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If there is one aspect of framing that is important, yet not well understood, it is mounting. There are many ways to mount artwork, be it a solid, three-dimensional item, an art piece done on good quality paper or perhaps done on inexpensive newsprint, an oriental ink drawing done on sheer rice paper or a rolled canvas. Because of the wide range of items that are considered art or at least "frameable," there are many methods that the at-home framer can use to mount (then display) his or her art collection.
When you have an art item on paper, one that is a ready-made size, you could simply put it behind glass, add a backing and use brads to hold the item in the frame. While this is done every day, it is not the best way to display a prized artwork on paper. When art is allowed to set against glass, there can be moisture buildup on the surface of the art and mildew can form. This happens anyplace there is moisture present (kitchens, bathrooms, pool houses or the beach house). Whenever possible, it is wise to use a mat around the art, thereby elevating the glass above the surface of the art. Even the thickness of a single mat can raise the glass over a print or original and protect it from damage caused by possible moisture buildup.
Fine art pieces, originals and limited edition prints are often handled in a special way. They should never be glued down, dry mounted or taped into position with office/packing tapes. Any adhesive that is allowed to contact the art will, in time, turn the paper brown and the adhesive will forever discolor the art. In extreme cases the adhesive is so strong that it can erode the paper completely, causing holes. The recommendation from museum curators and professional framers is to use a form of acid-free mounting. Any change in the art, anything that the artist did not do himself/herself is considered detrimental to the value of the art, so glue will certainly destroy the value of the art.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish mounting that is acid-free is to use special museum mounting materials that are available at all art supply centers. There are special corner pockets that will hold the art in place, yet do not allow any adhesive to make contact. And there are mounting strips that hold the art that, again, do not allow adhesive to touch the art. You can mount many pictures with boxes of either the corners or strips and they are not expensive. Just be sure that the art is held well and will not slip out of position when hung on the wall.
Don't be bashful. You can create a professional presentation that will be artwork-friendly and easy.
Matting technique lesson written by Arttalk.com
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