To frame or not to frame

BOURBON — “To frame or not to frame — that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler….” When Shakespeare wrote these words centuries ago, surely he was anticipating the professional artistic skill of Robin Racolta, owner of Robin’s Nest in Bourbon. Although located in a small town, the frame shop has a regional reputation and is patronized by both individuals and large corporations.
“I love what I do,” said Racolta. “I wake up every morning and am excited to get started. Sometimes I go to the shop in the wee hours because of a particularly interesting project.”
Her work includes preparing foam board and matting, glass, and, of course, the frame itself. She actually memorializes memories. Her work over 31 years has included the obvious — photographs and art works — and the unusual, such as Triton standout Clay Yeo’s All-Star basketball jersey from last year. She preserves for all time what is precious and treasured by families.
She also captures and enhances the aesthetics of less personal photos and art work since she frames for major corporations around the region. Her work is displayed in lobbies, halls, and offices of companies for whom image is a prime concern. She does all of the framing for Zimmer, and considerable work for DePuy. She ships all over the world for these and other customers.
Racolta’s Cinderella story began in 1982 in her home, as so many startups do. Soon after that, however, she opened a store (eventually two stores) in Warsaw. In 1994 she sold her Warsaw stores and bought her current location in Bourbon for family reasons.
“I don’t have as much walk-in business now,” she said, “but my customer base is still primarily Warsaw and the surrounding area.”
Family is very important to her, and her grandsons come to her shop and frame their own projects.
Her shop displays more than 1,200 frames for customers to drool over. Each frame corner is removable and can be shown with the project so the customer can see how the finished product will look. Racolta receives a delivery every Wednesday from Detroit and another from Elkhart, so she maintains a very reasonable one week turnaround time for projects. On pieces she has in stock, work can be done instantaneously while the customer waits.
Even waiting can be interesting, since Robin’s Nest has added a small antique consignment boutique in the front of the store, not to mention the extensive variety of frames to be explored and compared. Frame samples are either wood of various types, designs, and hues, or metal.
“I sign all my work,” noted Racolta. “I’m proud of it.”
She does work for area high schools, Lutheran hospitals including Kosciusko Community Hospital, and Bowen Center locations.
Her favorite ongoing project currently documents Quentyn Carpenter’s golf career. Carpenter, a Triton player, now golfs at Ball State University. Carpenter’s dad, Jack, has Racolta frame a flag from each golf course his son plays.
“I’ve made a lot of people’s lives very special,” said Racolta. She frames wedding invitations, door signs, wall hangings, awards and certificates, photos, paintings, and other special items too numerous to mention. She also creates shadow boxes designed to the customer’s order.
Robin’s Nest is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Other times are available by appointment. It is located at 107 N. Main St. in Bourbon next to Bourbon Plumbing and Heating. Racolta may be reached at 574-342-0300, or at