Why Custom Framing?
Here’s how to get the most enjoyment out of your prints and originals, and make them last for the rest of your life, plus give pleasure to coming generations.
Fine art on canvas or paper that’s not properly protected can be damaged by light, temperature, acids, humidity, poor handling, insects, and pollution. Good custom framing enhances the experience of art, and protects and preserves the work as well as acts as a bridge between the environment and the art. It takes the viewer’s attention off the surroundings and brings it into the image itself.
Poor framing pulls attention away from the art and lessens its importance. An expertly done frame brings out the full beauty of the piece.
Glazing is a flat sheet of transparent material, such as glass or acrylic sheeting, which covers and protects the surface of the artwork while allowing the full beauty to be viewed. Although a more exspensive option Conservation Glass is often used instead of float glass, because it offers far greater protection from ultra violet radiation.
Ultraviolet radiation in the home, from filtered sunlight, fluorescent fixtures, and even ordinary light bulbs is the main cause of fade in prints (not to mention furniture, drapery and carpets). Conservation glass with ultraviolet protection reduces the ultraviolet radiation affecting your art by 97%.
The Mat Or Liner
Mat board serves two very important functions in framing: It protects the artwork, and it showcases and enhances the framed subject. Mat board provides a barrier from the airborne pollutants, moisture and other damaging substances that can reduce the life of the framed piece. We use matting for watercolors and prints. Liner for original oils and reproductions on canvas.
Mat board comes in a wide variety of colors and materials. Use only acid-free mat materials for works of art on paper, certificates and diplomas. Museum quality rag mat boards provide optimum archival protection; we recommend it for extremely valuable original works of art, rare and antique documents and items of historical importance.
Matting in its simplest form consists of two boards; the backing board and the window board. The backing board supports the work of art, which is attached to it, and needs to be of sufficient thickness to adequately support it. The window board provides a border around the artwork, and prevents the glass or other glazing material from contacting its surface.
The mat window can be cut to either cover the margins of the artwork (over mat) or to reveal all the edges (float mat). By cutting the window opening with a 45° bevel, the framer minimizes the casting of shadows on the surface of the piece. A mat can be floated a half inch or so above the underlying surface to create a feeling of depth. Sometimes the framer inserts a fillet of similar material to the frame between the matboard and the art.
The Frame Itself
A frame is constructed of wood or metal moulding, which comes in a wide range of quality and style, and is joined at the corners. Wood moulding should be consistent in stain and grain on all four sides, i.e. the four sides should look like they belong together.
We assemble the frame using V-nails inserted from the bottom by a pneumatic joiner to ensure the highest strength and a smooth even joint with no visible nail marks. Other, cheaper, assembly methods can be used, but the end product is generally weaker and not as neat.
Whether you’ve got prints, paintings or photographs, following the above guidelines will give you the maximum enjoyment and protection for your art. A poorly done frame very often results in a damaged artwork (fade, and tape marks etc.) lessening both the life and the resale value of the piece. So protect your art purchase, and make sure that it is properly framed!
Selecting The Frame And Matting For Your Print
There are different approaches that can be taken to framing a print. But whatever the approach used, the colors and style of both the frame and the matting will substantially affect how the print is perceived.
We feel that the artwork should be framed for the enhancement of the art itself. To accomplish this in framing a print, select mat colors from the colors in the print itself. This tends to bring out the colors in the print and lead attention into the print, rather than distract from it. The same with the frame: Try to pick framing materials that repeat textures, patterns and other elements in the print itself. Framing elements that are totally different in appearance from the elements in the print tend to pull attention to the frame and off the art work; this you want to avoid. The end result should be pleasing to the eye, and contribute to—not distract from—the perception of the print itself.
What about the environment? If the artwork itself is suitable to the environment, a frame well designed frame will be also. There are other approaches (e.g. matching the frame to your furniture, or other framed pieces), but we’ve found that framing to enhance the piece itself—focusing on the artwork rather than the environment—results in a finished product that looks very good and never has to be reframed.