Preservation Artisans Guild Member Feature: Deann Holtz | Portland Art Framing

In Design, Featured PAG Members, Framing, History, Restorationby Karla Pearlstein

A charter member of the Preservation Artisans Guild, Deann Holtz of Portland Art Framing has nearly twenty years of hands-on experience in the art and custom framing industry as well as a passion for design, color, and textiles. Deann reminisces that her creative appetite began with an obsession for prepackaged mosaic pictures when she was about 8 years old; and she’s been creating ever since; – working with and combining the color and design of textiles, glass, and wood throughout her youth. With a business background in college, Deann spent many years working in the upper echelons of the corporate world and even followed her growing career from Utah to Portland, Oregon. Then, in 1995 Deann decided to expand her creative skills by learning the art of custom framing. She trained with some of the best in the industry, took guidance from the specialists, and ultimately found herself in the business of custom framing and fine art.

Antique Cross-stitch, 1709

“Internal beauty will survive the tomb…” Cross-stitch sampler by Isabella Clark, 1709.

In 1999, after several years of training, research, and practice, Deann and her husband opened a full-service, owner-operated, custom framing shop and fine art gallery. Village Frame & Gallery, Inc. With their clearly defined ideals and dedication to exceptional presentation and preservation of artwork and memorabilia, the pair established the high standards that continue to guide the day-to-day operations of the business today.

Deann explains, “Our main goal was to cultivate a knowledgeable clientele. When a customer understands the value of superior workmanship and quality materials, they will make the necessary investment and enjoy the results for years to come. If we provide this knowledge and the workmanship, they will also be loyal customers. These have always been the defining principles of our business.

After 15 years of managing the successful framing business, the artisans sold the retail operation in 2014 to one of their highly professional, and most supportive, clients. Selling the business allowed Deann the freedom to focus her expertise and knowledge and to dedicate her full energies to assisting clients with designing archival decorative displays for sensitive historic, heirloom and valued possessions. Although she does continue to work closely with her colleagues at Village Frame & Gallery, it’s Deann’s home studio, where she completed her very first framing jobs before opening the storefront, that now provides her a serene, private and secure location for her small frame work, design,  layout, and project preparation.

1844 Tapestry Project

1844 Tapestry Project

Today, most new clients find Deann through referrals from long-time customers from the days of her retail store. Others come to Deann via recommendations from her fellow Preservation Artisans Guild members. While Deann had enjoyed the buzz of owning and running a brick-and-mortar custom frame shop, she admits that she has always preferred providing in-home consultations to her customers. Deann believes that knowing more about the person she is working with as well as seeing their preferred décor and personal style first-hand significantly improves the end product. Since selling her retail operation, Deann is happy to be able to visit her clients in person, where they live and work.

Deann notes that custom framing is a craft with all of the challenging characteristics of any other artisan’s craft. An experienced preservation framer like Deann understands the importance of and utilizes only quality conservation materials and techniques to create protective displays for delicate historic memorabilia and artwork. While the framed contents are extremely valuable to the clients, the end product will likely not be hung in a controlled environment like a museum. Displays kept in homes and offices must be built to shield against the damaging effects of light, temperature, and moisture. The framed article should be secured in a non-invasive, easily reversible manner, yet be strong enough to withstand rough handling and storage. If a client desires the home or office presentation of family heirlooms, personal memorabilia, or high valued works of art, Deann Holtz has acquired the in-depth knowledge of frame crafting, mounting techniques, archival materials and glazing options to safely display and preserve life’s treasures. This design aesthetic and crafting approach provides each of Deann’s clients with a beautiful investment that will bring visual pleasure for generations to come.

Deann tells us what she loves about the decorative display craft is “the excitement generated by a well-executed project. Visually, the displayed piece adds warmth and beauty to a home or office which is important. But, sometimes when I visit long time customers and friends, I see years of my work hanging throughout their house which gives me a special kind of significance in the world. Quality framing allows an object, art piece, heirloom or keepsake, to be taken out of the drawers, chests and family hiding places. Once framed, it can be enjoyed by its keeper, admired and conversed about by visitors and ultimately passed safe and secure to its next keeper. Being a part of that process has always been rewarding to me.

To learn more about Deann and her craft, along with her contact information and to view a small gallery of some of her exquisite work, please visit her professional member page at the Preservation Artisans Guild website.