The Art of Framing
From fine art to fragile photography to the crayon drawings your child made last Mother’s Day–we’ll show you framing materials and techniques that will show off and preserve your keepsakes for a lifetime. We stock the quality materials and work with you to help you determine when you really need museum quality materials and techniques…and when you don’t.
Matting is often a good choice for photography, watercolors and other light-sensitive material. Matting also helps to “frame” the image and offset artwork from the glazing.
Choose from hundreds of mat styles and colors from Crescent®, the leading supplier of matting and mounting products for the framing industry. All of our products are of the highest quality and range from basic acid-free mats to rag mats which are absent of the damaging effects of lignin and the acid it produces.
Museum Quality mats are either treated or buffered to virtually eliminate acids that cause gradual degradation or they are made of cotton and linen rag board that are naturally acid-free. Just ask one of our framers…they will recommend and build a framing package for you that will provide the optimum protection for your museum quality art or keepsake.
Certain types of artwork should be mounted to a rigid substrate to preserve their life and improve appearance. This practice prevents cockling, the rippling effect due to the absorption of moisture.
Frame Warehouse offers acid-reduced foam core that eliminates 97% of the acids that can damage art. They are created by bonding high quality papers to a polystyrene core resulting in a smooth, rigid surface for mounting.
One of the most important choices you will have when you choose to have custom framing done, is the selection of glass. Frame Warehouse offers five choices in glass.
Three issues will help determine which of these options is best suited for your piece: the value of the piece, the amount of glare you are willing to tolerate and the need to preserve the piece from ultra-violet rays that can harm your artwork.
Only you can assess how valuable something is to you. Maybe you simply paid a high price for it; maybe it is irreplaceable or the centerpiece of a room or maybe it has become a cherished “part of your family.” On the other hand, glazing can be expensive. Some items may not warrant the investment in museum-quality glass when there are more affordable options available.
Glare is also an important issue. If your art is near a direct source of light such as a window or lamp, it may reflect more glare and a non-glare or glare reducing glass may be beneficial. Certain images, typically those with dark backgrounds, are also known to create more glare.
Finally, the damaging effects of ultra-violet rays are always a consideration. They are particularly harmful to organic material found in certain paint, ink and papers. UV rays create irreversible damage which is why archivists, museum curators and preservationists everywhere prefer museum quality glasses that prevent yellowing, fading and the breakdown of organic material.
Frame Warehouse offers Tru-Vue® Museum Glass, a truly extraordinary product. It provides the same UV blocking protection as Conservation Clear® and Conservation Reflection Control® two less expensive glasses. In addition to its ability to block more than 98% of ultra-violet rays, Museum Glass has an anti-reflective surface far superior to a typical non-glare glass. A special coating is used in extremely thin layers to break up the incoming light rays so that they don’t bounce back off the glass, producing a glare. Because the rays don’t bounce, the picture is actually more illuminated than with clear glass. Clear glass transmits 91% of light to the artwork, while Museum Glass transmits more than 97% of light to the artwork. This improves color intensity and clarity.
Hinging. “Hinging” is a technique used to mount art in a way that prevents long-term damage to the artwork. By creating a hinge, the artwork hangs freely and is allowed to change in size with changes in temperature and humidity. Through use of an acid-free, ph neutral tape, the finest or most fragile artwork can be properly preserved.
Photo Corners. “PhotoCorners” are sometimes used to provide a more “dressy” and classic look for photographic images. They are acid free and can add stability to the mounting process.
Barrier Papers. Barrier papers are another device used to protect art from the damaging effects of lignin and acid. By insulating the artwork from any possible source of damage, the life of the piece is further enhanced.
Multiple Matting. One of the most common ways to add dimension and depth to a piece is to use more than one mat.This provides greater “float” space between the art and the glazing material and another edge to help offset the piece. Double matting can use mats of the same color and texture but can also be used to create special accents by varying the color or texture of the mat.
Stacked Mouldings. Stacked mouldings are a recent and popular trend. By using more than one moulding, frames can be built up to increase frame height and width. Stacked mouldings create more mass for larger pieces. But that isn’t the only reason to stack a moulding; sometimes complementary designs are joined to simply create more interest or a more exotic look.
Fillets. Fillets are shallow, narrow mouldings designed to be used along the inside edge of a mat or frame. They add dimension and interest to your piece and can often be used to accent a color and compliment the frame.
Specialty Cuts. New laser cutting technology has made the choices virtually limitless… perfect ovals, intricate openings, decorative mat designs, v-grooves and many, many more options. Our Frame Designers can show you options you may not have thought of that will enhance your piece.
Q: How does acid damage art?
A: Lignin is a naturally occurring chemical in alpha cellulose, more commonly known as wood pulp. The problem with lignin is that, over time, it produces unstable acids. Acids damage the organic materials they come in contact with, but they do it slowly. They change the colors of mats and migrate into artwork to create staining and spotting. They can also turn art brittle. The best practice is to begin with materials that are naturally free of lignin and the acids produced by lignin. Art should be surrounded with acid-free materials to enhance its life.
Q. What about other dangers to artwork?
A. There are many things that can damage a piece of art from bumps during moving to changes in temperature, humidity, insect infestation or light. At Frame Warehouse, we take every precaution to insure that your artwork is preserved to last several lifetimes. We surround your art with acid-free products, UV-resistant glasses, barrier papers and dust covers. We follow industry best-practices to design a framing package that is not only beautiful but of museum quality with respect to its ability to preserve your piece (and peace of mind).
Q. What is the difference between non-glare and conservation glass?
A. Non-glare glass, by etching the glass on one or both sides, reduces the reflective surface of the glass, thereby reducing glare. Conservation glass, which is available in regular or non-glare, is treated to reduce the impact of ultra-violet rays. UV rays, over time, fade and deteriorate paper, pigments and the organics that comprise art and photography.
Q. What is dry-mounting and when should something be dry-mounted?
A. Dry-mounting is a process whereby a piece of art, or anything that you wish to preserve, is mounted to a rigid substrate. We use a paper adhesive that is heat activated to eliminate cockling and waving. It improves the overall appearance of a piece because it makes it flatter and easier to frame.
There is some debate among conservationists and curators when it comes to preservation, via dry-mounting, of expensive, rare, original pieces. Some customers wish to avoid dry-mounting with autographed, signed and numbered prints as this might change their resale value. Some believe that they should not be dry-mounted because the use of the adhesive and substrate has fundamentally changed the art. Others believe the art rests on the paper and is not the paper itself.
Q. How much mat should show between the frame and the art?
A. while this is generally a matter of personal taste, a good guideline is that the mat should be 1.5 times the width of the frame. Obviously frame sizes differ and the “weight” of the mat can also vary. Different effects can be created by “getting creative” and varying the width of the mat. What we try to avoid is a look we refer to as “striping” when the mat is too close to the width of the frame, producing a striped look.
Q. How long should custom framing take?
A. Days, not weeks. An even better answer that we often give our customers is: when do you need it? If your custom framed art is a gift or needs to be completed by a certain deadline, we can almost always accommodate you. One reason is that your materials never leave our framing shop. In addition to eliminating the chance of “lost art” it reduces the time it takes because your material is not being transported to and from another location.
Q. Why is custom framing so expensive?
A. Framing is a function of the quality of the materials used and the craftsmanship of the professionals designing and executing the framing package. Museum Quality framing packages cost more because they are designed to preserve your artwork for not just a lifetime but several lifetimes.
Q: Is there any other place that offers museum quality framing for less than Frame Warehouse?
A: No, there isn’t.