Stress testing

I bet you did not know about Hemingway’s visual arts work. His picture “Bliss” (punctured card) – so-called because it was created in a moment of uncontrollable ecstasy, probably after a catnip party – hangs at the top of the stairs leading to my studio.

Hemingway’s picture lives in a frame manufactured by Nielsen Bainbridge. Nielsen is one of the big players in the framing materials market. I like their frames for their style and quality, and the company for its good service – Nielsen are the only frames that I stock.

Today, one of my cats decided to do a little stress testing on the frame. I cannot be absolutely sure whether it was Domino or Camillo but I have my suspicions.

The cat in the photograph is Kaspar, who was not the perpetrator.

Kaspar, who was not the perpetrator, posing by the re-hung picture.

When I came round the corner, approaching the stairs, I heard a colossal crash and saw the picture hurtling towards me, bouncing on its corners in a very impressive pirouette. In the split second that I had before impact, I decided that I wanted to try to catch the picture. It seemed a much better proposal than to sweep up shattered glass afterwards.

I had not quite finished getting into position when the picture came to an abrupt halt by embedding one of its corners into the back of my hand.

Domino was nowhere to be seen, Camillo fled under a chair and Kaspar, with a very big tail and an expression of panic in his face, took up shelter in the airing cupboard.

This is quite a large and heavy frame, measuring 40×50 cm and weighing about 2 kilos. How the anarchist came to knock it off I cannot imagine. My point is that the picture – after I had peeled it out of my hand – was completely undamaged. The frame was not split, the glass had not broken and my thumb joint will mend in time.

What better proof of Nielsen’s quality workmanship than stress testing by the photographer’s cats? I cannot see many other picture frames surviving such ordeal in perfect health.


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