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Home & Garden Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 30, 2009

Capturing sunlight and Capturing Moments in rural Rensselaerville

By Zach Simeone

RENSSELAERVILLE — Anne Amedure has been slowly turning her hobby of picture framing into a local, at-home business called Captured Moments Custom Framing. It’s environmentally friendly, too.

Building picture frames had been her hobby for almost 15 years before she started selling them. It started after a trip to Ireland in 1992 with her husband, Richard Amedure.

“I had picked up this piece of Irish lace that I wanted to bring home and have framed, but, being just married, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money,” Mrs. Amedure said. “I went to a frame shop and felt it was too expensive, and realized there must be a way to do it on my own. I bought a small mat cutter, and started doing my own framing over the years as a hobby.”

She eventually quit her job to raise her two children, and spent subsequent years aiding a dying friend during his final days, after which she found herself with some spare time.

“I had all this time to sit and digest and think,” Amedure said. So, she started searching for something that she could do on her own.

“I wanted to start my own business,” she said. “All the books I’d read, any advice I received, said that you have to really love what you do, because, if you don’t, you’re going to regret putting in the amount of hours, the work, the running around.”

The idea came to her in August of 2006, while on vacation in Lake Placid.

“We were hitting all the local shops, and this one shop was a guy who framed his own photography, as well as framing things for other people, and it clicked — that’s what I wanted to do,” Amedure said. “He told me he had taken this week-long framing course. So, I got the information on that, went away that September for about two weeks in Connecticut, and learned the business.”

That September, her husband outfitted a small building attached to their barn as a workshop. He has continued his work on the shop to this day, and she will eventually expand into the rest of the barn.

The business

“I’ve been working by word of mouth,” Amedure said. She framed a scanned copy of the Greenville School District’s charter, which is now hung in the district office. The original document, which she preserved, is also stored there.

Dr. Roswell Eldridge of Rensselaerville sells high-quality scans of pieces by renowned painter John James Audubon, but, before they are sold, Amedure frames them for him. Eldridge participated in a PBS special on Audubon that aired a while back, Amedure said.

“After that, a lot of people were tearing pages out of these books of original Audubon paintings and framing them,” Amedure said, “and he was trying to say, ‘You don’t have to do that; you can do high quality scans of the books.’ So, he reproduced them, and I’ve been framing those for him to sell.”

While some customers choose to trek out to her shop, Amedure has a piece of software called Artteck that allows her to visualize a plethora of frame options on the computer screen, and send pictures to customers by e-mail, saving time and money by cutting down on the traveling required of her clients.

Artteck comes with several categories of pre-packaged pictures, like animals, architecture, and art, and allows its user to visualize these samples in a variety of different frames, mats, and types of glass, in any size. The program can be configured to update its available selections automatically, and can calculate the price of a framing job.

“They can pick out mats, and they can pick out molding samples,” Amedure said. “Once that’s completed, they can see the final product all framed up visually. One of my customers was up in Albany, and she was able to choose all her options over the Internet.”

Prices depend on the materials, Amedure said. The framing material, the size of the image, the glass, and the mat all affect price.

“I’m definitely competing with the big-box stores,” she said. “I like to say my prices are 50-percent off the big-box prices.”

She buys many of her materials from the Picture Framing Magazine.

Environmentally friendly framing

Amedure’s shop is currently heated entirely by a Cansolair Solar Max 240 solar panel, 44 inches wide and 88.5 inches tall, which conducts sunlight by way of 225 beer cans, painted black and laid out vertically in 15 rows of 15.

A fan in the bottom of the panel pushes the air through the beer cans, while little fins inside the cans slow the air, allowing for a longer period of heating inside the cans before the air flows into the shop.

“A friend of mine at work sold them — we were the guinea pig,” said Richard Amedure, Anne’s husband. “Once you see them, they kind of sell themselves,” he laughed. The Cansolair panel costs $2,695.

“Commercial establishments are a good fit, because you only need it during the day time, when the sun’s out,” he went on. “Most heaters heat water or something like that first, but, this actually heats the air in your home. All you have to do is cut two small holes in the outside of your house, and a low-draw fan pulls the air out of your house, heats it in the blackened cans, and puts it back into your house.”

When the expanded shop is completed, propane will be used to supplement the heating produced by the solar panel. Until then, Captured Moments will be heated entirely by sun-soaked cold ones.

“That’s if he ever finishes building it,” Mrs. Amedure laughed.

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