Since graduating from art school, I have collected a ton of artwork. Most of it is drawings, paintings, and prints made by friends and family, but I’ve also bought some things and made some of my own. It’s not the most valuable collection, but it means a lot to me — although you’d never know it from walking into my apartment. Until recently, all of it had sat dormant in a flat file waiting to be framed. I had put off framing not only because it’s expensive but because I have a hard time choosing which pieces to frame. Then I came across these wood poster rails from Parabo Press at my friend Chelsea’s house. She uses them above her bed to hold a three-foot black-and-white photo from her wedding. The look is light and airy but professional and lets you focus on the photo, rather than the frame.
Although Parabo specializes in large-scale digital prints, the rails are part of a line of attractive, minimalist framing options. They come in different sizes — from 12 inches to 4 feet — and can be used to hang anything from photos and drawings to vintage textiles and love notes. Each one is composed of two pieces of wood embedded with superstrong magnets. To hang something, all you have to do is sandwich the top and the bottom of your artwork between the two halves of each rail, then use the adjustable string to hang it from a nail or pushpin. It’s basically framing for dummies. When Chelsea showed me how easy it was to set up, I instantly regretted all the hemming and hawing I had done when deciding between framing a friend’s watercolor or the Russian Parks Department poster I bought at a flea market in Paris. With a few sizes of these wooden rails, I could hang everything in my collection on a rotating basis for a fraction of what framing it all would cost. Plus, I never have to worry about where to store all those framed pieces when it’s not their turn to be on the wall.
The rails come in three colors: natural, black, and maple. I prefer maple since it matches the warm wood tones of my coffee table and bookcases. Right now on display I have a poster from my best friend Farah Atassi’s painting show at the Consortium Museum in Dijon, France, and a vintage illustrated tea towel showing silhouettes of women bathing. But I love that I can change it all up depending on my mood or if I make a drawing and want to see what it looks like on the wall. The rails are really minimal and unobtrusive, so what you hang looks a bit like it’s floating. But they still make even the simplest sketch or scribble look important, the way a professional frame with glass and a mat would. This won’t completely replace framing in my home — some things are too fragile for this treatment and need to be protected — but at least now I can have my art on the walls instead of packed away in a drawer.
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