Moulding Newsletter April 2011

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  • July 9, 2015

An unexpected piece of Foster history…

This month we would like to share a story with you. A charitable woman recently found and contacted us via email letting us know she had something in her possession we may have an interest in. While rummaging through items in her home, she had come across a framed piece of art and decided to give it away then she turned the piece of art over and noticed something interesting about the backside of the frame. The art itself is an oil painting of an iris, created by a local artist from Whittier, CA (a friend of the woman’s family who is now deceased). The frame – an attractive scoop-styled profile, with an antique type finish to it (gray & cream colored, looking worn with scuffs, along with pretty, gold undertones shining through). What was on the backside, which made this moment for her so interesting? Well, when turned over, the frame was stamped on the back reading: EW Foster Planing Mill Co, Inc. 1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 37.Yes, this is definitely a dated frame, as it was clearly stamped with a two-digit zip code (before five-digit zip codes for this area even existed!). Note: EW stands for Elwood Walker, who was the owner of Foster Planing Mill at the time. This curious woman decided to take a chance and see if there was still a company named Foster Planing Mill in existence. Sure enough, here we are, still around and in the exact same location (seriously, what are the chances?). Her request was simple would we like to have this framed art as a gift? You betcha!

As styles have changed, this particular frame profile is not offered through our current catalog(although we may still have the knives which shaped it hiding around here somewhere). It was either offered as a stock pattern during it’s time, or custom-made to go with this particular piece of art. The pieces (both art & frame) date back to the 1940’s or 1950’s, and as mentioned, the finish on the frame has an antique look to it – so how is this look achieved? As you know, we are masters of shaping wood but not masters of finishing it, therefore we would like to invite you to share your finishing expertise with us, along with the other readers. If anyone has comments or suggestions about this work of art or the techniques used to achieve the look of this finished frame, please post a comment on the FPM Blog under the section relating to this article: This historic contribution has found its new home, and is hanging in our office amongst a variety of eclectic framed photographs and art, which came to find their way here through their own unique story, just like the iris

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