Cory Fisher

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May 12, 2014
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Meet your merchant: Nevada City Picture Framing

Who doesn’t have boxes of family treasures that sit for years in storage unappreciated? What’s the best way to regularly see and admire these cherished items?

Frame them, says Katy Anderson, owner of Nevada City Picture Framing. And she’s not just talking about photo collages, children’s art or that 1967 Jimi Hendrix poster.

Over the years, Anderson and her accomplished assistant, Lisa Bodnar, have framed everything from boxing gloves, antique keys, miniatures and violins to Navajo blankets and Bedouin jewelry.

On Wednesday, Bodnar was carefully sewing 80-year-old handkerchiefs to matting that will be meticulously placed into restored, 100-year-old frames. The process takes hours, said Bodnar, but she’s never found anything “quite as satisfying” as the 40-plus years she’s spent framing.

In fact, Bodnar was working in the 23-year-old framing shop the day Anderson walked through the doors eight years ago to conduct unrelated business with the previous owner.

“The then-owner said she was thinking of selling the business and casually suggested I buy it,” said Anderson. “I told her, ‘I don’t know anything about framing!’”

But in the weeks that followed, Anderson found herself still mulling it over. After spending 20 years working in outdoor education — including leading students and corporate groups on the ropes courses behind Lyman Gilmore School — Anderson was ready for a change.

“For two decades I’d been teaching people to take risks; now it was my turn,” she said with a laugh. “I have high standards. I won’t do anything unless I can do it well.”

Prior to buying Nevada City Picture Framing, Anderson spent two months at the store observing every part of the business. With a background in art and construction, she loved what she saw. The only hard part was getting used to being indoors every day.

After purchasing the business, Bodnar and the previous owner “pretty much did everything” the first year, said Anderson, who wanted to be sure she was fully trained before taking on high-end projects.

With eight years now under her belt, she and Bodnar work closely together helping customers choose from the hundreds of frame samples, mat choices and designs, ranging from the traditional to contemporary.

While there is an extensive choice of affordable options, the store also offers fabric mats, such as linens, suedes, raw silks and hundreds of fillets.

“We want to provide you with a ‘full-spectrum’ custom framing experience,” said Anderson. “From simple dry mounts to archival museum projects. We have the styles, techniques and professional expertise to create a project that is beautifully designed and impeccably crafted. We have the largest selection of custom-frame mouldings in the area.”

With framing an art in and of itself, Anderson and Bodnar are known for their proper preservation practices, which ensure that projects can be displayed for a lifetime. Only the best materials to protect framed projects are used, such as acid-free matting and UV-protected glass.

Over the years, Nevada City Picture Framing has been entrusted with original works from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (whose owner would stay with the painting while it was being worked on).

“We love the stories that go along with the artwork — there’s always a story,” said Anderson. “We always take the time to listen. I’ve learned so much.”

Bodnar agrees.

“The artwork we see is a remarkable reflection of the people who live in our county,” she said.

“We meet interesting people all the time. This work is never boring — we do something that makes people happy and we are always surrounded by beautiful art.”

As a way to promote local art, the frame shop keeps the work of at least 10 local artists on display at any given time. The airy, naturally lit store in the Seven Hills Business District is routinely on the artists’ Open Studio tour, and Anderson is planning to remodel this summer prior to the next tour in October.

In addition to the community fundraisers she’s hosted in the past, she also hopes to host small dinner parties with artists, historians and storytellers.

But don’t expect to find Anderson in her store in early September, as she still needs her occasional outdoor fix. Instead, on Sept. 5, you’ll be able to find her at an elevation of 14,505 feet — on top of Mount Whitney.

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at or call 530-477-4203.

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The Union Updated Jun 8, 2014 05:08PM Published May 27, 2014 04:58PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.