Over the years, I’ve been asked how I learned to be a custom picture framer and frankly, I never thought it was much of an interesting story to be shared until I actually told someone. I mean, really, it started because I was a wimp. At least I thought I was.

Back in 1985, after moving to three different states in a year and a half after college, my first husband ( I really dislike the prefix ‘ex’) and I, along with our oldest son, Justin, ended up in Arvada, Colorado. My husband had a job lined up to tide us over until he found one in his field, but it became apparent within one month of arriving in Colorado that something was wrong with his body. He went through testing and was diagnosed with an incurable neurological condition.

Ok…I needed to find a job, and fast. My level of experience consisted of…
not much. I had waitressed but wasn’t very good at it. I just didn’t have the timing of a good waitress. I had worked the ticket booth at an Amish tourist resort…none of those around here. I had walked beans,detasseled corn,and worked in a convenience store. I had taught myself to do calligraphy and had charged money for that. I had even framed some of my calligraphy at a do-it-yourself place nearby and I found it to be kind of fun. I knew I could be a cashier someplace, but it didn’t change the fact that I was terrified to drive in the big city.

Up until that point, I had never lived in a town bigger than 8,000 people except for when my husband was in college and that town had a population of around 50,000, but I did minimal driving there. “Why drive when you can walk?” was my motto. The two towns we lived in the previous year each had less than 500 people!

I decided I wanted to do something I enjoyed but it was going to have to be close because I was NOT going to drive around in this city. Out came the yellow pages (before internet) and I looked up all the places nearby that I thought I might like to work. There was Michael’s and another craft store, three or four frame shops, including the one I had done framing at, and a couple of other places that sounded good. All these businesses were within a five mile radius of our apartment. I copied their addresses, typed up a resume, along with a letter explaining the situation and offering to work for one week free of charge so they could try me out, and put the letters in the mail. Within a few days I had received six replies, either by phone or letter. Not a bad percentage!

Two of the frame shops wanted experience, but the other one requested an interview! As it turned out, the owner’s husband had MS also. The rest is history. I was hired and apprenticed, learning the trade from the bottom up. My co-worker, DeAnn, and I became good friends and still are to this day. I worked there for a year and a half until my husband found a really good job, got established, and we bought a house in south Denver, far across town.

After our second son, Kyle, was born and turned four, I went back to framing, for another company for a few years, and now, 25 years after I started from scratch, I frame for our own company.

I think back on how much has changed since then. Framing was a booming business in the 80’s and then the oil bust came. Hard times. There are some things that will never change though. Framing is and always will be a luxury service. There is a need to preserve the integrity and value of certain pieces of art, and this need also extends to artifacts of sentimental and historical nature. It is truly worth the price to pay for making sure your special pieces are treated properly to display and last for many years.

I can see now that I was stronger than I thought I was back then in my 20’s. I will say that I am definitely not as strong now as I was then. I know I am stronger, much stronger. I now have faith and hope and a deep love of the Lord that took root and grew. With the Lord as my companion, leader, and encourager, I can do all sorts of things I never thought I could, and I am not a wimp, and I can drive all over the place!

Published by Tamra E Witt

I am a Christ Follower, Wife, Mother, Writer, Reader, Framer, Calligrapher, Cook, and Gardener living the dream in Oklahoma after thirty-five years in Colorado! I love my life and am grateful for every experience, including the challenges alongside the joys, that have molded me into the person I am and hope to be for God's glory always.

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