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Q. What is archival/conservation/museum framing?

A: Essentially, most people (framers included) use these terms to mean the same thing. It means that the artwork is framed using only acid-free materials (matting and backing). The framing must be 100% reversible so that the artwork can be restored to its original state without damage. It also means that any glazing provides ultraviolet filtration.

Q. Why should I have my artwork archivally framed?

A: Archival framing protects the color and integrity of any framed object. It will help to ensure that the framed object retains its integrity for years to come.

Q. Are there different types of matting?

A: Yes! Essentially, mat-board is available in either conservation quality or “regular” mat-board. Regular mat-board is a wood pulp based product that contains a level of acidity that can be damaging to artwork. It will discolor over time and produce an effect called off gassing, which is also potentially harmful. The other option is conservation quality mat-board. This type is made from either 100% cotton rag or calcium carbonate treated board made from virgin alpha cellulose. Both are acid free and non-harmful to artwork. At Frames Unlimited, we only use acid free matting. We have it in a wide array of color and texture options.

Q. What about the different types of glass and plexiglass?

A: Both glass and plexiglass are available in either regular or ultraviolet (UV) protective variations. Regular glass filters out approximately 40-50 percent of damaging UV rays. We use Tru Vue products that filter 99 percent of ultraviolet light. We offer these products in both glass and plexiglass, with the option of regular, non-glare and museum surfaces. Of course, we do offer regular glass as well.

Q. What is museum glass?

A: Museum glass is a Tru Vue product that is virtually invisible. It provides 99 percent UV protection and reflection control without the distortion of other non-glare products. This is the ultimate in glazing options.

Q. How do you hold my artwork in place?

A: There are a wide variety of mounting and hinging techniques at our disposal. Paper fibers will expand and contract with temperature and humidity variations. This can result in a rippling or buckling effect that is called cockling. In a climate like we have here in Charleston, this is not unusual. The only way to guarantee that this will not occur is to have the piece mounted. We use a dry mounting process, either heat or pressure activated, depending on the item. This form of mounting is only acceptable for items that are not considered valuable or likely to appreciate. For other types of paper borne art, we use a variety of hinging or support techniques that are less invasive and reversible. These options will sometimes lead to a little “waviness,” depending upon the medium.

Q. What goes behind my artwork?

A: We use a variety of backing substrates, depending upon issues of size and strength requirements. We frequently use FomeCor board in either regular or acid free versions. We also will use 100 percent rag board where the highest levels of protection are needed.

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