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Around Our Town...Ask the Decorator

05/01/2005 - Not All Frames are Created Equal-Part 2

In my last article I began to explain the differences in frames and why it is important to get the right materials for a custom frame. In this article, I will begin to go in depth as to what these differences are.

"If it's worth framing, it's worth preserving".

The above quote is one that many of us never really think of when it comes to what we are framing, but it is most likely one of the truest statements about custom framing. The reasons we choose to frame a piece vary greatly, but most of us are doing it so that we may enjoy the piece for many years to come. Whether it's a treasured heirloom or a print we choose for decoration, custom framing, when done correctly, not only enhances your piece, but preserves and protects it as well.

The first step in any framing is mat choice. It's a good idea to have a general idea of the colors you are looking for but remember, mats are more than just pretty colors and the custom framer you are working with should not only be able to help you choose what looks best, but what will preserve your piece as well.

Mats work to protect your piece in many different ways. They keep your glass from coming in direct contact with the artwork and allow air to circulate within the framed piece. When glass is placed directly against the artwork, wrinkles, buckles, and "sticking" can occur. Along with this, temperature changes can cause condensation that may form mold and mildew within the picture.

Choosing the right "type" of mat board is also crucial. There are basically two types: Regular and Museum Quality. Acid and lignin's are "natural" substances found in regular mats that over time will damage your artwork. The aging process of these substances, enhanced by sunlight and heat, will fade and discolor the art it surrounds.

Museum quality mats, however, have undergone a process which removes these acids and lignin's, erasing the concern for damage. It is essential that the bottom mat, the one coming in direct contact wit the artwork, be museum quality. The custom framer you choose should be able to explain these differences to you in detail. Don't be afraid to ask!

The right mat colors for your artwork enhance the character and elegance of your piece, while preserving it as well.

Glass choice, backing for your piece, and how your artwork is held into place within the final product, are all important factors when it comes to preservation. In my final piece about framing, I will explain all these and what you're best choices are.

Remember, once you decide to frame a piece for your home, there is more to it than just a simple mat and frame. The process however, should not be hard. Your custom framer should be well versed in all that it takes, making your decisions easy and quick.

Please feel free to email me at woodyg@coffey.com with ANY decorating questions you have.

Article written by: Lara Taylor, Woody G's Gallery

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