With 45 Years of Experience, Area Framer Has the Answers


(Wednesday, March 12, 2008 3:11 PM EDT)

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but without the right frame people might not even be drawn to look at it.

Bill Waller of Waller Picture Framing in Middleburg knows this well, and has perfected the art of choosing appropriate frames during the 45 years he's been in the business.

Not only does Waller choose frames, but 80 percent of the frames in his showroom are made in his workshop in Hume.

Along with his assistant and “right-hand man” Nicolas Gargulo, Waller designs both original and traditional frames, as well as reproduces period frames, in all sizes and price ranges.

He also sells the work of foreign frame builders in his shop, including leather frames from Peru.

“My main thing I enjoy is putting the right frame with the right piece [of art],” he said.

Waller studied painting in college, then studied woodworking with esteemed furniture builder Sam Maloof. He started his framing business in 1969, and has been in Middleburg about 17 years.

He has framed very valuable collections, including a set of Miró paintings, and has been the go-to framer for numerous members of Congress, movie stars . . . even Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

But why are custom frames so important to Waller, and why are they important to completing the look of your home?

“[Paintings on the wall are] the first thing people notice,” Waller said. “It's what people talk about at parties.”

Making sure you have a frame that showcases the art appropriately is key to making a room look complete and congruous.

“You never try to upstage the artwork,” Waller said. “Shapes are important. Little subtle differences can make or break a frame.”

Luckily, there are many frames to choose from, and Waller is always visiting museums, traveling and researching to come up with more ideas.

“What's unusual in my career is I have traveled, and met other framers, in places such as Venice, Milan and London,” he said. “Visiting with other framers, I get a lot of ideas.”

Drawing inspiration from artists such as the cubists, Whistler and Goya, as well as revamping old frames that have gone out of style, Waller's goal is to create frames that will stand the test of time.

“The hardest thing for us to find are good new designs that will last,” he said. “We're hoping one day they'll be ours.”

For more information on custom framing, call Waller Picture Framing at (540) 687-6939.

Bill Waller’s workshop in Hume turns out custom frames for customers locally and around the world. His client list even included Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

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