I make reclaimed wood frames and mirrors.
Do you only use recycled materials in your work?
Almost. The wood for the frames is recycled from homes and apartments around the greater Montreal area. The cardboard backing for the glass and mirrors is from recycled cardboard boxes. I ship my frames in overstock or recycled boxes as well. The hangtags are made from recycled stock, as are my cards. The glass and mirror however, are new. I haven’t yet found a 'vitrerie' that uses recycled glass and mirror. I think it’s important to note that I also give 5% of the retail sale price of every frame sold to Équiterre, a Montreal based not-for-profit organization that works to promote sustainable choices both locally and globally.
Do you source all of your materials from the same place?
No. Every frame is part of a collection, and every collection is named for the place/area/street where the wood is taken. For instance the Clark Collection is made from old flooring from a duplex on Clark Street in the Mile End, whereas the Centre Street Collection is made from old wainscoting from a kitchen in Point St-Charles. Taking wood from different places not only makes for interesting frames, it allows me to keep the history of those places that would have otherwise been thrown out in the trash. For the De Cambrai Collection, I even helped to demo out the wood from the home in St-Bruno! My policy is to make a trade with anyone who has wood to give – if there’s enough of the “right” wood to make a collection, you get the first frame for free.
Can you tell us about some of the things people have framed with your work?
Well, it’s hard to keep track of the frames once they head to their new homes. Family photos are the most frequent things framed, along with artwork. I know someone who used a few frames to hold d.i.y. pressed flowers. It was a lovely installation.
Do you do custom orders?
Yes! I make custom sized mirrors for bathrooms or living spaces as well as custom frames for artwork. I try to keep a few pieces of wood from each collection so that clients can order custom frames in their favourites, but every collection is made in limited editions. Once the wood is gone, it’s gone! So I try to work with the client to find a wood that I have in stock that will best fit their style and the style of the item they want framed.
What is your favorite music to listen to while creating?
Working in a wood shop is loud, so most of the time I’m wearing protective ear muffs! When I’m varnishing the frames, I like to listen to something upbeat. Old soul (or new-old soul) works well for that.
What are your goals for Heidi Barkun Frames in 2012?
Right now I’m working on a very exciting project in conjunction with Le Jardin Botanique, called “1000 jours pour la planète.” One of the stations in the exhibition (opening in June, 2012) is an installation of about 30 of my frames. The exhibition is working with several different artisans who use recycled materials, so it’s really nice to be in such new and wonderful company.
As for goals, I hope that the business continues to grow. It’s really wonderful to know that boutiques and individual clients are “getting” the idea behind the frames and are willing to spend a little more for handmade, sustainable items that not only look good, but also have an important historical significance. My slogan is “Every frame tells a story,” and I hope there will be plenty of new stories to tell in 2012!