March 2010

The Great Frame Up

Author: Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Photography By Anne

The old adage says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” After spending some time at The Great Frame Up in Bluffton, a lot of words come to mind: innovation, creativity, personality, savvy, original, and dare I say… genius.

When you enter The Great Frame Up, you are immediately met with a wet kiss from Dixie, a beautiful Boston terrier, and the official greeter. Dixie makes you feel comfortable, as if you’ve just arrived home after a long day and your own pooch is meeting you at the door.

The Great Frame Up owners, dynamic duo Beryl Taylor and Tessie Rogers, won’t greet you with a kiss, but they do greet you with warm smiles, and they have created a workspace that is equally inviting. We sat down at the big ol’ wooden counter for a long chat.

Now I know what you are thinking. A frame shop is a frame shop, right? Not quite. This one is a little more, and then some.

The Great Frame Up in Belfair Plaza is home to one of only 25 Cruse scanners in the country. A Cruse what, you’re asking? Well, imagine a CAT scan machine for your fine art. The Cruse scanner is the finest state-of-the-art digital image capturing system. So fine that the National Archives, the Smithsonian, the Pentagon, Disney, the Getty Museum and the Met are just a handful of the organizations who round out the list of 25. Impressive right?

So, while The Great Frame Up franchise offers the bread and butter of the business, it’s the fine art giclee reproduction side that is launching Rogers and Taylor into a national spectrum. With customers from Maine to Miami, Rogers and Taylor are well on their way to being recognized as the fine art reproduction center this side of the Mississippi. Realize that most of the other 25 Cruse scanners in the country belong to private institutions, meaning not everyone (read: no one!) can walk into the Pentagon or The Vatican (yes, you read correctly) and try to make a copy on the Cruse.

Yet, we have one right here in Bluffton.

Rogers and Taylor have become a huge resource for nearly 100 artists who bring in their original art– abstract, oil, watercolor, portrait, photography, pastels, pencil—and have giclee reproductions made. The process allows the artist the opportunity to reproduce their art on an on-demand basis for their clients. And, the Cruse is so spectacular that the level of detail is staggering. Honestly, to believe it, you have to see it. And, I urge you to do just that. I dare you not to touch the canvas, but you’ll have to. I did. From inches away, the giclee canvas appears to have texture and depth with a perceived tactile property that is, in fact, smooth as silk.

Their online art gallery at www.fineartgiclees.com is the largest Cruse scanned image library on the Internet. There, the artists they work with are sharing their images, for purchase, with art collectors, home decorators, and the likes of you and me. All of the images are printed based on the buyer’s unique requirements. So, when placing your order, you can specify size (measure that spot above the fireplace and start searching) and print media (i.e. fine art paper or canvas). And, of course, if you want it matted and framed, you’ve come to the right place. It’s custom art, from start to finish, all available in one location.

Artists and collectors aren’t the only ones benefiting from the Cruse. Taylor told me that families are taking heirloom art and family albums that were passed down to one member of the family and reproducing it so that everyone in the family can have a piece of their past. Brilliant!

Now, while the Cruse is what all of the commotion is about, Taylor and Rogers are leveraging technology in every aspect of the business right down to the framing. Sure, you could pick out your matt and your frame from one of the thousands of samples hanging on the wall, but it’s so much more fun for one of the ladies to mock it up for you on the flat screen TV.

It is not a coincidence that technology is found in every aspect of their business. Rogers and Taylor both “retired” from corporate America, having had successful careers in the computer biz. Rogers on the sales and marketing side and Taylor on the development and implementation side, their paths crossing multiple times over the years. Eventually, they both decided that rather than run the rat race, they’d like to do something for themselves. And, an idea was born. Ironically, they are probably busier now. Oh, they sneak in a little downtime every now and again via golf, grandkids and dogs. But for the most part, they live by their laptops, and business is seven days a week.

“Even when we’re not at the shop, we may be home on the couch, but we’re still doing the accounting, working on the Web site, communicating with artists …” And, hatching the next great idea. Rogers said she’ll probably never completely retire because she just can’t sit still. “You’re only limited to your imagination, and mine continues to grow.”

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