It started in the mid 70's when Roger Nielsen bought an abandoned warehouse in Lowertown, St Paul. A neighborhood that was, as he remembers, mostly winos and pigeons. He and Janet Hawn renovated the building into affordable artist housing and opened Master Framers on the main level. The building became known as 262 Studios. So began a thriving artist community that still exists today.
Roger and Janet's passion for art and framing took the frame shop beyond traditional chop & join services. They became experts at hand-finishing and hand-carving frames as well as painting/frame restoration. Today, the artisan staff at Master Framers have been trained using time tested materials and techniques required to take on your most challenging frame projects.
You can find our frames hanging at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Des Moines Art Center, South Dakota Art Museum, The Minnesota State Capitol, the George Bush Presidential Library and other historic sites, churches, and universities across the United States. We are also proud to have many frames hanging in private homes being enjoyed by private art collectors.
Meet the Staff
At the heart of everything we do at Master Framers lies a group of individuals who bring our vision for beautiful, handcrafted frames to life.
Artist, frame maker, collector, community organizer, advocate for the arts, Lowertown pioneer. Roger has been a leader in the picture framing industry. He has taught numerous workshops and seminars relating to gilding, design, restoration and frame history.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 62
Always interested in the arts, Andrew fell into framing and has stayed with it long enough to learn all parts involved. Now the main gilder as well as Shop Manager, he spans both front and back shop, sales, deliveries, and all trouble-shooting.
His artistic bent shows itself in his good cooking, art collecting, and varied beard styles.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 23
Coming to Master Framers from past framing work, Liz has jumped headlong into frame restoration and finishing. A photographer and amateur painter, she's an artist who is daily expanding her mediums and gaining expertise in making old world beauties shine again.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 6
FINISHER / FRAMER
An award winning plein-air painter and Lowertown resident artist for 12 years, Master Framers was able to steal Richard from his true love of painting to be our primary finisher of custom frames and objects.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 27
DESIGNER / FRAMER
Jeni shares her many years experience in framing and design work with our customers. Her energy and vision bring good life to Master Framers and we benefit from her organization, cheerfulness, and design skill.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 32
FRAMER / DESIGNER / OFFICE MANAGER
Having worked in the framing industry through college and beyond, Kathryn soon learned of Master Framer's focus on Old World framing and aimed her sights higher. Since 1995 she has been involved in the exciting world of true custom framing in one capacity or another.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 29
FRAMER / DESIGNER / GENERAL TROUBLE-MAKER
Our youngest member makes up for her relatively short time in the framing business with her eagerness and ability to learn whatever new skill the Master Framers shop throws her way - whether it's finishing, hand-carving, or sanding gesso like there's no tomorrow. She is known to keep up the shop morale with her varied choice of tunes and timely jokes.
YEARS IN THE FRAMING INDUSTRY: 3
WOODWORKER / FURNITURE-MAKER
Retirement was too boring so to add some excitement back into his life, Hans came to work with us! His life-long career of wood-working and furniture-making has made him a great asset in our back woodshop. Not to mention he has many good stories to share, too.