Stokes Croft prides itself on being a vibrant hub that encourages and supports local creatives as well as fostering a liberal attitude towards street art. One of the shops that has been assisting with the presentation of this artistic talent since 1985 is family-run Niche Frames.
Based in a 5,000sqft premises towards the city centre end of Stokes Croft, Niche Frames offers a bespoke picture framing and digital printing service as well as a wide range of quirky greetings cards.
Rupert Morley, who has worked at Niche for seven years, says: “Niche offers a number of different services, although framing is still a good proportion of what we do.
“As well as selling an extensive variety of ready-made frames, we also offer a great bespoke service.”
Customers are offered a choice of 500 different frame mouldings in all shapes, sizes and colours, from solid wood to smooth metalics. There’s a similar number of mount colours to choose from, ensuring Niche can create the perfect picture to suit your taste and style.
If you prefer a more contemporary look, your prints or photographs can be blockmounted, which involves bonding the image to thick MDF in any size up to 100m x 150mm.
The company also offers object framing, so whether a signed football T-shirt or a pair of baby mittens, Niche can make a piece of art from your treasured memorabilia.
“Everything is bespoke and made here on the premises, which gives us a massive scope of what we can do,” explains Rupert. “We can meet just about any requirement – just come in and ask.”
As Rupert points out, mounting and framing is just one part of Niche. The ability to offer high quality digital printing is key in this day and age and the company has invested in state-of-the-art Epson Giclee printers, which give a perfect image with inkjet technology.
It’s particularly popular with artists looking to reproduce their work for sale in Bristol and beyond, not least because special archival inks are used which are guaranteed not to fade for at least 100 years.
Niche can also offer canvas printing, which has become especially popular in recent years with customers wishing to blow up well-loved photographs for wall mounting.
Using the same high resolution flatbed scanners that they use for art reproduction, Niche can even restore and retouch precious well-thumbed old photos to ensure they look as good as new.
With all of these services under one roof it’s not surprising that Niche has forged an impressive reputation with the city’s artists and art lovers.
“We’re the go-to art shop for Bristol’s artists and we work closely with all the city’s art trails and events like street art festival Upfest.” Rupert tells me.
“We worked with Upfest Gallery and Festival recently to create Art Parcel, which brings affordable and high quality prints from the UK’s latest artists to your home.”
Fledgling business Art Parcel (www.artparcel.com) encourages art-lovers to go online and view the vast selection of urban prints and photographs from both established and up-and-coming artists.
Once a picture has been ordered, it’s printed and hand-finished at Niche to the highest standards using traditional methods.
Art Parcel then ensures the artist receives the royalties from that piece of work.
“Using Art Parcel ensures you get a great piece of art, that the artist gets paid properly, and that it is expertly finished and framed,” says Rupert. “We’re proud to be a part of it.”
Finally, the store offers a great selection of cards for all occasions by a wide range of local and international artists.
If you’re bored of the same old drivel that a lot of the high street card chain stores offer, there’s sure to be something far more fab and funky at Niche.
In addition to all of this, Niche’s customer service really sets it apart from the rest.
“Every customer is important and we offer an excellent, personal service.
“That’s why we get so many customers returning time and time again.”
Niche Frames 26 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QD. Tel 0117 9422213.