Proving that frames are ‘not just four pieces of wood stuck together’, Ryan Ward has set up his bespoke frame fabrication studio at Collingwood’s The Compound Interest Centre for The Applied Arts.
Started out: I always loved the look of the framed walls in The Royal Tenenbaums’ house and Barry McGee’s frame installations. My background is in graphic design and, prior to starting United Measures, I was working at Studio Round as one of their senior designers. I worked with Round for almost eight years and always enjoyed the tactile and production aspects of the job. I was enthusiastic about making mockups and models, even when they weren’t particularly necessary. I found this to be the most relaxing and meditative part of the process. In 2008, while still working at Round, I began framing and screen-printing to satisfy the ever-increasing urge to build and craft objects by hand and create my own Tenenbaums/McGee inspired feature wall. At that time, I had no intention of starting a framing or printing business, I just enjoyed the craft and methodical process. I just wanted to print my own posters and frame everything I had around the house.
Big break: My modest break came in 2009 when Jeremy Wortsman of The Jacky Winter Group offered me the opportunity to frame for his gallery Lamington Drive. This was the commercial turning point for what was my old-mannish, self-indulgent pastime. Then, in early 2010, Jeremy asked if I would be interested in joining The Compound Interest when they relocated to a larger warehouse in Collingwood. It was another offer I just couldn’t refuse and, in August of 2010, I left Round and moved into the Compound to start operating as United Measures.
Current project: I have partnered with longtime friend and collaborator, Suzy Tuxen, of A Friend of Mine to start a new little venture called Significant Others Shop, an online store retailing various screen-printed design and limited edition artworks on paper and timber. We’re hoping to launch this some time in August.
Favourite project: I recently worked with People Collective to screen-print some elements of the 2011 Emerging Writers Festival collateral. The printed mark required everything you would typically try to avoid as a screen-printer. Each mark was totally unique, organic and made of multiple colours merged together. It was a surprise every time I lifted the screen.
What’s next: Framing can generate a lot of waste, so my father and I are in the process of designing some little wooden toys that can be made from the various timber off-cuts that we have been collecting over the past few years. I’m hoping that later in the year United Measures will have a small range of little handmade toy ’planes, trains and various automobiles. I’m not sure if there will be much interest in these toys; perhaps making these will become my new old-mannish, self-indulgent pastime.
From desktop magazine.
Photography: Vlad Savin