A framed poem is a traditional craft made popular by William Blake, a nineteenth-century English poet who illustrated his poems with animals, symbols and ethereal images. With Blake and other artistic poets as role models, experienced and novice poets can create a frame for their poems through illustration, computer design or by using physical frames. When making your own poem in framing, blend the style of the design around the content of the poem.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Frame (optional)
- Word processing program (optional)
- Drawing supplies
Hand-write or type your poem. If you are more computer savvy than you are skilled at drawing, painting or sketching, type your poem in a word-processing document. Center the poem on the screen. If you would rather hand-write and illustrate the poem with a framing technique, write the poem in long hand. Center the poem or leave it to the left or right side; decide the framing style later.
Select a colour scheme based on the tone of the poem. For instance, if your poem is about a storm you saw destroying a barn piece by piece, this is a sombre poem, maybe with a moment of clarity or refreshed worldview. In this example, you may choose grey, red, brown, cream, dark blue or black shades to surround the frame. Avoid picking a hot pink, polka dot or sky blue colour, as it will distract from the content of the poem within.
Pick themes, characters, images and ideas from your poem to decorate your poem frame. If you are hand-decorating or graphically designing a frame for the poem, pick a few items from the content of the poem that would complement the text. Avoid illustrating exactly what the poem is about on the edges of the text. For instance, do not draw or design a barn getting ripped away by the wind. Instead, frame the poem with storm clouds, or even wisps of wind, and maybe a broken piece of wood or tile. The frame should be suggestive, not telling.
Draw or design around the poem. Avoid letting any of the illustration get too close to the words. Make your goal to keep the text and readability of the poem as clear as possible. Make the goal of the frame to excite readers to read the poem and enjoy the framing as an accessory of the poem.
Pick a physical frame that does the poem justice. In other words, select a frame to hang on the wall that does not overpower the poem within or make the poem look weak. For a strong, serious and insightful poem, a dark wooden frame with a 1½- to 2-inch width is ideal. For a lighter, humorous or playful poem, a thinner frame in a lighter colour may make more sense, such as ½-inch frame in a cream, light blue or bright orange.
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