The gift that keeps on giving...

This year, my family shattered every record of thoughtfulness, selflessness, and generosity. Or, perhaps they just finally gave in to the years of constant and unashamed nagging and/or begging? My birthday gift (among other things) was a set of unique original prints by our favorite Bulgarian artist, Kolio Karamfilov. To many (most), this may not mean much. But my family knew exactly how incredibly meaningful this would be to me - we have been collecting his oil paintings and prints for years yet I have always been drawn to these particular prints because of their stunning color, texture, and storytelling. Not sure if they would speak to you as much...but here is a glimpse:

So what is one to do with such a precious gift? Display it, of course! Enter, challenge of the year - how to not spend an arm and a leg but still pay the deserved homage to these amazing pieces of art. Ordinarily, framing and matting 12 prints of this size can easily run north of $1,600. But sometimes, something as equally as respectful (I hope) would be to save some of your hard-earned cash and put plenty of sweat equity into it instead, right? Right.

First, there was the matter of purchasing 12 frames. Each print is a good 11"x15" so it required a substantially large frame too. As much as I liked CB2's picture frame for the humble price of $69.95ea (x12 = $720 + tax and shipping), I just knew that Ikea may have the answer instead. And boy was I correct! Look at what I found.. the perfect frames for a mere $14.99 ea! Those were quickly stacked into my cart. Next? Matting. Gulp. 

Here is where you are probably thinking... Katya, they all look the same. Well, perhaps it appears this way. And yup, this was merely the final selection! I must have gone through a good 100+ white/grey/beige colors and textures. But I was so very picky in order to make sure the matboard would not distract from admiring the art. Which was a fun exercise until I inquired about the price... The one I had picked (the last image above) would have cost me a good $80 per frame (doing some simple math again, x12 = $960).

Well, I found that to be outrageous. So I went to an art supply store instead. The real kind of art supply store. Hello, Texas Art Supply! And how conveniently located are you... on my way home from a disastrous matboard shopping (non)spree! 12 gigantic sheets of matboard of the exact same color I had picked (at the insane price of $4.95 ea), a matboard cutter (for less than $80) and some non-acetic tape later (for a total of $146), I had the look on my face that must have read something along the lines of... "I may have not done my own matting since college, but that has never stopped me before!!" And to be fair, I did not have to sacrifice much to get this done - I only lost the feeling in my right hand for about a week. And check out this sharp professional edge!

And here are my lovely prints all nicely hanging and organized. Well, just kidding. If you were to count, you'd notice that there are only 10 of them on the wall. As it turns out, placing 12 prints together takes up a LOT of real estate. I did my best... 2 of these lovelies are now hanging on the wall lining my staircase. 

And because I find the technique and detail of these prints so astonishing, I wanted to share a couple of close-ups... Just stunning.

And, of course, what is a piece of art installation without its admirers...

I hope I did these prints justice. I cannot be prouder, luckier or happier to be able to display them in my home. And I get to enjoy them every singe day. Truly, the gift that keeps on giving! 

Posted on August 2, 2015 and filed under Design + DIY.