A woman strolls into the framing shop clasping the hood ornament of a car. She doesn't know much about it, except that it was attached to the car her grandfather drove around town during his youth. Not wanting the trinket to sit in a dusty drawer any longer, she hands it over to a staff member and asks him to turn it into piece of art equipped to hang on a wall. Since The Preservation Framer's doors flung open in November 2008, its team has restored and preserved memory-laden keepsakes ranging from photographs to wedding gowns to violins. During each framing project, specialists use museum-quality materials to securely encase items within custom-cut frames, available in more than 700 colors and three fruit flavors. Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and a tin ceiling enclose the storefront, which doubles as an art gallery that showcases local, regional, and intergalactic artists' work at least four times a year. The Preservation Framer's downtown-area surroundings also keep clients entertained with an assortment of restaurants and boutiques.
When Stephen Staples comes across an ancient ash can or a board stripped of its nails, he studies it as if it’s the Mona Lisa. What appear to the common eye to be scraps are seen by Stephen for what they truly are—the building materials of early New England homesteads and factories. With his family, Stephen repurposes the salvaged materials into handcrafted kitchen tables, headboards, armoires, and benches.
“All this stuff is from somewhere special. … You look at the piece, you see the history, you know what went on," he says. "They say the piece can’t talk. They do talk, you just need to know how to listen.” For those not fluent in the language of reclaimed materials, Stephen includes a certificate of authenticity with each piece that details its age and probable history, including which pilgrims stored their socks in it. For his meticulous handiwork and passion for history, Stephen has been featured on This Old House and WCVB's Chronicle and in Design New England magazine and the Boston Herald.
European friends Pernilla Frazier and Line Daems founded Kreatelier in 2007. Since then, solid local press has helped bring crafters from around the area into the shop. Its quaint quarters feature a diverse collection of product designs including bags, quilts, reusable gift wraps, and various accessories, all enhanced by crafty workshops that educate interested art architects. Rampant pencil collections can be put to rest with large cotton pencil cases ($18), which are washable, rollable, and feature 11 pockets, while manicure and pedicure cases ($15) help keep tools and other grooming paraphernalia from escaping. Keep rebellious flocks of hair at bay with a brightly colored headband ($8), elegantly wrap bottles of precious fermented fruits inside wine bags ($10), or organize a messy back seat with the car-seat organizer ($40), which withstands abuse and the effects of time travel.