Conservation matting and framing refers to the strict use of non-acidic and chemically stable materials to limit environmental damage to an artwork over time. This maintains your artwork’s long-term value, ideal for attracting fine art buyers or to preserve a sentimental print for many years.
The conservation method requires a certain level of expertise, which is why your choice of framer will not only impact on the quality, but also the longevity of your print. Art of Print uses only the best preservation procedures and materials to protect your print from any damage over time. Conservational materials include using hinges, tape, build-ups, mat and backing boards, and frames.
We start out by hinging the print to the window mat using corner supports, polyethene strapping and edge strips that won’t discolour and impair the quality of your print. We then hinge the window and backmat together using water-activated gummed linen tape.
A matboard (or mat) is a cardboard-like material that sits between a frame and its artwork. Even though matting has an aesthetic appeal (adding colour and providing depth) its main purpose is to protect and enhance the print it surrounds. Art of Print uses a four-fly minimum mat for added protection, and comply with international standards to produce framed works that are non-staining and durable. Our work lasts since we use 100% cotton rag or chemically purified fibre from lignin-free wood pulp stock as a matting material that prevents the devastating effects of acidic material, preserving your work for many years. Acidity occurs when non-archival matboards that contain lignin, the binding polymer that holds wood together, breaks down. This results in yellowing that bleeds out into the print, typically caused by heat or humidity. We offer three levels of matboards suitable for preserving your artwork:
- Commended level (PPFA Class III): Commended level matboards include the more affordable, high-quality Hampton (bright white core), White Core and Black Core ranges buffered with calcium carbonate for stability against acidic breakdown.
- Conservation level (PPFA Class II): Our conservation range is made of high-rage virgin alpha-cellulose that maintains the purity of the board. It boasts a Blue Wool Scale reading of five and higher that reduce colour face and bleed, and is acid and lignin-free, delivering some of the highest quality standards in the market.
- Museum level (PPFA Class I): Our museum range boards are made from the finest form of natural cellulose (100% cotton fibre) and are naturally acid and lignin-free. This premium line adheres to the Fine Art Trade Guild’s and the Professional Picture Framers Association’s (PPFA) stringent specifications for museum matboards. It is available in most popular neutral colours.
The print is then framed behind glazing using a thick-ply window mat, or by adding spacers on the outer edges of the mat, which prevents the artwork from touching the glazing. At Art of Print, we use premium-quality anti-reflective glass with improved transmission of light. This reduces unwanted residual reflections without distorting the colours of the artwork on display. We provide three Artglass options to meet your needs:
- Artglass WW: Virtually invisible glass with a smooth surface that allows for details to emerge unaltered. It can be cut and glazed from either side.
- TM Artglass WW UV 90: With a preservation grade UV protection and light transmission of over 98%, provides a perfect balance between protection and clarity.
- Artglass Protect TM WW 99: This anti-reflection coated laminated glass provides the ultimate protection for framing larger artworks, also ensuring conservation grade ~100% UV protection.
Metal or wood frames may be used, but with wood it’s important to remember to line the rabbet with a barrier film, like aluminium or polyester tape with acrylic adhesive, to prevent acids from the wood from moving onto the matting. This is also constructed specifically to minimise potential for warping, bowing and torquing. Finally, to protect the print from dust and moisture, we add an acid-free and lignin-free corrugated backing board and dust cover.
Further steps to preserve your artwork
Approaching an expert framer that understands how to extend the longevity of your work will make all the difference, but you can also take steps to further preserve your artwork by hanging it:
- out of direct sunlight or any intense light source
- away from working fireplaces or radiators
- away from intake or outtake vents
- on interior walls, which do not reach the same temperature extremes or bear as much moisture as exterior walls
- out of attics, basements, or any other areas prone to environmental extremes and with a high risk of water leaks.
Get in touch with Art of Print to discuss the best framing and mounting options for your work. We specialise in quality fine art and photo printing, framing and mounting.