… Is a joy forever

When John Keats wrote the words used in the headline he probably didn’t have any damaged artwork. But if he did, he may have had a difficult time trying to find a restorer/repairer.

Fortunately nowadays, those of us that may need work on a damaged painting or picture frame, can have it repaired expertly by Chery Umble-Schmidt of Monroe, Iowa. Chery has been repairing and restoring paintings and picture frames for more than 15 years in her shop in Monroe, Iowa. But her experience in the field goes back about 29 years. She has done work for museums and private customers alike.

In a recent, enjoyable telephone conversation, Chery explained the many labor-and-time intensive components of her job. “It took a lot of years of study,” she said. “I am self-taught and also received mentoring from Robert C. Norman.” (Robert Norman was featured in a Collectors Journal story a few years ago.)

Chery said she would go to his shop and Mr. Norman also visited her shop providing tips. “I did antique frames for him,” Chery said.

Currently Chery is working on various projects with Gesso frames as well as canvasses with warping and cuts. She works on paintings in all media – oil, acrylic and water colors.

Always interested in art, Chery started repairing frames in her home. After about five years, she was offered a job in an art repair store. Later, she went to work for a second shop and ultimately took over when those owners were giving up the business. “I rented the shop at that time, and I’ve been on my own since that time,” she said.

Always thirsty for more knowledge about her work, Chery has several books on the art of restoring paintings and intricate frames. “I just bought another book, ‘Introduction to Repairing and Restoring books; porcelain, pewter, brass, silver, frames, pottery, furniture, clocks and books,’” she said. That book covers a lot of items and she said she’s got about 15 additional books on the subject of repairs and restoration.

Her painting restoration is dependent on several factors. “It depends on the paint used in the lining – and whether the canvas is cotton, linen, cloth or wood.”

She’s done work on pieces of art from the early 1800s. “That was the first frame I worked on,” Chery said. She’s also done work on paintings from 1880 and she said a lot of the frames from the 1880s to the 1940s feature the ornate decoration that often needs repairs.

The web site, listed below, describes Chery’s services: Canvas stretching; Restoration; Fine Art; Mounting; Picture framing; and laminating (up to 11 inches wide).

All Chery’s work is custom and she said a customer’s typical experience will include first selecting the mat, that she described as the colored piece of acid-free paper around the edge of the painting; then they will select the frame; and finally choose the glass used to finish off the art.

“I’m always interested in gaining more knowledge and techniques to help me provide the best possible service,” she said, adding, “I’m very confident in the work I’m providing for customers.”

Chery’s Mat and Frame Studio is at 106 E. Washington in Monroe, Iowa. Hours for the shop are Mondays, Tuesdays; Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. She covers the Pella, Knoxville, Newton, Altoona and surrounding areas. She can be reached at (641) 259-2364; cell phone is (515) 669-1854. Her web site is cherys.shop and she is also on Facebook. Chery can also be reached via e-mail at chery@cherys.shop.