Inspired by History

The Legacy

There have been many people on my journey from childhood to my adult years whom I have admired and hold close to my heart. They have gifted me with many things for which I am truly thankful.

My name and surname bear witness to my French Huguenot ancestry. Viljoen is an Afrikaans surname derived from the French Villion. I have always felt a strong personal appeal to my ancestry, especially a French Huguenot named Francois Villion. He was the first Huguenot who permanently settled at the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in 1671, three hundred years before I was born in 1971.  

Francois Villion left France even long before the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. I have always admired Villion’s individual and strong spirit as a forerunner. I take much inspiration from the idea that this ancestor of mine marched to his own drum and I hope to continue the legacy.

The Early Years

As a child, I was always encouraged by my artistic parents to dream and do. They presented me with a humble but idyllic childhood where I could feed my imagination with endless possibilities. Their legacy influenced so many of my interests, values and projects.

My father could sketch very well, write poetry and create beautiful calligraphy. I always remember my mother as being artistic on so many levels and this talent she combined with her entrepreneurial spirit. She also loved beautiful well-made things. Her appreciation of fine interiors was introduced to me as a child.

Another person who played a significant role during this time was my grade one teacher. She was so supportive of my artistic talent that she not only entered my work for competitions but always in the older age categories.

Later on in my younger life, while delivering newspapers after school and running a puppet theatre on Saturdays, I dreamed of becoming a theatre set designer.

My strong curiosity of what was happening behind the scenes led to my studies in communication, journalism and a Masters degree in literature. During the late 90's and after writing for a corporate magazine, my creative spirit called me on a journey that ultimately would change my life. From styling displays and dressing windows for retail shops to an encounter one day that led me to learn the art of framing in 2001. This opportunity also laid the foundation for understanding the fine elements of running a business.

Among my many passions, I have a great love for history, art, interiors, literature, French furniture, Chinoiserie, miniatures, movies and Walt Disney. Every person, passion and every event in my life has played a part and had prepared me for what was to come.

The Dream

I always choose the window seat on a plane. I think it says something about being a constant day dreamer.

Following my seasoned mentorship with a master framer, I started Patina & Memento in 2010 and later rechristened the name to Handmade Frames by Francois in 2011.

For the next six years, while surrounded by my creative environment, I started to build the dream to bring together a collection of framed art prints as a decorative showcase to the interior trade industry.

During the South African Winter of 2017, I launched the first edition catalogue of this collection entitled...
Francois Viljoen – Hand Finished Frames & Art Prints.

This high-end selection of hand signed, limited edition print sets of commissioned art are elegantly framed in our hand finished frames influenced by Florentine paint techniques.

This is not my final destination, but rather I will nurture this vision and every time I look out the plane window, I will continue to daydream of new heights I can take my dream.

 The Realisation of a Dream

It gives me great joy to introduce you to the first edition of the Francois Viljoen – Hand Finished Frames & Art Prints catalogue. Available for download or as a hard copy that can be specially delivered to your door. For more details on ordering your own copy of the catalogue, or if you would like to discuss any other framing projects, please feel free to contact me.