Minato alacarte

Traditional Craftmen in Minato City

Yoichi Ohe

Picture Frames Yoichi Ohe

His beautiful frames make pictures stand out.

The prototype for picture frames is said to have originated in the Greek period. Western-style picture frames were first created in Japan in the early Meiji era. The frames were decorated with detailed patterns, sometimes taking the form of carved wood. Today, they are required to harmonize with the paintings, as well as with the walls they are to hung upon, and occupy an important place as works of art independently, along with the paintings they adorn.


Process of making picture frames

  1. Assembling wood frame
    Assemble the frame base.(usually made of cryptomeria wood)
  2. Wood carving
    Carve the design in wood and attach it to the base or carve it directly into the wood frame.
  3. Preparing decoration
    Knead the Gofun whitewash (pulverized seashell) and glue to form a clay for casting in a plaster mold.
  4. Attaching decoration
    Let the cast decoration dry for about one week; then attach it to the frame with a mixture of whitewash and glue thinned with water and nail it in place.
  5. Base coat
    Brush the decorated surface of the wood frame with the same liquid used in Step 3.
  6. Polishing
    Rub with a whetstone to smooth rough parts such as joints of decoration.
  7. Top coat
    In order to facilitate the impression of flakes, apply Japanese varnish to the inner part of the frame and lacquer to the outer part. Polish with a cloth.
  8. Impressing gold or silver flakes
    Impress gold or silver flakes on the surface. Press them with a soft cotton ball.
  9. Finishing
    Apply a coat of varnish over the flakes to fix them firmly in place. Soil the surface to create an antiqued look, if required.

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