Dolphins Tale

Case Study

A client came to our Aspley store in early-2024 with an enticingly unique idea for a frame. He had a collection of newspaper clippings and photographs that told the story of the founding of the Dolphins NRL Team. These articles spanned over 60 years of history and paid tribute to one of the key founders of the first ever Dolphins team; Bill McLeod Snr.

In addition to the articles and photos, the client also requested we include some brief excerpts from the Dolphins website and add a plaque describing the significance of one of the pictures. A highly involved job to be sure.

Dolphins NRL framing consult
Initial consult

The initial consult with the client was mostly a brainstorming session with the aim of finding out exactly what form he’d like the frame to take. With jobs as complex as this one, the possibilities for creative expression are virtually endless, so hearing what the client had in mind and what his expectations were for the end result was a pivotal part of the process. We decided on a collage style frame that would see the articles floated on a backing mat. This approach meant that the unique shapes and odd edges of the clippings would remain visible, creating a look that was both personal and historical.

Floating matboard

We began by placing all of the clippings in a draft arrangement to get a feel for what sort of shape the frame would take. The client and I decided that a portrait rectangle look would be best. From here, we selected a colour for the backing mat (Midnight Black) and the frame (our Mahogany Moda).

Mahogany frame black mtboard

The framing process itself was like playing a game of Tetris where each piece was a different size and shape. An enormous amount of thought and planning went into creating a layout that would not only tell the story of the club in an engaging, informative way, but also appear pleasing to the eye as a whole. A photograph of an instrumental figure and the extra pieces of information from the Dolphins’ website were printed on our archival rag paper to ensure longevity. I also strategically sized the paragraphs to fit nicely in the context of the layout.

Dolphins NRL framing layout

Once the final design had been locked in, then came the tricky bit. When floating artworks, we use a method that involves threading archival quality Linen Tape through slots cut in the backing mat. This effectively, discretely, and (most importantly of all) reversibly, secures the artwork in place. It’s of paramount importance that each floated item has the correct amount of support, otherwise it could drop, lift or bend in unsightly ways later in the frame’s lifespan.

Floating linen tape

I needed to create a matboard layout that would have these slots in the correct place. In between the sea of slots were various openings for the plaque, photos and printed articles. These items all sat below the mat, the neat white bevels acting as a point of differentiation from the authentic, much loved newspaper clippings hovering above the surface. Here’s a look at the laughably messy “map” that I drew for the mat, next to its much prettier digital evolution. Sometimes the framing process has to be a little bit ugly so that the final product can be beautiful.

Matboard design

Each article was gently yet firmly pressed down onto the linen tape “wings” and burnished to ensure a long-lasting hold. After everything had been secured, all that remained was crafting the frame itself.

Matboard placement

A simple, minimalist profile matched with the rich maroon of our mahogany wood contrasted beautifully against the black backing. Virtually invisible black spacers were installed under the rebate to give the articles plenty of breathing room from the glass, ensuring maximum longevity.

Framed dolphins NRL memorabilia

We’re very proud of the final result, and so was the client. He presented the frame as a gift to Wayne Bennett; coach of the Dolphins. It now hangs as a historic tribute.

Additional note: As the frame was intended as a gift, I didn’t want the framing of the articles to act as a goodbye to the newspaper clippings that our client had taken care of for so many years. To ensure that he could still view them whenever he wanted, I made sure to take high quality scans of each and every one, returning them to him in digital format when he collected the completed frame.

These scans came in especially handy when a friend of his from work (who had seen the completed frame) asked if we could make a replica for him. I had saved all the measurements and specifications of the initial job (mostly for sentimental reasons, I spent a lot of time on it) and the mat still remained in the Nesting folder on the Valiani computerised cutter.

I printed off each of the articles to the exact same size as the originals, cut them out with a knife and floated them too. The replica frame is (at a glance) identical to the original, save for a slight colour difference in the newspaper clippings.

If any of his other firends or colleagues happen to want one, I’ll be well practised for the task.

Dolphions NRL frame difference

If you have unique peice of history to frame, contact me at Frame Today Aspley or find your nearest framing store.

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