of the entire piece.
Bainbridge 8 ply Alpharag mat board in Ebony color provides depth and is in balance with the shape as well as the size of the moulding. The straight throughout black bevel acts as a smooth transition without distraction. The correct balance of values; frame vs. mat width brings the viewer’s eye into the center of the posters.
The emotional importance of these posters is much greater than their retail value. It was important to me to use a high level of protection and conservation framing techniques. This is why the posters are attached with Lineco strips to a 2 ply rag mat substrate.
With many glazing products on the market today, we have options in choosing various levels of protection and different qualities of visual experience. While I always take into consideration UV, moisture and oxygen protection, reducing glare is important as well. This is why I selected True Vue’s Museum Glass. The glazing looks almost invisible due to the large amount of dark sepia colors and the matte poster finish and at the same time provides maximum UV protection.
While working on this project I referred to the frame moulding as the “Tesla Frame.” This beautiful piece of wood was a perfect choice for its simplicity and elegance. The visible marks of its previous life were not erased but rather embraced.
I will be forever grateful for all Mr. Tesla did for our society and for an opportunity to honor him in my own way, through my line of work and expertise. The posters of “The greatest geek who ever lived”[iv] did deserve a very special and thoughtful treatment. Learning about Tesla’s work uplifted and inspired me to apply my skills, experience and knowledge in a more meaningful way and to use a custom picture frame as a statement.
Dear Mr. Tesla, this is my way of saying thank you.
Mira Bishop, Oliver Brothers
* Many thanks to Maria Jerinic- Pravica, PhD. for all her help and encouragement
[i] Sean Patrick, Nikola Tesla: Imagination and The Man That Invented the 20th Century (Oculus Publisher: 2013)
[ii] “email”, Michael Pravica, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, October 17, 2013
[iii] Jane Alcorn, President of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Quoted in National Geographic. “5 Surprising Facts About Nikola Tesla.” Last modified October 2013. Accessed April 7, 2014. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131003-nikola-tesla-surprising-facts-statue-museum-science/
[iv] The Oatmeal. “The Greatest Geek Who Ever Lived.” Last modified 2013. Accessed April 2, 2014. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla