This month, E17 Art House celebrates its first year in business. The Walthamstow Picture Framers and Gallery opened in July 2010, and the Art House is now a bustling framing shop and affordable art seller. So Walthamstow Scene asked Kirsten and Elaine to tell us about their first year!
Having been given 3 months redundancy notice from ‘Frame’ in Portobello Road, forced to close due to spiralling costs, we formed a plan. We had worked together for several years and with our wealth of knowledge in picture framing (between us we have over 25 years framing experience), and a good understanding of Walthamstow – both being locals, we decided to bring professional Conservation framing to E17, and set about finding premises.
When we were shown storage rooms used by the Tax Office on Church Hill, we saw the potential to turn the dull, soulless space into a bright workshop and gallery. We used our remaining holiday allowance to start working on our vision.
Knocking through the two rooms and adding a front door where there had been a brick wall, we created a fresh and friendly space, with framing workshop at the back, and consultation area packed with picture frame samples at the front. The finishing touch was hanging specially chosen affordable art, much of it from talented Walthamstow artists, in the galley, as well as unframed prints for sale.
Incredibly we opened E17 Art House a week after officially finishing our employment at ‘Frame’. No time for feeling down or doubting our decision (or going on a long holiday). We were business owners now and we knew we would make E17 Art House work.
We had a fantastic Grand Opening weekend with tea and cake, children’s painting, and in the evening drinks and ukulele music, and were inundated with people bringing in their artwork to be framed. It was a wonderful start and very moving to be welcomed by the community! (As Hannibal from The A-Team said, “I love it when a plan comes together!”).
Since then word of mouth has spread and we are always busy working on picture framing orders. Both from artistic backgrounds; Kirsten is an artist and I am a graphic designer, we can appreciate the work that customers bring in and have a good eye for what frame works best. The E17 Art House ethos is that a well-framed picture should not only look great but also be protected by the materials used in framing it. We use Conservation framing methods, offer a range of non-reflective and UV glass, and acid-free mount-cards and materials to avoid potential discolouration and damage to artwork.
As well as framing, we also sell contemporary affordable art and greetings cards by talented local artists, and have some great exhibitions, including ‘Picture Show‘ which ran during July (over 200 visitors on the exhibition ‘premiere night’ alone!’) and are excited about our forthcoming ‘London You’re A Lady’ exhibition during the E17 Art Trail (Private View evening 1st September).
E17 Art House is open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm and Saturdays 9.30am-5.30am
Entrance is on Stainforth Road, just off Church Hill, Walthamstow.
For enquiries call 020 8509 8211.