Art on Paper are the most vulnerable to the environment, therefore require diligent attention when framing.
Etchings & Prints
Pen and ink work, and drawings
We frame to conservation grade as a minimum, this ensures your art is protected from contamination and deterioration, such as acid burn.
Framing Art On Paper
A. The Priorities
The most important element is the products that come in direct contact with the artwork (referred to by framing professionals as the ‘package’ or ‘sandwich)
Archival or conservation framing means that the materials used are archival quality. This includes the paper surrounding the artwork plus the method of affixing the work to these materials, and any backing of materials that comes in contact with the materials, and UV blocking glazing. Make sure that the mounting methods are 100% reversible.
The frame itself should visually enhance the work, of course, and it helps hold the archival package of materials, including U.V. glazing together in an airtight package. Although the frame itself is important the artwork itself should never touch the frame or the glazing. The style of the frame, including whether it is wood or metal is one of personal decorating choice. For conservation purposes it is better to have archival conservation mounting with a cheap frame than skimp on the mounting.
B. Key Archival Framing Facts to know:
Acid free and water activated materials only. Absolutely spirit based adhesives should not be used, as they will eventually harm the paper. No glue or paste. Do not cut or fold the artwork. Museum grade corners (Dahle) may also be used.
Mount Board and Backing
Acid free, lignin free, archival mount must be used in framing fine art for preservation. Mounting separates the artwork from the glazing and provides room within the frame for the paper to expand and contract, which it will do with even slight variations of heat and moisture. Museum quality mounts are available in many colours to suit all décor and images. The work may be floated on the mount or framed by it, that is a matter of personal choice that does not bear on conservation. Also any backing behind the mat, such as foamboard and brown paper, needs to all be archival, too.
One of the greatest problems for artwork on archival paper is fading. There are two keys to avoiding this. First, do not place or hang any two dimensional art, including oils and acrylics on canvas or board) in direct sunlight, or with light, especially fluorescent, directly focused upon it. Second, use only U.V. filtered glazing, either glass or acrylic. Although this won’t eliminate all outside light and heat, it will filter out about 98% of harmful ultraviolet light. Always hang art in cool dry rooms, never in a kitchen or bathroom.
C. Artwork that is already framed.
If you have purchased artwork that is already framed, it is important to know what quality level the framing was done to. ‘Budget Framing’ may still look good for 5 years, but it can cause lasting harm to artwork that might then costs hundreds to be restored.
If possible contact the person or shop where it was originally framed to inquire about the methods of framing. Do not simply ask if the work was conservation framed, but ask about the specific materials that were used.
You can call upon my services: I am quite happy to visually check the quality of the materials used