Solana Beach’s bespoke framing business Once Upon a Frame has unveiled a new art gallery space at the end of North Cedros Avenue.
Carlsbad painter Kate Joiner is the first artist in residence. Her work was featured at the gallery’s inaugural exhibition in August and will be on display throughout the coming month. The new Once Upon a Frame gallery and showroom plans to have a new artist in residence every three months along with artwork from local artisans and designers.
With over 20 years of framing experience, owner Yael Gmach and her team have framed just about everything from a wedding dress to 18e-Persian armor of the century; a 10-inch stamp at a work last month framing a 10-by-9-foot portrait of the beloved mother of a deceased client. The project took three hours to complete and hang inside La Jolla’s house because the painting was not going through the front door.
“What a nice position for a framer to do this for a family,” Gmach said. “It was an honor.”
The Gmach trio of Once Upon a Frame, Jimmy Reardon and Nadia Bucquet take great pride in what they do — viewing their work as an ‘improvement of art’, creating a personalized setting that reflects both beauty and the emotions of a room and the tastes of the owner. They own and take care of every project they undertake.
Gmach’s framing business started in its garage in 2000, before moving to a workspace in the Cedros Design District. A longtime Cardiff resident, the free-spirited Gmach was born in Paris, France, and moved to San Diego with her family at the age of 11.
“I fell into the frame almost by accident. Coaching is a fantastic job but nobody ever decided at 17 to be a coach, ”she said with a laugh.
Coaching began as a hobby when Gmach worked as a veterinary technician at the Helen Woodward Animal Center – she had even once continued her education in veterinary school. She had supervised all medical degrees and would find herself taking on supervisory duties for veterinary clients.
As word of mouth spread and she got more and more framing gigs, she finally turned to her then-partner Jimmy Reardon and said, “Let’s just frame.” As their love affair ended, their business continued.
Gmach trained in coaching, taking courses and attending conventions: “I’ve become a total freak of coaching,” she said.
She learned conservation methods when working with lithographs (as improper framing can corrode or discolor a lithograph), professional standards on how to handle high-value items, and graduated as a professional framer – at one point, she was even the president of the Professional Picture Framing Association in San Diego.
Very devoted to her work, it was not uncommon for Gmach to descend headlong into her workshop from 8 am to 11 pm or later, six to seven days a week.
Gmach had always been artistic in her way of seeing fashion and was always surrounded by artists, but had never discovered her own artistic medium – framing was a way to express your creative side while taking great care of the works of art. most treasured art, photographs and collectibles of people.
As an art lover, she understands how much pieces mean to their owners. Just as there are no limits in the art, there are no limits in the framing and his team thinks a lot about visualizing what might be best for the artwork, a process that can take 10 minutes or three days of reflection.
One of her favorite activities is working with interior designers and their ingenious minds. She said she finds herself saying “yes” to whatever they envision no matter how hard it will be to achieve: “I like to be a part of what they are trying to do”, a- she declared.
The company opened the new gallery space in its North Cedros building in March. The front of the building has a clean studio look where they display the artwork while the rear is the fabrication room and workspace filled with moldings, rugs, tools and a visual feast of future projects.
Gmach said she sometimes wished she didn’t like framing as much as she did, as she tends to get completely immersed in the work, so there’s little time for anything else. However, in 2008 she finally discovered her artistic medium in poetry – poetry evolved into musical lyrics and singing and playing the guitar. Now when she’s not on target, you can find her playing on weekends with her band Big Boss Bubeleh.
“I am so thankful that this business is working,” she said. “This new step of being an art gallery is something that I have never done. It will be exciting and difficult, there is nothing more difficult than selling art.
She moves forward framed by confidence: “I have the feeling that I cannot fail.