One of the many things that we enjoy about working in the framing industry is having the opportunity to help our clients preserve and enjoy something that has special meaning. This is a very interesting project that we recently framed.

Our client, Julie, came in with a beautiful hand made baby’s bonnet and related to us that it had belonged to a woman she had taken care of in a nursing home. As Julie got to know the woman, she became fond of her and was disappointed that no one in the woman’s family ever visited. No one was the least bit interested in her. Eventually, Julie became the woman’s guardian so that she could advocate for her and ensure that her friend’s end of life wishes would be followed.

Julie’s friend never spoke about the baby’s bonnet, but it was one of her few belongings. She kept it neatly folded in a little box and it was never far from her. After she passed, Julie wanted to preserve the bonnet as a tribute to her friend. Julie estimates that it is at least 60 years old and it looks to me that it was either tatted or crocheted. It’s very delicate and the patterning is beautiful.  Julie knows nothing about the bonnet and it’s history, and although its significance will never be known, Julie often wonders, and speculates about what might have been.

We worked together to choose matting and framing. I like to use a fabric mat as a background for textiles and Julie liked the texture and color of this mat.

I especially like the very subtle sparkle in the mat. It lightens the mood ever so slightly; to my mind it brings a certain illusion, almost like fairy dust, adding to the mystery. We decided to mat around the bonnet with a double mat of the same linen and just a hint of salmon to give it a spark of color. Julie usually chooses narrow black framing but for this piece the black was too stark. We chose a very dark brown that will blend with the black frames in her home, and this one also has two very thin lines of salmon/red that blend well with the inside mat. The frame is narrow across the face as are most of Julie’s frames, yet it has enough depth to ensure that there is space between the bonnet and the glass. Evan decided to raise the two top mats up just a little to create another subtle dimension and line the inside edges of the frame with the same fabric mat. Museum glass was the perfect choice for glazing.

I gently cleaned the bonnet and put it aside to dry thoroughly. I created a support form cutting a rag mat to size and built some height with layers of polyester batting cut to size and shape. The form was covered with muslin that was washed to remove any chemicals. The attachments that keep the bonnet and form in place go through the rag mat only so once the bonnet was fitted to the form the attachments were then threaded through pre-determined holes in the base mat. The bonnet is held onto the form with just a few hand stitches in back to keep it in place.

Once I had completed my task, it was on to Evan to do his framing magic.

Julie wanted a small card to be placed within the frame with her friend’s name which we printed on parchment style paper.

Now Julie can enjoy this lovely memory of her friend.