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6 Questions to Ask a Professional Framer

by Danny Bach, January 15, 2019

This post is also available in: viTiếng Việt

It is essential you get your paintings framed to maintain their beauty, life and loveliness. Colors tend to fade if not framed properly. Mold and mildew may set in, totally ruining your art.

Framing alone does not guarantee you the best for your precious artwork. If not properly executed, wrong techniques and materials can do plenty of damage to your painting. Acids wear away the fabric and affect the pigments.

Acid burnt on an artwork . (Source: https://aiccm.org.au)

The importance of framing right cannot be overstated, especially if you have a very valuable artwork or if it’s something that has considerable sentimental value. Since the materials used, the technique employed and the craftsmanship of the framer play an important role, make sure you get your artwork framed at a reputed place.

Decide Whether You Want Your Art Framed

Digital prints can be stored in archival boxes. (Source: LINECO.com)

All art does not warranty framing. Varnished art can be displayed frameless. Watercolors, gallery wrapped art work, pastels and drawings do not require framing. Consult your framer and check what is best for your artwork.

Oil paintings on canvas also do not require framing.

There is actually no limit to what you can choose to frame. Posters, personal memorabilia like wedding signatures and children’s art, vintage scarves and even certificates and diplomas can be framed.

When taking your painting for framing there are a few questions you should definitely ask your framer to ensure you get the right results for the right price.

What to Keep in Mind When Taking Your Art for Framing

Framing is an art in itself. It plays a very important role in the overall aesthetics and longevity of your artwork.

When you take your precious possession to the framer, it helps if you know what processes and procedures are going to be involved in getting it framed.

Upping your knowledge about framing techniques will help you have an educated and rewarding discussion with your framer. Here are six questions you absolutely must ask your framer.

1. How Safe Is My Artwork at Your Store and Where Will It Get Framed?

This is an important question because the safety of your artwork cannot be compromised. If the framer has in-house framing facilities take a look around and get a first-hand idea about how they function. The person you meet in the shop would also be involved in all the activities so have a detailed discussion with him as well.

If your art is going to be shipped somewhere for custom made framing, get to know of the steps involved. Ask about the quality of workmanship, expertise and the technology and equipment used.

All prints are stored in our speciality rack at VG-Lab.All reputed framers provide insurance protection to your art, so that in the case of any inadvertent mishap you will not suffer, and will be duly compensated for your losses. Note: As Vietnam art framing is still in a very backward situation, therefore it’s not easy to find a framer who have insurance protection, but you can always arrange an insurance agreement with your framers.

2. Do You Make Use of Archival Quality Materials?

The quality of the materials used and the kind of framing techniques employed will affect the longevity and the appearance of your artwork.

The modern and scientific framing process makes use of acid-free materials especially for backing and matting purposes. Acid is the primary culprit that damages and breaks down paper and causes color pigments to fade.

Quality mats used in today’s framing techniques are 100% acid-free and made from cotton or linen rags, or from alpha-cellulose. They are completely lignin free and are considered to be of the highest quality.

LINECO conservation board is officially distributed by VG-Lab in Vietnam.

Acid-free and archival museum boards or foam boards are used for mounting. These backing boards also do not damage your artwork in any manner. You can use these mounting boards for oil paintings as well to protect the canvas.

 

3. What Is the Mounting Process Employed?

ALUBOND cold mounting at VG-Lab.

You should definitely consult with your professional framer as to what is the best mounting technique for your art. If you possess a poster or a print then dry/cold mounting will ensure it looks aesthetically pleasing, is wrinkle-free and stays flat without buckling. Dry mounting can be permanent or partially reversible. If your art work is rare and valuable, then dry mounting is an absolute no-no. It will reduce the value of your art to almost zero.

Matboard mounting at VG-Lab

Hinging (matboard mounting) is archival and of conservation quality. In this process the painting or art piece is attached to the mounting board using linen tapes or other hinging materials. Archival hinges include acid-free adhesives or Japanese paper using organic starch as adhesive.

4. What Mat Should I Choose for My Artwork?

Choosing the right mat can be painstaking and time-consuming.

A lot goes into getting your mat right. The color palette of your artwork, its size, the place where you want to hang it and the overall coordinated look you want to achieve.

Consult with your framer and get to know of the options and choices he offers before making your decision.

As stated earlier, ensure the mat used is acid-free and is ideally either an alpha-cellulose or a rag mat.

5. Which Glass Should I Go For?

Lựa chọn kính theo cấp độ chống UV mà bạn muốn.

Museum glass comparision from Tru-Vue. (Nguồn: Tru-vue.com)

The type of glass you choose depends on the level of UV and glaze protection you want.

Regular glass will suffice for most purposes. The drawback of regular glass is that it is very heavy and does not offer good UV protection. Non-glare variants offer glare protection but has a frosted appearance.

Acrylic glass, also known as Plexiglass, is a cheap and cost-efficient option. It is very light and will not shatter into dangerous splinters in case of an accident. It is available in regular and non-glare variants. Acrylic glass offers up to 60% UV protection.

Museum glass is the best option and unsurprisingly it is also very expensive. However, you may not require it unless you have a very valuable masterpiece. It offers close to 99% UV protection and is almost invisible to the naked eye.

6. How Much Will It Cost to Get the Best Frame for My Work?

Sometimes you may find that the frame costs more than the artwork itself. A $20-poster measuring 24×36 will cost a considerable amount to frame. You have to take into account the labor cost as well as the cost of materials used. Good quality backing boards and alpha-cellulose mats are expensive. A mahogany frame will cost more than a cheap plastic one. Museum glass and archival framing are also premium services.

Custom framing will give you the benefit of getting a unique and one of a kind artwork in your home. Ensure you get a complete and all-inclusive estimate before handing over your artwork.

 

Conclusion

A reputed, bankable and quality framer will be happy to answer all your questions and guide you through the various steps of the framing process. If you feel he is giving you vague answers or is not exactly sure of his workmanship, go somewhere else.

NOTE FROM VG-LAB: Because of the limitation of material suppliers, all frames were made by VG-Lab before 2019 were in commercial archival grade. From 2019, VG-Lab officially distribute LINECO products, we will be providing conservation and museum grade framing services.

 

(Original post from: http://www.amarisco.com.au/blog/6-questions-to-ask-a-professional-framer)