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week 8

Need to Frame ?  

by Andries Loots

The frame around any painting should be regarded of the same importance as the painting itself and can very easily enhance or destroy the work of art.

Framing is a very personal thing and no two people will choose the same frame. It allows you to create something in your home that is unique.

No frame should ever be seen as just an accessory, it should enhance the composition of the artwork ; complete it visually and create harmony between the picture and it's surroundings. However a frame should never be chosen to match the walls or the curtains as one might redecorate after some time. Frame to suit the picture only.

The most important consideration, in addition to your budget, is that the frame must form an integral part of the piece being displayed.

Good photographs should be seen as art and to frame them in a narrow metal frame just because it is a photo is no longer acceptable.

Consider a wooden frame where one can use more than one mount to give the work some depth and to invite the onlooker into the picture. Non reflective glass can be used with photographs to prevent glare but should not be used where it can obscure intricate detail.

Mounts are as important as the frames as they don't just prevent the glass from touching the artwork but also create a visual space between the artwork and the frame. There are a wide range of mounts available in different colours and textures. Allow ample space for the mounts around the work to prevent it from appearing squashed in.
The minimum space should be at least 7 cm on both sides and 9 cm at the bottom,( when works are framed behind glass ). Another indication of how wide your mount should be is that it should be at least 2,5 times the width of your frame. Sometimes consider mounting on top of the mount instead of beneath it especially with old documents with some scars or handmade paper where it is desirable to show off the edges. Always choose natural colours for the outer mount as it will create an illusion of space and make your artwork look bigger.

A few guidelines:

  • Refrain from choosing the mount too small in order to save money.
  • The mount's purpose is to create space between an artwork and the glass so don't put glass directly onto photo's or artworks.
  • Plastic or acrylic in stead of glass is dangerous to use especially with artworks done in pastels as it creates static and will damage your artwork by lifting off particles.
  • Never use tape or glue to attach any original artwork to the backing before framing it, rather utilize a Hinge or clear Mylar corners.
  • Use a professional framer to advise you and never attempt taking framed works apart without experience.

Conde Nast : House & Garden, June 1998, American Edition, Living with Art