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Behind the Scenes: Wonderland exhibit 

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Kirsty Mitchell’s “Wonderland,” an exhibit of large scale fine art photography, arrived at Oshkosh’s Paine Art Center and Gardens in need of flawless framing. The stakes were high for the first U.S. showing by the England-based photographer.

Fortunately for Mitchell and the Paine, Appleton is home to John and Sarah Ranes, owners of The Frame Workshop and winners of more than 100 framing awards. “This wasn’t a job for just any framing shop,” Sarah says. “We’ve been working directly with the Paine for the past 10 years and they brought [“Wonderland”] to us because of our reputation.”

The Frame Workshop, which will celebrate 39 years in business this month, was one of the only frame shops in the Midwest capable of handling such an enormous undertaking. “It was good that the framing was done at one shop due to the sheer logistics of procuring all of the materials and getting them in one place,” John says. “The project used over 600 feet of moulding materials. Some of the moulding came from one of the largest distributors in New York because there weren’t any businesses in the Midwest that were capable of production on that scale.”

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The staggering size of the pieces meant that any movement and cleaning of the framed work required 3 or 4 people, but The Frame Workshop team was able to finish the entire project in just three days.

“We were absolutely honored to work on [the exhibition],” Sarah says. “When you’re framing them, you’re so close to the work that when you finally see it up on the wall in its entirety, it looks completely different.”

“Wonderland” will be on display until October 15. The Paine will host a Q&A with Mitchell on September 18 and a luncheon event on September 19. For more information, visit www.thepaine.org.

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