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A creative frame of mind: Baraboo artist back in business after hiatus

December 11, 2018 GMT

To most people, a frame is nothing more than four pieces of wood fastened together to form a rectangle.

For Shadow Box Gallery owner Lisa Spencer of Baraboo, it’s an ocean of possibilities. The frames she dreams up don’t just wrap around photographs and artwork. They surround inanimate objects as well.

“It’s all about looking at things and seeing things differently,” said Spencer, who specializes in three-dimensional framing. “Every project is different, and I just love working with people and hearing stories about the things that are important to them.”

After a six-year hiatus, Spencer — an award-winning framer with more than 30 years of experience — is reopening her custom framing business just in time for the holidays.

On the wall of her gallery, located in the basement of her home on Lovers Lane, is a framed picture of a boy with a BB gun that was taken by the late Darton Drake, a celebrated Baraboo photographer.

In the bottom right corner of the glass is a spider crack with a small hole in the center. The award-winning frame opens like pair of patio doors, and on the inside is a small BB.

Spencer has framed all sorts of objects. One person asked her to frame a dog obedience certificate with a chewed-up shoe.

“Whatever people want framed,” she said, “I can figure out how to get it on their wall.”

Spencer attended school for interior design, and has been deemed a Certified Picture Framer by the Professional Picture Framers Association.

She started Shadowbox Gallery in 1991, but closed in 2012 to devote more time to her teaching career. Spencer recently reopened out of her town of Baraboo home, just west of the city.

Throughout her storied career, Spencer has won national competitions and was chosen by the Professional Picture Framers Association to frame artwork for the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

When a customer presents her with something they want to frame, Spencer said, the solution usually comes to her immediately. She typically gives several options to choose from, but they usually go back to that initial vision.

With Christmas just around the corner, Spencer is offering a special 20 percent discount off customers’ first order. The deal ends Wednesday.

Spencer said she’s excited to be doing what she loves again, and encourages customers to contact her by phone or email to make an appointment.

“I just missed being creative and I wanted to get back into it.”