OUR LEVELS & STANDARDS OF FRAMING
Over a period of 20 years or more, we have set our own standards which we believe exceed any trade body’s and the aim of them is to set us apart from the vast majority of other framers and to give you, the customer, total confidence – here they are.
Levels of framing
- Conservation framing.
- Non – Conservation framing
Standards for materials and methods
That’s it, nice and simple! Let’s elaborate though …………………………….
- Mount board
If something is framed to our conservation level – and let’s deal with work on paper that is mounted and behind glass for now – the mount board will be made from acid and lignin free, virgin alpha cellulose with patented microchamber technology and “zeolites” which trap airborne pollutants and turn them into harmless salts! It is called “Artcare” and is our default board anyway!
Mount boards can be made from wood alpha cellulose or from cotton alpha cellulose; most framers that observe set “Industry” standards will call the cotton version “Museum” board – as in a level above conservation.
It does not matter to us (or to your artwork) if board that meets our specifications WITHOUT the artcare technology, is made from wood or from cotton, it is still virgin alpha cellulose – the wood version just took longer to process.
Boards made of cotton and boards made of virgin alpha cellulose from wood are interchangeable for most framing applications but the artcare boards we use as default comes in both versions anyway, wood pulp and cotton. We believe the wood pulp version out-performs any other brand of cotton board because it ACTIVELY protects the artwork.
This actively protecting board will be behind the artwork as well as around it at the front, in fact behind is just as important if not more. Out of sight is not out of mind; if acid or other things from bad methods and/or materials are in contact with the whole image area at the back, then by the time it works its way to the front, it’s usually the end of it.
A trade body would never have these standards for mount board because only one manufacturer makes artcare, they have it patented and a trade body’s main paying members will be suppliers that they must remain impartial to.
- Mounting Methods
We endeavour to mount art on paper with no adhesive whatsoever; if not possible then at least no adhesive in direct contact with the artwork and if even that is not possible then we will hinge artwork with wet-torn handmade Japanese tissue hinges made from pure kozo which we buy in sheets. These are fixed to the artwork with wheat starch paste that we cook ourselves.
Not many framers pay much attention to standards set by an external body and the vast majority of the few that may, at their highest level, use pre-gummed tapes. We don’t know what is in that water-activated adhesive, we didn’t make it, and any tape, regardless of what it is made of, will not have the feathered edge of wet-torn tissue or be available in the same array of weights and colours.
Glazing may be glass or acrylic but must filter a minimum of 97% of UV light within a certain range of the spectrum and the filter must be absorptive; the product we use filters 99%.
UV is only part of the light spectrum, is invisible and is present in natural and some artificial lights, it does not have to be direct, reflected light can also cause fading. You cannot block visible “blue” light and still see your artwork, so, where you hang your frames is more important than the type of glass in them.
This “conservation” glazing also comes with an optical coating that makes it virtually invisible, head on, in normal lighting conditions. In ideal lighting conditions it is invisible!
4. Oil paintings/art on canvas
99.99% of picture framers will not use or suggest/recommend glazing for art on canvas, or even for oils or acrylics on board. We do! There are so many good reasons to that I’ll write another blog on the subject but for now, ask yourself one question, which would you rather clean, a piece of glass or an oil painting? (or, in time, pay someone to clean the oil painting!)
5. Needlework/fabric items
Most needlework such as X stitch, embroidery and needlepoint is laced in both directions using crochet cotton across the same art care boards mentioned above. Sometimes we need to sew extensions on to the work to make this possible.
Other work on fabric is sometimes support stitched.
As we sell every type of needle and thread, plus all the needlecraft accessories imaginable, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to preparing work on fabric for framing.
6. Three Dimensional Objects
Medals, coins, musical instruments, garments, general memorabilia …… again we endeavour to use no adhesive. We use many many methods of fastening and/or holding things in place and usually it is a challenge to see how we have done it, if not impossible. Again, a subject I will cover in a separate blog!
Not everything is given the full Monty by a long way but, basically, remove one or more of any of the elements above and we will not class the job as a conservation job, mount boards will always be art care though.
For example, artwork on paper. If any sort of readymade tape is used for hinges, even though the tape we would use has a water-reversible adhesive, then even if the glass was UV filtering, we would not class the job as conservation. Swap those two, so, use the best hinges – or a totally non-adhesive method to mount the work, but use standard glass, or even a product with, say, 70% UV filtering?
Most framers would, in both of those cases, consider the job conservation and, for the UK, so would their trade body.
Our standards set us apart from the vast majority.