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3 Questions: Kate Holstein

Posted by Liana Hornyak on Jan 29, 2020

If you love fine art photography (particularly of the travel or landscape variety) and are not already a Kate Holstein devotee, you’re missing something magical. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the snow swept shores of Iceland, Kate has a way of capturing the most romantic parts of the world and somehow making them look more beautiful. 

We’ve long been huge fans of Kate’s work (Dara has an oversized print hanging in her home, and we have a series lining the back wall of the Simply Framed Showroom!) and knew that it would be a perfect fit for our newly launched Simply Framed Black Label collection. Kate agreed—and also agreed to chat with us a bit about her process, her studio, and her favorite custom frames. Keep reading for more.

Kate Holstein x simply framed black labelPhotographer Kate Holstein posing with one of her pieces custom framed in Simply Framed Black Label.

Simply Framed: First, let’s talk about your Powder House studio—what it is, the idea behind it, and how you went about designing the beautiful space.

Kate Holstein: My husband is a real estate broker and learned of the property through one of his sales. It was an old shed used to house explosives back in Aspen’s mining days (in the late 1800s.) The moment I saw it, I knew it would make an amazing artist studio. However, it needed quite a bit of work first. We spent nearly two years on the renovating and permitting process, because while it’s small (just 330 square feet) it is an historic building and we wanted to maintain the character and charm while also bringing in modern comforts. We cut two windows into the brick walls, and even added a steel and glass door to keep the industrial feel (and bring in some much needed light!) We also added a European oak floor, and a gas stove to heat the place. The original brick walls are the perfect backdrop for my art, which is framed in Black Label in Whitewash Ash. The frames’ finish almost matches the color of the vintage grout, making the art pop beautifully and feel integrated all at once.

Kate Holstein powder houseThe exterior of the historic shed-turned-studio.

Kate Holstein powder houseThe exterior of the historic shed-turned-studio.

SF: That sounds beautiful! And speaking of your art, we’d also love to hear about how your online print shop started, and how it’s evolved since then. How long have you been offering your prints for purchase online, and what prompted you to add custom framing to the mix?

KH: I started my online print shop in the summer of 2016, right when I had my first child. It was like giving birth to two babies: a real one and a business—which made for some stressful moments that first year! From the beginning, I have offered both framed and unframed pieces; however, I sell far more framed pieces than unframed. (The unframed pieces are really only for my clients abroad, as shipping frames overseas is pretty cost prohibitive.) It’s nice to sell a completed work of art already framed, because I know that framing can either enhance or detract from the art. Simply Framed Black Label frames feel made for my work, and they complement it beautifully. My work is very light-driven, ethereal, minimal, and organic, so it’s important that the frame embodies those same qualities. It makes me happy to know that my clients are receiving a finished piece, made by hand with the highest quality materials that will last a lifetime.

Kate Holstein x simply framedMore of Kate’s gorgeous work, around the aforementioned gas stove.

Kate Holstein simply framedThe new door lets in ample natural light and fresh mountain air.

SF: Do you have a favorite Black Label finish?

KH: Whitewash Ash shadowboxed with any of my photographs is definitely my favorite! My clients also love the frames, and they often comment on the quality. So much art today is framed in lower quality frames, with corners that may split over time. I think people really notice and appreciate when a frame is done well, with attention paid to details like perfect, seamless corners and a beautiful woodgrain. I shadowbox all of my pieces with a wood spacer so that you can see the wood on both the outside and inside of the frame. That elevates the piece in a way that a basic frame just can’t do.

Curious to see Simply Framed Black Label for yourself? See different finishes and mat styles using our interactive Designer, or order a Sample Kit or Black Label Catalog at simplyframed.com.

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