We like people who bring us their challenges,” says longtime Hull’s framer Stewart Johnson. That could mean putting anything from a concert ticket to a tennis ball under glass. A recent addition to the crack framing squad at Hull’s is master framer Bill Denby, who ran his own Denby Framing Gallery for 32 years.
There’s also a whole new Hull’s location at which to get your framing done. Hull’s Fine Framing & More at 1 Whitney Ave. is a “satellite store” of Hull’s Chapel Street location. The new spot has a staff of one — Barbara Hawes — and doesn’t sell art supplies, just framing services. Its outstanding feature is a gallery space touting local artists of note. “Collage artists are coming up,” says Hawes, who’s displaying works by Eugene Healy and Rex Prescott Walden through May 26.
To its dedicated and long-serving staff, there can be as many interpretations of the glories of Hull’s as there are of a museum-quality work of art. There’s the comfort and familiarity, the stable staff — including general manager Shawn Szirbik — who have worked together for decades. There are the new products and ideas that continually inspire them, such as a new process that allows printing on virtually any material, like foil or fabric.
There’s the thrill of whole new groups of artists forming in New Haven — at the new downtown Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, for example, and the continued support of clients Hull’s has served for years. There’s Hull’s artistic range, from architectural modeling materials to origami paper and modeling clay to pens and paints. And there’s the framing they do of their customers’ own cherished art.
“We’re one of the big arts suppliers for the whole region,” owner Steve Kovel says. Hull’s downtown location is “the fulcrum point of the arts in the city of New Haven,” he says.