Article Published: Nov. 28, 2013 | Modified: Nov. 28, 2013
What constitutes art?
When it comes to what people want to hang on the walls of their homes and businesses, the answer to that question is as varied as the people themselves.
No one knows that better than Tim Miller. In his two decades of running Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery, he has been asked to create frames for all manner of objects.
“We just finished a project that was as unique as it was challenging,” Miller said. “We custom-built five large frames for 83 Bibles. No two of the frame layouts are the same, and we spent five or six hours with the owner of the collection to get them just right.”
The owner of the Bible collection is Harold Tilley, and Miller said that Tilley plans to display the five pieces on the walls of his business office in Boone.
“We used imported French frames and suede mattes,” said Miller, who estimated the number of man-hours dedicated to the project to be about 85.
Of the 83 Bibles used in the project, no two were alike. The oldest Bible in the collection dates
from 1818, while the oldest belonging to a member of Tilley’s family is an 1835 Bible that belonged to his great-great-great-grandfather.
The smallest Bible is an antique “keychain” Bible that includes a small magnifying glass so that one can read the miniature text inside the tiny white book.
"Mr. Tilley had us pull out all of the notes and other things that were in the Bibles,” said Blowing Rock Frameworks worker Jacki Hawk. “There were some interesting things in them.”
Miller stated that no glue was used in the mounting of the Bibles to the frame. Instead, he and his framing team, including Hawk and Miller’s son, Olyn Miller, used filaments, threads, plastic strips and snap-on devices to mount them to the matte.
According to Miller, the majority of what is framed at the shop is of the two-dimensional variety, such as paintings, prints and photographs. But they have also had their fair share of unique requests for the framing of sentimental three-dimensional items.
Over the years, those items have included a handmade antique gun built by Famon Hayes of Triplett, baby dolls dating from the second century B.C., sea shells, knives, a hatchet, arrowheads, record albums and CD cases, a bison horn from Montana, a paper cutout created by a soldier during the Civil War, sets of eyeglasses, a letter and quill pen owned by Albert Einstein, an authentic Hitler mug with swastika, an American flag flown in San Juan during the Spanish-American War, a needlepoint sampler from 1780, a piece of tin roof from the childhood home of Governor Vance, horse shoes, golf balls, a golf club signed by Jack Nicklaus, military medals, athletic jerseys, and basketball shoes signed by Michael Jordan, among other items.
“It’s always a challenge when someone brings something unusual into the shop,” Miller said. “Our main objective is to make the customer happy, and in the case with Harold and his Bibles, he is very happy. He loves how they turned out.”