Tel. 0191 3860222
14 Church Street
Durham City DH1 3DQ
Tues / Wed 9am-5pm
Conservation framing is all about framing artworks or objects for the future. To do this we use the best materials and techniques to preserve them for future generations. This is as important for an irreplaceable photograph of a family member as for a valuable painting. The materials and techniques some framers use are cheaper, but can start to actively damage your artwork or object - even after a few years.
So what does conservation framing actually involve?
Although the materials and techniques can vary depending on what is being framed there are probably four main things to consider:
1. How the artwork or object is attached into the frame
2. How the artwork will be mounted.
3. What kind of undermount is used behind the artwork
4. What kind of glazing is used
Taking these one at a time:
1. Attaching the artwork
Materials. We use archival quality tapes where the glue is stable and water activated (this means is can be fully removed from the artwork in the future). We have opened up many old frames (where the customer has asked us to reframe a picture) and have found a picture to be attached with sellotape, masking tape or even parcel tape. Unfortunately the glue on these tapes is not designed for long term use against anything valuable, so either fails (and the artwork drops down)or starts to seep into the paper. This often starts to turn the paper yellow or brown and eventually seeps all the way through to the front of the paper, distorting the artwork.
Techniques. It is important that the artwork is attached in such a way that it is able to expand and contract as the temperature and humidity changes. For example if it is taped all the way round it has nowhere to expand and so will cockle (buckle) over time. We attach artwork using the Fine Art Guild recommended method of using two t-hinges that only extend onto the back of the artwork by around 5mm. It is also important to attach the artwork to the undermount rather than the mount, as it is much better supported (and is not pulling the top edge of the mount out of position). For objects such as sports shirts and other fabrics, we will stitch these onto the undermount (some other framers use glue or staples).