BELEN — Valencia County has a new frame shop. Susan Dubiel Framing opened in September in the location vacated by The Porch on Reinken Avenue in Belen.
Susan Dubiel, who owns the business, previously worked on an appointment-only basis at the Tomé Art Gallery but now has a place of her own. The move, in large part, was based on wanting to open up for walk-in service, so customers could come by on their time.
“You’ve got to take a chance every once and a while,” Dubiel said. “Otherwise you go through life not trying anything.”
In addition to her framing, she also features a variety of art, jewelry and other work by an assortment of local artists, which will rotate through the shop on a regular basis, providing more than just framing to those who come through the door.
“A lot of these people are Tomé Gallery people; they have work on display there as well,” Dubiel said. “I want to keep moving it around so that there is always something new for you to see whenever you come in the store. I got lucky, I have a lot of great friends. ”
Dubiel’s interest in woodworking began as a child, as the daughter of a carpenter she always had access to tools and was handcrafting things from a young age. She began framing because she couldn’t afford to bring things into a shop and have them done, so she decided to learn how to do it herself.
She does every piece of the framing process, from cutting the glass and the molding to making mats herself, most of it in the store but anything messy is done at home.
“I’ve got a shop at home where I do the ‘sawdusty-type’ things,” Dubiel said. “I make the frames at home and then I bring them in. I’m able to do everything else here.”
In her fourth month of operation, Dubiel has been blown away by the response to her store.
“So far it has been amazing,” she said. “With the pandemic, the economy hasn’t been great, so I lucked out it’s just been incredible.”
With people at home more, Dubiel thinks having art on the walls has become more important to people.
“No. 1, they want things on their walls; No. 2, this means something to somebody,” she said, gesturing to a photo she was preparing to frame. “This needs to be displayed and not shoved in a drawer.”
She also stresses that framing isn’t just for photos, showing examples of shadow boxes that she has done featuring concert tickets and christening dresses.
“You can frame all sorts of things,” Dubiel said.
The driving force behind Dubiel’s shop is to make framing affordable for more people. She tells a story about shopping at a major craft store in Albuquerque and being blown away by the prices they were charging for framing.
“I was sort of eavesdropping on what this man was having done because I was curious about the price, and I was blown away when they told him how much it would cost,” Dubiel said. “I wanted to scream, ‘I can do it for half of that.’”
When a customer brings something into her shop, she says the process is pretty straightforward.
She prefers when the customer wants to be involved in the process and can walk them through their different choices when it comes to molding and working towards the end product.
“I usually ask them if they have something in mind and a lot of times they do based on where it’s going to hang or the decor,” Dubiel said. “I try to make it so we’re just playing, I’ll put something down and they might say well what about this?
“I generally want you part of the process, the customer could say I don’t know anything about framing, but you have eyes and you know what you like. It’s not hard, we usually come up with something pretty quick.”