Framing 101

What is conservation picture framing? Put simply, conservation framing employs the use of materials that have been proven to protect and maintain an art object in as close to its original condition as possible. Asking your framer to use conservation techniques is an important form of insurance for your valuable artwork. A seldom recognized fact is that most works of art taken to a framer should be framed with conservation methods in mind. If its worth framing, it’s worth protecting.

Keeping it simple.  This elegant matte black frame from CMI Moulding with a 8 ply white top mat and 4 ply black second mat creates a simple but elegant design that makes the photograph pop.  Tru Vue Museum glass is used to cut out most of the glare from light sources.  Photo by HTJ Photography.

Major factors to consider in your framing order are the glazing (glass), matboards, if used, mounting techniques and backing material. Always specify acid free matboards and backing products. Ordinary pulp-based products contain acid and lignin which, over time, will damage the artwork they come in contact with. Though often overlooked, the type of glass selected, is, in fact, one of the most important decisions to be addressed. Exposure to ultraviolet light rays causes organic materials to break down. This is visible in the form of fading colors, yellowing and stiffening of the substrate which bears the artwork. Once started, these effects are cumulative and irreversible The best way to preserve your art is to protect it from exposure to UV light from the outset. For example, do not hang your art in direct sunlight or illuminate with fluorescent light. Beyond that, make sure your framer uses conservation quality glass, which, in most cases, blocks 97 percent of the harmful UV light.

A beautiful painting by one of our customers Claiborne Braswell. It is framed in an elegant Roma Lavo frame.

Concerning mounting techniques, if your artwork is considered valuable either monetarily or sentimentally, you should seldom allow your framer to permanently mount it. The use of spray glue (wet mounting) or dry mounting will destroy the value of the art. In some cases these procedures may be appropriate for posters and some photography. Museum or conservation mounting employs the use of hinges or archival photo corners, which allows the art to expand and contract with heat and humidity changes.

Why is it important to employ the services of a custom framer? In a word, expertise. They have the knowledge and ability to select the proper framing materials for your particular project. A good framer will help you with all of the decisions that go into properly framing your artwork. Our framers have years of experience with conservation framing and design using a variety of up-to-date materials and methods. They are dedicated to providing beautiful custom designs and great service.  For more information, call us today at 512.328.3631.