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Amy's Frame Shop: Helping Preserve Your Memories

As we move through our lives, we tend to collect objects and images to help remind us of past experiences. All too often, these relics are stored in a closet or basement and are damaged or forgotten. At Amy's Frame Shop on Main Street in Durham, you can get advice and custom framing to help you preserve your mementos.

Amy Gibbs came to Durham in 1998 as a freshman and enrolled in the UNH Art Department. During her summer vacations, she worked at a Michael's Crafts Store and learned picture framing basics. In 2000, Roger Hayden hired her at the Outback and when she graduated UNH in 2002 Magna Cum Laude with a Studio Art degree, she became the Outback manager. With the help and encouragement of Roger, Amy negotiated an agreement to rent space in Hayden Sports in 2008, and Amy's Frame Shop was born. April 1 marks the 10-year milestone of her business.

When you're considering framing something, a good first step is to bring your items into the shop and talk with her. A common misconception is that she only frames pictures. The advantage of her art school training is that she has the ability to design layouts and frames to fit just about anything.

Water, mold, and UV light are the most common agents that degrade your mementos. They break down colors and damage paper or fabric. Unlike most cheap off the shelf frames, Amy uses conservation glazing glass to protect against UV light. If you have something valuable that has already sustained damage, bring it in and she can tell you your options.

My initial impression of framing was of someone using a sharp x-acto knife to cut a mat and then fit it into a frame. It turns out the technology has significantly upgraded the process.

If you peek around the corner of her shop, you'll see an impressive Italian Valiani mat machine. It's computer works like a photo editor and allows her to determine the shape and size of the mat. It also allows her to add images and text.

The arm of the machine has an interchangeable piece that can hold color pens or a cutting device. It exactly transfers the the image from the computer onto the mat material.

The advantage of this system is that it allows for nearly limitless customization of mats to best fit your project.

Amy's Frame shop is located on 44 Main Street and is open Tuesday through Friday 10AM-5PM and Saturday 10AM-3PM. You can also reach her by phone at (603) 868-2511. If you have something you love and want to keep, bring it in.

When she is not framing, you can also find Amy volunteering at the Rotary Club of Durham Great Bay and helping to lead Celebrate Durham.

Hanging at Durham Historic Association Museum


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