Edenton’s new custom picture framing operation, 3rd and Badham Picture Framers, is run by Julia Townsend.

The shop joined the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce last month.

“It hit me one day after buying some brushes at Edenton Office Supply’s Closing Sale,” she explains, “Where will we do our framing now?”

This niche, and a lifetime of making, presenting, and installing art, prompted 3rd& BadhamPicture Framers which is now open for customers inside the 1932 peanut mill. Literally hundreds of frame moulding sare available to choose from, as well as matting and mounting services.

Eventually a showroom will feature artworks, posters, other handmade items, and later some specialized artist materials.

The shop is open daily from 10:30 to 5:30 p.m., as well as by appointment (closed Wednesdays and Sundays). The entrance is on 3rd Street, currently using a doorbell.

Combining art, history

“My parents collected art, and my father hung the art meticulously around the house,” Townsend said. “I grew up next to an art teacher whose husband ran a frame shop, and another artist down the street ran a gallery and frame shop as well. I feel proud to carry on a tradition of artist/framers that includes Laney Layton of Edenton Office Supply.”

Townsend is fascinated by the history and techniques of framing, from preserving mementos in a shadow box,to museum-quality conservation methods. Part of her first job out of college was organizing the conservation of the art collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, working with painting, paper, frame and object conservators as an assistant to the curator.

For local collectors of fragile artworks on paper, she is presently organizing Zoom visits on April 23rd and 24th by Marianne Kelsey, a book and paper conservator, so residents can get a free quotation for professional cleaning or repair. Contact info@badham.viptohold your place.

From artist’s background

As an artist, Townsend has both avoided frames, and made her own.

“One of my long-time favorite painters is Elizabeth Murray, the New York painter who made 8-foot tall shaped canvases.”

Thus, she often skips the need for a frame completely by painting on asymmetrically-shaped relief surfaces, or paints murals.

Another artist who inspires her is Howard Hodgkin, the British colorist who paints directly on the frame, incorporating it into the composition.

“I feel a little bit like a kid in a candy store now,”says Townsend, “as I canexperiment with frames like I never have before.”

In art classes she learned to mitre wood and stretch her own canvases, and over the years, like many artists, she learned to upscale vintage frames and cut mat board.The transition from personal framing to professional shop owner is an exciting challenge for her, and will overlap with other art activities at The Peanut Factory, the nonprofit artist residency program.

Previously, she has taught art (painting, drawing, 2D- and 3D-design, Middle Eastern Design, digital art) from beginner to advanced portfolio at the American University in Dubai, Koç University, Istanbul Technical University, and the University of Delaware.

She has also taught foreign languages, most recently Spanish at Gates County High School.

When not framing, this year she is illustrating a children’s book called “The Best Thing to Be” written by Zimbabwe-born author Deborah Dixon, with help froman Artist’s Support Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. Later in the spring, Townsend will also be leading en-plein-air drawing classes.

For information, contact info@badham.vip or 252-256-9803.

Contact Nicole Bowman-Layton at nlayton@ncweeklies.com.