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Conservation / Preservation / Archival Framing

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Conservation Framing, Preservation Framing & Archival Framing are terms sometimes used interchangeably to describe the method of framing in which the artwork and or memorabilia is not altered from it’s original state, thus preserving its value. When removed from the framing package, the art must be returned to it’s original condition with no evidence that it was previously framed.  Conservation grade materials and glazing with UV protection are utilized in this method of framing, which is recommended for anything with monetary or sentimental value.
Click here for some valuable information on Preservation Framing from the Library of Congress.

Tell Me About Acid

Stomachs aren’t the only things that hate excess acid! Acid in standard mat boards and mounting boards – made of wood pulp paper, which inherently contains acid – can be a major source of damage to your framed art and memorabilia.
Where does acid come from?  Blame it on those twin troublemakers – lignin and alum. A component of wood and wood pulp, lignin – a binding agent that holds wood together – makes acid as it degrades and turns paper yellow and brittle, especially if it’s exposed to the sun. Alum, a popular sizing, destroys paper in a few years by eating away at it from within. Even paper that starts out as acid-free can become acidic by acid migrating from such things as wood or wood pulp paper and from pollution. Regular corrugated cardboard, mat board and wood frame mouldings can all send acid creeping into artwork.

Short-term relief:  Manufacturers can add a chemical buffer to regular mat boards, usually calcium carbonate, the same ingredient found in stomach antacids!  In the same way antacids help you recover from overindulgence, chemical buffers absorb or neutralize acid. And just as your stomach will twinge again after a short time, the effect on regular mat boards also is short-lived. If the only description on a paper or board is that it is “acid-free,” then assume it is not preservation quality.

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The solution:

Only papers and boards that manufacturers say are made of 100 percent cotton “rag” – or alpha-cellulose, lignin-free and buffered – can be considered true preservation quality. These 100% cotton “RagMats” are only available to dedicated and qualified framers. (Not available to craft stores and big box framers)

What about ‘Light’ and how it affects my artwork?

Although art cannot be enjoyed without light, it is important to be aware that light can cause permanent damage to prints, drawings, textiles and even paintings.  When it comes to our artwork, we tend not to give light much thought until the damage is done. Heat and light accelerate fading and discoloration, but the amount of destruction depends on the intensity and duration of exposure to these elements.

All light can be damaging to art, but invisible ultraviolet rays from sunlight and fluorescent light cause the most damage. You need to be concerned, not only about sunlight coming in through windows and skylights, but also light from lamps and light fixtures within the home or office environment. Avoid hanging light-sensitive art in direct or reflected sunlight. Draw blinds or shades during the brightest part of the day to help prevent damage. If this is not possible, it is best to hang the piece in an interior hallway where the lighting can be controlled.

There are other options to consider. Try rotating works of art periodically. Or, utilize the excellent copying technologies available today; you can have a copy made (if there is not a copyright issue) and framed, storing the original in a preservation-quality storage box or folder. Ultimately, problems arise with long-term exposure to light. A major factor is the intensity of the light. Try to avoid illuminating artwork with picture lights; if this is not possible, use low-wattage incandescent bulbs. Turn on the light only when you are viewing the piece. This will keep the heat and the exposure to light at a minimum. If fluorescent light can’t be avoided, as in most offices, the tubes should always be covered with special cylindrical sleeves that filter the ultraviolet rays. Not all objects are equally light-sensitive. Textiles are generally considered very sensitive, with silk being the most sensitive fiber. Oil paintings are categorized as moderately light-sensitive. They do not fade like watercolors, but they can lighten or discolor. Some particularly light-sensitive materials include inks in some felt-tipped markers and ballpoint pens, pastels, watercolors and gouache; however, due to their chemical makeup not all colors are equally light sensitive. The causes of artwork deterioration are not cut and dry. There are many variables that you must try to control as best you can. Fortunately, with a little effort, light is one of these variables over which you have a great deal of control.

Ask about our full line of UV protectant glazing.

At Kelley Galleries, we can offer you significant protection from harmful light damage through the use of U.V. inhibiting glazing. Click here for more information on the available types of quality frame glass in use in our shop including the amazing new MUSEUM GLASS.  Ask for Museum Glass for your next framing project.

What’s wrong with discount store ready made frames?

Actually, there’s not a problem using ready made frames as long as they are assembled correctly.
Discount and chain stores sell their frames with regular glass and normally include a non-conservation mat and many actually include cardboard as backers.  This combination literally seals the death of your art…whether its a simple photograph or heaven forbid, a valuable document such as a diploma.
Another problem we see is that today’s consumer printed inkjet photographs cannot tolerate any moisture and when we slap our photo into a ready made frame up against the glass, we’ve just created the perfect place for moisture to condense and destroy our photo.  That’s no fun!  And we know how to avoid this. If you find a ready made frame you can’t live without, go ahead and buy it..then bring it to us and we’ll fit it with the proper materials and glazing so that your art will be protected.

If we can answer any questions regarding the importance of quality framing please let us know.  We’re happy to help!