Lessons for Archival Framing
8 Fundamental Lessons for Archival Framing
By April Hann Lanford
When you meet with a specialist about framing your work of art, selecting the right frame is only part of the equation. The proper frame should not only beautifully present the piece, but it should also protect it too. Over the years we have seen many pieces arrive in the studio needing conservation due to improper framing with non-archival materials.
8 Common Issues that Result from Non-Archival Framing
3-No Spacer or Mat – Matting not only serves as a decorative element but also provides space between the face of the artwork and the interior of the glazing. Artwork should never be in direct contact with glazing because the artwork can adhere to the glazing over time, resulting in disfiguring damage to the piece.
6-Inappropriate Size – Artwork is folded or trimmed to fit within an existing frame. This is not always readily evident when reviewing a piece firsthand in a frame. Original artwork and limited edition prints should never be altered to accommodate a frame.
7-Unstable Frame – The frame should be constructed to be able to support the size and the weight of the components it houses. Improperly designed frames can have rails that bow, and corners that open and are weak. This can not only cause damage to the artwork but also can lead to safety issues.
8-Loose Hardware – Hardware is one of the piece elements and is often one of the most overlooked. Small screw eyes are often too weak and can pull out. Improper installation of fasteners can cause splits in the frame, resulting in further instability, and damage.
The issues listed above were also in part can be attributed to the lack of availability of proper framing materials. Over the past 30 years, the quality and availability of archival framing materials have dramatically improved. Here are a few basics to remember for your next framing project.
8 Tried and True Archival Framing Recommendations
2-Rag Board Matting and Mount Boards – Rag boards are made of 100% cotton rag and do not acids from wood pulp that can deteriorate your artwork over time. Rag boards also come in a variety of tones and thicknesses, in the event that a neutral mat is something that you don’t have in mind. Artwork should always be hinged to a rag board mount, rather than to the mat.
6-Appropriate Size – Artwork should never be folded or trimmed to fit within a frame. Frames should also be built with an added allowance around the piece to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the sheet in the future.
8-Proper Hardware – Having the appropriate hardware installed on the back of the piece is imperative for the overall safety of the artwork, and frame.
A well-designed frame can serve two functions, to display a piece and with archival materials, it can help protect a piece too. Using these 8 basic guidelines is a good start for the archival frame design.
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