Our Story

Larry and Charlene Ison

Larry and Charlene Ison

During high school, my father bought me a Kodak Brownie box camera. I began making black and white photos of people and nature. After graduation, I took a job in the safety department for a coal company and got married. I continued to photograph and my love for photography began to increase. As time and technology progressed, I purchased a Nikon 35mm camera and the equipment needed to set up a complete dark room for developing film and prints. In pursuit of new subjects to photograph, I turned my attention to underwater sceneries.

I became a certified scuba diver, logging over one thousand hours in many fresh water lakes, including the Great Lakes, and Atlantic Ocean. I also became interested in flying to capture photographs from another unique vantage point. I got my private pilot license and eventually bought my own plane in which I logged more than 400 hours.

During my employment at the coal company the coal business started to decline, and I was laid off. It was then that I decided to start a photography business. I attended photography seminars and took photography courses. I specialized in wedding and portrait photography. Clients began to ask me if I could frame their portraits and this sparked the idea of starting my own picture framing business. I attended framing school in Charlotte, North Carolina where I learned basic and advanced framing techniques, including the ability to frame at museum standards. I then built a framing shop and art gallery. Finally, Creative Framing and Gallery was born.

After 9/11, business began to slow down, so I took a job with another coal company as a foreman and later as a safety inspector. I continued to frame pictures in my spare time. While working for the coal company, I built a large wood-working shop. I also began making custom frame moldings and small hand-crafted items such as ink pens and key chains. In December 2014, the coal company I worked for was sold resulting in a massive lay off. My job was eliminated which forced me into early retirement. After realizing I was not going to be successful again finding another job in the coal industry, I decided to go into the full-time business. I updated my equipment, all my samples and added multiple new art prints. Over the years, I have stayed abreast of new trends within the art and framing business through research, training, trade publications and my suppliers.

Being located out of town has had its disadvantages. However, I am centrally located between the cities of Hazard, Whitesburg, Cumberland, Harlan and Hyden. This has given me the opportunity to offer pick-up and delivery in those areas. I have framed many prints for Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) Clinics including their doctors and staff. I recently worked with an interior designer, completing a massive framing job for the Hindman Settlement School as part of their renovation project which included several of our custom frame moldings. I have done framing for the Battle of Leatherwood event and set up a display during their three-day event. I also have a high traffic space display in Hazard Kentucky where framed prints and art can be purchased.

In the future, I hope to offer this convenience in some of the other towns. My wife, Charlene, has been sewing most of her adult life. She has a longarm quilting machine with which she will be quilting tee shirt, baby, twin, full, queen and king quilts. This is being incorporated into our business along with the hand-crafted items I produce.

The goal at Creative Framing and Gallery is to reach as many customers as we can through the web, social media and modern marketing practices, while providing high quality service at affordable prices.

Larry and Charlene Ison