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Preservation Matting and Framing

To increase the life and enjoyment of your print or photograph and to save money in the future on conservation treatments, you should invest in appropriate preservation matting and framing. Reviewing the following information and then interviewing the framer regarding the procedures and materials will help you decide.

What is preservation matting and framing?
It is the appropriate housing to display the intrinsic beauty and interest of an object, while prolonging its life by securing the object in a mechanically and chemically stable environment. It minimizes the problems caused by deterioration of the components of the object itself and other problems introduced by environmental factors.

The most basic guidelines are the following:

Mat /mounting board should be made of cotton rag or chemically purified wood pulp and must test negative for lignin. It should be pH neutral (pH 7) or slightly alkaline (pH 8.5). The addition of buffering agents to unpurified wood pulp papers does not render them fit for preservation use. Colored board must not bleed and the color must not rub off or fade. Board used for photographic materials must have passed the photographic activity test (PAT). Yellowing board suggests acid degradation and must be replaced to prevent damage to the object.

Board should usually be a minimum of 4-ply. Six and 8-ply boards provide greater support and deeper windows where needed.

The object must be kept from contact with glazing materials. This is particularly important for photographs, otherwise they may adhere to the glazing. This may be accomplished with the use of a window mat. Sometimes the planar dimension of an object will necessitate incorporating spacers in the mat. If a window mat is not used, spacers must be added along the edges of the back mat board.

The window mat should be secured to the back mat board with water activated linen tape adhered along one side only. This hinge must prevent the window mat from sliding around over the object. The object should not come in contact with the linen tape.

The object should be secured in a way which accommodates some expansion and contraction. In most instances, the object can be hinged with long-fibered Japanese tissue adhered with wheat or rice starch paste. There is no known pressure-sensitive adhesive suitable for hinging an object. Dry mount and lamination processes and glues are damaging also. Non-adhesive attachments -- such as acid-free paper or polyester film corners and strips -- may be used.

What materials should be used for glazing?

Glazing should only be glass or acrylic sheets (e.g. Plexiglas ® , Lucite ® , Perspex® , and Lexan® ). Acrylic sheets are lighter and shatterproof, but develop a static charge, and should not be used with dry, unfixed pastels, charcoals, soft pencil or any other powdery media. The static charge may displace the powdery media.

Sunlight and fluorescent lights emit high amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Glass and acrylic can both be bought with an added UV filtering component to reduce the damaging effects from UV. Include UV filtration in the glazing to protect the objet from UV radiation. It should be noted that UV filtration does not eliminate the damage caused by visible light.

Avoid non-glare etched glass; it may have been etched with acid which may not have been completely neutralized.

What materials should be used for frames?

Frames can either be wood or metal; if you choose wood, ask that the rabbet be lined with a barrier of some type, e.g., aluminum or polyester tapes with acrylic adhesives. This prevents acid in the wood from transferring to the mat package.

Frames should be strong enough and have a deep enough rabbet to hold the mat package securely inside the frame.

The mat package should be held in place with pins or brads, never with pressure sensitive tape.

A moisture barrier such as polyester film or polypropylene should be placed between the back board and the dust cover if the object will hang on an outside wall.

What are safe places to hang or store my framed object?

Avoid hanging or storing anything in the basement, attic, or any other place with extremes in temperature and humidity. A stable, cool, dry environment is best.

Avoid hanging pieces on outside walls, but if you must, request that a moisture barrier be placed in the mat package.

Avoid hanging objects in direct sunlight or any other intense light source. Control exposure to ultra violet light through glazing or placement away from a UV source. Occasionally rotate framed objects to cut down on the duration of light exposure.

Avoid hanging framed objects directly above working fire places or radiators.

Custom Picture Framing

Canvas Printing

Printing on canvas is incredibly versatile and a great way to create a ready-to-hang image or artwork. Every canvas that we print  is protected with a UV coated acrylic finish to guard the print from dust, moisture and fading. Do you want your canvas stretched on bars or non-stretched? Framed or unframed? Customize the work to make it truly your own.

Art Prints – How are they made?

Photography by Laurie Barone-Shafer
Nowadays just about anyone can take a good quality photographs with a digital camera. Or take a few hundred pictures and the chances are few will be good, and even one or two outstanding.

Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques on how to make art print poster ready photographs and print ready digital files. Don’t get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information here, but a lot of it is just intuitive. Well, a bit of patience will always help.

First thing – Photo Size

If you taking a digital photo of you family or friend the largest size you would print is usually 5 by 7 inches, maybe 8 by 10 at the most. Even small size digital photographs (2MB or less) are ‘good enough’ to create a decent print. But if you want to create prints that are 16 by 20, 20 by 24 inches or larger you need more pixels (in pixels 20 by 24 inches photo is actually about 40 times larger than 3 by 4 inches photo assuming they have the same resolution).

Learning to Paint Watercolors

Watercolor is an easy, fun medium for creating art.  Color theory, composition and design can be explored freely with watercolor paint, paper, and brushes.  Several techniques may be used with watercolors for varying effects including painting wet on wet, wet on dry, layering washes, and more.

Watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.  Rough paper has the most texture, and its hills and valleys can result in interesting effects when paint is added.  Hot press is the smoothest and has the finest texture.  Cold press has a moderate amount of texture and is the paper most commonly chosen by watercolor artists.

Watercolor paper comes in several weights ranging from 90 lb. to 300 lb. based on the pounds per ream of paper.  Most artists prefer to use at least 140 lb. paper.  Papers vary somewhat between manufacturers, so sampling different papers is advisable.  Paper can be purchased in pads, in blocks or in large sheets.  The large sheets are usually the most economical and can be torn into whatever size is desired.

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