Preservation Framing The world of custom framing should live by an oath similar to that of the Hippocratic Oath “First do no harm!” The basic principles of preservation framing should include these factors:
The framing shall not harm or permanently alter the artwork from the artists original intent.
All framing of fine art should be reversible.
Framing should be designed to preserve the art from environmental damage, for example: the mat provides a moisture barrier between the glass and the artwork. The mat is a buffer zone to separate the art from the wood acids present in wood picture molding. The mat allows room for the art to move - all art expands and contracts with the humidity in its environment.
All materials used in a frame package of Fine, Historical or personally important art should be of Conservation/Preservation quality. Mats should be purified Alpha-cellulose (either from Rag or Purified Wood Pulp). All mats should be Lignin, Alum, and Rosen free. Mats must be buffered to a pH within the range of 7.5-9.5. The alkaline reserve should be a minimum of 5%. The Alkaline reserve should be distributed evenly in all plies. For more information read the Library of Congress Specifications for Mat/Mounting Board.
All methods of attaching the artwork to the backing board (mounting) must be reversible without harming the artwork. The attachment should also be less strong than the paper of the artwork -- this allows the attachment to give before the paper of the artwork tears or is damaged. Archival corner pockets may by used on many types of artwork, others will need linen hinges, or mulberry paper hinges and wheat starch glues.
Whether Glass or Acrylic it is best to use an Ultra-Violet blocking material with a minimum of 97% UV blockage. Non-glare, Anti-reflective and Clear glazing are not UV protective unless a special coating is applied by the manufacturer.
Backing must be a minimum of 3-ply rag or Alpha-Cellulose. Acid-free foam core is not enough protection for fine art but may be used with less expensive or less valuable art. Acid-free foam core may be used in addition to the rag for maximum protection (in most frame packages regular foam core is used with the rag). The foam core acts as a stiffener to support the art and mat package and to protect it from the back. All frame packages (except metal frames-nothing to attach to) should have a dust cover to keep out bugs and dust.
Stitchery: Needleart is mounted to Acid-free foam core, rag-lined acid-free foam core, or cotton rag foam board using stainless steel dress pins (no rust) . No tapes, glues or adhesives are used (these may stain or rot the fibers). Glass should not touch needleart as moisture or condensation could collect inside the package, causing rot or mildew in the needleart fibers. If no mat is used to separate the Needleart from the frame (wood) the frame should be lined with a conservation quality barrier tape that has an aluminum barrier to prevent bleed-through of acidic materials (Archival Frame Sealing Tape is one such item). In this case a spacer should also be used between the art and glass.
Oils on bars or boards: The same barrier tape may be used to line a wood frame before inserting the artwork.
Preserves the Value of Fine Art