I strive to make beautiful frames well.
Durable in both style and craftsmanship, My frames celebrate natural materials by being finished with the resonant beauty of natural oils, patinas, waxes and pigments.
My goal is for my frames to help my clients create inspired places to live and work while displaying and protecting the pictures they love.
After 22 years in the framing industry in New York City, I returned to my hometown of Tucson to care for my elderly parents and to start my own framing company in 2019. Tucson was where I’d first learned framing, and over the years I found myself missing Tucson more and more Now that I was back, I wanted to give Tucsonans an alternative to conventional frame shops by offering frames that are custom made by hand from scratch in my home workshop.
With every new project, I start with the underlying belief that to properly frame a picture the frame itself must be well made. More than a custom frame shop, I have a complete woodworking shop where I make frames by hand with classic furniture-making techniques that have been adapted to the particularly refined and precise demands of picture frame-making.
I start from raw lumber, allowing me to sand the corners flush after gluing and reinforce them with corner splines. Since the finish will eventually cover the splines and the miter join, the result is a continuous, “closed” corner frame. This is the mark of a frame built and finished for the artwork specifically. I also offer frames by a curated selection of closed-corner frame makers working in other materials, giving me the unique ability to provide a setting for your art with unlimited design possibilities, in perfect harmony with its specific characteristics.
Since I combine frame design and production in one small shop, I’m able to, in effect, return to the pre-industrial era of picture framing that was longed for by the Arts & Crafts Movement, a time when craftsmen built frames one at a time, for the picture, before it became a big business with factories producing pre-finished moulding only in trendy colors and styles. With my approach, I can produce truly inventive framing designs that are invented in collaboration with my clients.
Though I specialize in designs inspired by Tucson’s design and architectural history, my process lends itself to transcending particular styles which offers you the opportunity to place your picture in the perfect frame, one that will endure in both design and craftsmanship.
Irvin Stafford started working in custom framing in Tucson while attending the University of Arizona. Upon graduating with a BFA in 1997, he moved to New York City where he spent 22 years framing, including being hired to start a frame shop from the ground up in Brooklyn and managing it for 11 years. In 2014, he earned his CPF (Certified Picture Framer) designation from the Professional Picture Framer’s Association (PPFA) from which he won a chapter level framing competition in 2017 (Read more here). In 2019, he brought his love of framing back to Tucson and, working with his father Marvin as woodworking consultant, started his next chapter by founding the Stafford Framing Company. Now his frames are hanging in inspired places to live and work in Tucson while they display and protect the pictures people love.
What is a Certified Picture Framer?
Through the Professional Picture Framers Association™(PPFA™) Certified Picture Framer® (CPF®) Program, a framer’s knowledge is tested in such areas as mounting, glazing, frame cutting, preservation methods and the proper materials to be used in framing projects. A framer who passes the extensive exam earns the framer’s mark of excellence, the CPF® designation. To ensure that any framer who has a CPF®remains current in the professional framing field, a CPF® must re-certify as a CPF® every four years. Fewer than 4,000 individuals worldwide have achieved CPF® status since the program’s inception in 1986. The CPF® program was created to raise the standards of the framing profession, improve education within the industry, and recognize those framers who demonstrate a higher knowledge and skill in the framing profession.