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WBPA Member of the Month

Dorothea Mordan | Chandler Designs Limited

Dorothea Mordan of Chandler Designs Limited

This month’s business is Chandler Designs Limited,  a photo restoration, archival framing and design business located in Woodsboro, owned by Dorothea Mordan. This year marks Dorothea’s 40th year in business, so we wanted to extend a heartfelt congratulations on this incredible milestone, and here’s to many more years of continued success!

What motivated you to (start, get into) this (business, field)?

2023 is the 40th anniversary of Chandler Designs, I decided to start right out of college, with a degree in Fine Art and emphasis on printmaking. At that point in time, there was very little detail taught about the presentation of art, and I felt compelled to gain the skills needed for archival framing. Those skills became the foundation of my business. We are in an area that has access to world class galleries and museums, with the added bonus that the national galleries and museums are free to the public. Another perk of public access is that there was a direct phone line to the staff of the National Gallery of Art, which gave anyone access to state of the art best practices for conservation of works on paper, canvass, textiles, etc.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Expanding my work skills to digital restoration and archiving. Restoring a memory for a family is uniquely rewarding.

How would you describe life in (Walkersville, Woodsboro, Glade Valley)?

We have the best of everything America has to offer—great schools and libraries, access to major highways, national and international transportation. A variety of communities, small town to big city. Lots of farmland. Mountains, rivers, and a crossroad of American history.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still framing and restoring family photos, with extended services for helping clients tell their stories. Consulting on self publishing projects is a natural progression for Chandler Designs.

When did you move to the Walkersville area? What made this area a good choice for you?

We moved here in 2002. Frederick County offered a lot of flexibility for having a home office and studio. With the proximity of Washington, DC and Baltimore, staying connected with established clients went smoothly. 

What do you like most about your job?

Having a set of skills that can be used for my own family archive. I have a collection of thousands of letters, photos, and artwork from relatives from around the world. Preserving this collection uses all of my skills in digital restoration and archiving.

What’s the career highlight you’re most proud of?

A four year run of donating framing to Big Sisters of Washington’s annual Just Doodle It Celebrity Doodle Auction. Each year Chandler Designs donated about 125 custom frames and mats for this event. Celebrities as varied as Ronald Regan to Candice Bergen, donated original work to be auctioned for Big Sisters.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Scenic hikes, museums & historical places, First Saturday is a great way to spend a day in Frederick. Frederick has a vibrant art scene, and it’s a short drive from Frederick County to get to some of the best Museums and cultural venues in the world.

What advice would you give to our youth?

Read all the books you can before your spare time is taken up by commitments of a career and family.

Who do you admire most in the world?

There really are so many stellar human beings throughout history, picking one is just not possible. But you are asking today so I say Jimmy Carter as a superlative example of a life well lived. And I have to add his mother Miss Lillian as the person who inspired his open minded world view, backbone and humility.