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FRAMING FAQs

Most customers rely on us to deal with the technical aspects of framing. Some like to do the learning themselves. Rather than burden every website visitor with more information than they need, we’ve added the following pages of nut & bolts for those who want to read further on selected topics.

Caring for Artwork
About Paper
About Light and Your Artwork
Anatomy of a Painting
Art on Paper
Art Care
Finding a Conservator
Glass Options for Framing Artwork
Insuring Artworks
An Overview of the History of Matting

If you have questions about these or other issues, please call us. We’ll do our best to answer your questions or do the necessary research.

A Statement About Preservation

At BlackBird Frame & Art, we aim to provide the appropriate level of care for your art or object. This means using preservation techniques and materials to the extent warranted by the project, based on the value and condition of the art or object as well as the client’s needs and concerns for preservation. Expense is certainly an issue that may affect a client’s decisions, but we make every attempt to provide impartial advice on this matter. Certainly, there could be instances where we would decline to frame an item in a manner inappropriate to its current or potential value — monetary or otherwise. However, it is our experience that clients, with almost no exception, share our concern for preservation and seek to take the necessary steps.

Obviously the degree of attention to preservation varies considerably, as some items have no value and are meant only for temporary use and display (government-mandated postings in a business, for example). The need for maximum care is self-evident in the case of art that has significant monetary value, or objects of great sentiment. Between these extremes lie some gray areas.

Items of limited or uncertain value pose issues that must be addressed by both the framer and our client. Some examples:

  • In the case of an inexpensive poster, the extra cost of uv-filtering glass is usually a good investment as it protects the poster from fading at nominal cost, substantially extending the life of the art, and thereby its framing.
  • A newspaper article may have no monetary value, but significant importance to the client. It is printed on paper that will discolor and become brittle relatively quickly, so uv-filtering glass may be useful in prolonging its life, or it may be better to make a color copy to frame instead. Similarly, historical documents may be best preserved by making a color copy, so that the original can be kept in an archival container away from damaging light sources and variations in temperature and humidity.
  • Limited edition prints, signed by the artist, may have monetary value as a collectible or not, depending on the artist. Often, although the print may have been more expensive than an open-edition poster, the future value is uncertain. The client may decide that there is no real likelihood of increased value, but a moderate degree of preservation care is warranted because of the decorative and/or intrinsic value. In this instance, we might advise certain measures such as the use of conservation-quality mat and mounting boards, uv-filtering glass and hinge-mounting (as opposed to permanent dry-mounting).
  • Objects of greater value, whether a fine work of art or a cherished family keepsake can require a higher degree of care which may include the use of only pure cotton rag mats and mounting materials, Japanese paper hinges, museum-grade glass or acrylic, a sealed frame rabbet and acid-free dust cover.

In short, the methods and materials used to frame each item are dictated by a variety of factors, including not only the nature of the object being framed, but also the client’s needs and preferences.

Blackbird Frame and Art