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Meet your merchant: She was framed

Katy Anderson spent most of her adult life scaling trees as an outdoor educator.

But five years ago, she took a leap more daring than any she’d done at her ropes course job – she bought her own business, Nevada City Picture Framing.

Customers meander into her high-ceilinged, art-lined shop on Searls Avenue and chatter about the photos they’ve brought to frame.



Some settle in for the long haul in the padded bar stools at the counter; Anderson gives them her undivided attention.

“With every piece of art, there’s a story. There’s healing that goes on,” said Anderson.




Though she’d dabbled in woodworking, learning to frame was another thing entirely. She learned from her employees, who had worked at the store under previous owners.

When a new project arrives, she pulls molding from hundreds of samples on the wall, trying dozens of combinations until she finds the perfect complement.

Framing is about making the art look good, Anderson said. She challenges anyone who hasn’t had a photograph or painting custom framed to try it once.

“It’s like adding a new piece of furniture to your home,” she said.

Framing is her creative outlet, but the work can be stressful: Businesses like Anderson’s have struggled in the recession, and competition from the Internet is fierce.

“The last few years have been the ultimate challenge,” she said. “I’m solely in business based on this community.”

It’s a community that’s been supportive of both her business and her role as a mom. Anderson sometimes works 18-hour days to keep up with orders, and sometimes closes the shop early to make it to her teenage daughter Sam’s water polo games.

The balance is tough, but “it’s important to make that work,” she said. “You only get one chance to raise a child.”

In addition to custom frames – made to order in three weeks or less – Nevada City Picture Framing offers ready-made frames starting around $5.

The building itself is a destination. Artists hang their works on the walls for potential buyers, and the shop is a stop on the Western Nevada County Open Studios Tour, which will run for its second and final weekend October 16 and 17.

While tour attendees will likely be doting much more on the canvases than the borders she lovingly crafts, Anderson knows a framer has a crucial supporting role.

“Frames can open the doors on a piece of art,” she said. “I like what I do, and that’s what makes it worth it.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.


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