Over the Years, I have seen maps, prints, historical autographs and documents as well as beautiful artwork get damaged from inexperienced framers who use generic, substandard quality materials. Colors, inks and vibrancy of content are harmed by not being properly cared or treated when framed. In most cases, these negative effects cannot be restored. Value, aesthetics and beauty is loss and the original intent of framing was not accomplish
Exposure to light is one of the most damaging effects from poor framing. In the shown photograph, a customer’s artwork was seriously damaged because low quality glass was used in the framing. Whether ignorance or intentional, the end result was damaged artwork that is barely worthy for display. Think of it this way, everyday light enters the room, the UV and Infrared Rays emitted from sunlight or indoor light cause subtle deterioration of objects in its way.
Framed artwork is no exception. Constant light hitting your displayed art and manuscripts cause fading so minute on a daily basis, that it is undetectable. But, over a couple to a few years, you will notice color changes and lightness, or fading, of inks and other works on paper. No, you don’t need to hide your art in the closet. You just need the proper glazing on your framed pieces. And, to ensure that the correct glazing is used, ask your framer if he/she uses genuine 99% UV filtered material. This can take the form of glass or acrylic. Just make sure the material states 99% UV on the box. Don’t accept the framer’s word.
Why? Because many suppliers and manufacturers of lesser quality products give incentives to buyers and framers. In this industry where framing establishment are always looking for ways to boost their profits and the bottom line, this is a “great” way to fatter margins.
Another thing to beware of with framing is lower quality matting material. Many of you have read my blogs regarding the use of inferior wood pulp matting boards. This will also cause damage to your artwork. Make sure your framer ONLY uses 100% cotton rag material. The typical, common wood pulp mat board will leave staining on your artwork. Genuine cotton rag material is inert and very safe for anything that you wish to frame and display.
Forget the irresponsible term “acid free”. This is a huge misnomer used in the industry and by many frame shops and other framing dealers to evoke a sense of quality in their products when there really is damaging components in the mat board. No matter what manufacturers or sellers label the mat board. Unless it is 100% PURE cotton rag material without the use of any wood filler, don’t accept it.