Fort Belvoir hobbyists and craft enthusiasts participated in an instructional framing course at Kawamura Arts and Crafts Center Saturday.

The program is one of several craft-oriented programs available to Soldiers, Family members and civilians on post sponsored by the Directorate of Family and Moral, Welfare and Recreation.

Saturday's session was part of a curriculum designed to teach the techniques of photo and art framing and to allow participants to gain hands-on experience in a wood shop

"If you don't know how to frame yourself, take a class and we'll teach you how or we'll frame (your art) for you," said instructor Barbara A. Kunkle. "The classes are offered year round."

According to program coordinators, the framing shop at the Kawamura Center is a fully equipped facility, providing amateur craftsmen and women with all the tools necessary to take a framing project through from start to finish. Additionally, it provides a place for hobbyists to meet and interact and to enjoy spending time away from day-to-day stresses.

"The nice thing is that you can come in here and leave everything else outside," said instructor and retired U.S. Air Force (Maj.) Linda Puhek. "You can concentrate on what you're doing and on where you are for the next few hours."

Puhel added that she and her fellow instructors promote the program directly to post personnel and that Saturday's session brought a surprisingly large number of people to the center considering the icy weather conditions that resulted from the season's first sleet storm Friday night.

"We started making phone calls about a week ago and today we only had one cancellation and one no show, and that was probably because of the weather," she said.

Puhel and Kunkle, along with head instructor and retired (Col.) Ken Chun and instructor Carl Bryant spent the morning session demonstrating a variety of specialized techniques ranging from design and measuring to cutting, joining, bonding and finishing. Chun taught class participants the proper operation of the power tools and hydraulic cutting equipment and stressed the importance of concentration in maintaining safety requirements in the shop. The staff members spent one-on-one time with each artist, carefully guiding them through each step of the framing process and stressing patience through the creation process.

"One of the things we like to tell the students is that this is the start of learning a lot of different things, and that they will learn them by coming here," Kunkle said. "When I first came here, I was intimidated.
I thought I was not good enough to do this correctly. But when you come here, you have someone saying 'Let me show you.' People can just jump in and not be intimidated."

Kunkle added that the arts and crafts center has a friendly and understanding staff coordinating the classes and that the approachable attitude spreads over onto the students as well.

"I think that as a staff we start that (friendly atmosphere) because we get along with each other, we jump in, we join," she said. "And our customers do the same thing."

Basic framing techniques are taught on the third Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon.

There is a $60 enrollment fee, and according to Kunkle, the fee includes an 8 x10 kit with which students will begin their instruction.

"The kit contains a picture, mat board, foam core, glass, molding and mounting materials as well as the use of the facility," she said. "Students will go home with framed artwork ready to hang on the wall."

Additional information regarding the framing course and the other programs offered at the Kawamura Arts and Crafts Center is available at (703) 806-4647 or at
facilities/artscrasfts. To register for a class, call (703) 806-4655.

Page last updated Thu January 26th, 2012 at 13:32