PDA

View Full Version : Framing Materials


Dot Hoffman
06-14-2010, 01:31 PM
I almost hesitate to ask this, since I SHOULD know the answer by now, but here goes. What materials are safe for frames for pastel paintings? In another thread, Peggy B mentioned the damage wood can do and a few days ago there was a discussion at our pastel society meeting on out-gassing of wood frames ruining the work. I don't like the look of metal frames and I've been told that the composite frames are heavy and not of high quality. So what can we use without damaging the work? Expert advice, please???

allydoodle
06-14-2010, 01:45 PM
IMHO, I think wood frames are fine. They've been used for years, and years, and years, and this is the first time I've heard any kind of complaint about them. IMHO, metal frames are unprofessional, and I my art club, when we hang a show, if a metal frame shows up and is improperly set up for hanging (i.e., no wires), we refuse to accept it. (We really hate metal frames in general, and are not very happy to see them - just unprofessional.)

That being said, I believe you should use acid free mats, acid free foam core to back the painting, acid free tape, glue, spacers, etc.... to protect your artwork. I really don't see a problem with wood frames, but I do think acid free materials should be used to encase the artwork. My 2 cents.

Potoma
06-14-2010, 03:12 PM
People often tape or paint over the inner lip. It's an easy fix.

Deborah Secor
06-14-2010, 04:33 PM
Dot, go look at the frames in the show at the ABQ Museum right now and you'll find wood! If a Monet or Renoir is framed in wood, it's not doing too much harm, trust me.

You can't convince me that wood does that much damage. Use good sense. Rag mats help insulate the work away from the wood, and using a barrier sheet functions the same way. If you rest your artwork directly on raw wood you're asking for trouble in a few years.

I served on a panel a few years back at IAPS and we decided that simple wood frames, plain wood or gilded, were the preferred choice. I still think it makes sense. Use your head and don't become overly alarmed by dire warnings. You have to use something, and sooner or later someone will tell you the harm its doing! :lol:

Deborah

PeggyB
06-14-2010, 05:53 PM
Dot, I'm sorry I wasn't clear about the damage the wood backing did to the support. As a backing material, wood is very distructive; as a frame, wood that has been properly sealed (most of the professional frames used today) is not a problem. As Deborah said, fear not the damage a wooden frame might do to your artwork. If however, you still have some concern for the particular wooden frames you have in mind, Patoma had an answer, but I'd hesitate to use tape if it isn't archival.

If archival framing is your goal, please remember, "acid free" is not archival! Yes, I've lost count of the number of times I've said this on Wet Canvas. :lol: Acid free foam board still has outgassing even if you use archival barrier paper on top of it. I've had reason to unframe work that was framed with "acid free" foam board about 10 years ago. The foam interior had turned yellow and was crumbling. Fortunately, at this time there was no discernable damage to the support paper. Bainbridge makes a foam board that is archival, and you will pay archival prices to use it.

As for the use or non-use of metal frames, well I believe that to be a very regional preference or prejudice. Today there are profiles and finishes of metal frames that rival wood frames. I used a satin finished antique gold frame on a southwest landscape that people think is wood until they touch it. I don't recommend most metal frames for large pastels that might be subject to shipping as the metal may torque more than the wood does and more dusting may occur. For some more contemporary or abstract work the metal frames may be more appropriate than wood. It just depends upon ones preference.

There is nothing unprofessional about a good metal frame on pastels. Some metal frames cost more than wooden frames. For that matter, I've seen wooden frames at national shows that were obviously very inexpensive or "renewed" by the not so fussy artist that were as wrong to present to the public as the cheap metal frames are. If sales and exhibitions are the goal, then using ones best judgement about what is proper for your work in the region in which you live is important.

btw Deborah, I remember that panel discussion. It was great! :) One piece of information that wasn't availabe then that is now is that the metal frame industry has produced a host of profiles since then. I suspect if they had been available the discussion may nave been more heated. Personally, I still use way more wooden frames than metal, but then I paint more landscapes or florals than I do abstracts. All of my abstracts are in metal frames. The only landscape that is was mentioned in a paragraph above.

Deborah Secor
06-14-2010, 06:05 PM
I agree, Peggy. I have a gorgeous metal frame that looks like it's made of marble on a large mirror in my living room and I love it. I'd use that kind of molding on a painting any day.

The one thing I do when I frame with metal is to seal the glass-mat-painting-backing together (into a passe partout), using framer's tape, so that no bugs can get in. Around here that's a real problem.

Deborah

bluefish
06-14-2010, 06:43 PM
Wonderful discussion Peggy - if anyone knows framing, you do! I've asked you time and again for your input on framing questions because of your extensive background in the framing industry.

It is a regional preference question - some of the new metal frames are outstanding and really set off certain types of subject matter - I use a lot of wide white metal frames for my seascape pictures but I also use distressed white wood for the same subject matter -

metal or wood, framed properly, the picture will look good in the eyes of the prospective buyer -don't sell one or the other short!

'blue....' :wave:

westcoast_Mike
06-14-2010, 07:15 PM
If you are really concerned about it, you can always buy Barrier Tape (http://www.artright.com/supplies.htm#LTape).

Sonni
06-14-2010, 08:59 PM
If you are really concerned about it, you can always buy Barrier Tape (http://www.artright.com/supplies.htm#LTape).

Peggy's always good at clarifying, but .... I didn't know such a thing as barrier tape exixted so I clicked. Often I frame glass against the painting. Seems like this product would be better than... below.

Artists' Tape -ALL (3) TYPES IN STOCK!!
To protect your artwork package from dust and damaging sudden changes in temperature and humidity, seal the entire package around it's edges with neutral pH "artist's tape". This is a white paper tape made completely of neutral pH components that is useful for many applications including hinging photos and artwork to mat boards. Also used on canvasses, etc. by artists, this tape is formulated to leave no residue when removed. For conservation-grade hinging, see "Nori wheat starch paste" below.

Comments?

allydoodle
06-15-2010, 12:49 AM
When I was talking about metal frames, the type of frame I was referring to are the ones typically used on posters, are very flimsy, and not at all well made. I should have been more specific. These can be bought for almost nothing, and look just about as good.

Of course, a professionally made frame, whether metal or wood, looks beautiful, and when selected well, enhances the artwork. I've seen wood frames that were made so poorly that I wouldn't consider them either. Nothing beats good workmanship, no matter what the material is!

PeggyB
06-15-2010, 01:12 AM
The one thing I do when I frame with metal is to seal the glass-mat-painting-backing together (into a passe partout), using framer's tape, so that no bugs can get in. Around here that's a real problem.
Deborah

:o Thanks for the vote of confidence Deborah, Blue and Sonni. I don't even pretend to know all there is about framing. It is an industry that seems to change often as to what is the latest in appropriate framing for any given job.

Deborah, is the framer's tape you use the same as the Artist's Tape as described in Sonni's message? It could very well be. Sometimes the unaware or inexperienced artist gets confused by terminology. Terminology that may be the very same thing. I am not referring to you as inexperienced or unware, but rather if there is anyone reading this that doesn't have the experience we do it may be helpful to them to know the difference. I admit to being one who sometimes is just too lazy to do proper reserch on line as I tend to fall back on what I know and still use. :o However, there is one phrase used by the vendor for the products described in Mike's link that bothers me; "archival quality". Does that or does that not mean it is archival?

Sonni, the Artist's Tape as described in the paragraph you quoted says it is neutral pH. That is a characteristic that we look for when doing archival framing. However, it does not say acid free nor does it indicate how the adhesive should be disolved if it must be removed so it may or may not be problematic. The last I knew, and that's been awhile, the most conservation/archival hinging products that conservators still use are wheat or rice starch paste and linen or rice paper strips. If ever I was so honored to reframe an old masters work, that's what I'd probably use unless a true conservator told me there is a newer, better way to do it. (like that's gonna happen :lol: )

I use Framer's Tape II for hinging artwork. Sonni if I were to do a passe partout that is what I'd use too. It has "archival grade adhesive that contains no harmful plasticizers." Although it isn't something a conservator would use, I don't want to bother with pastes and strips, and I'm pretty certain it will not harm the work for long after I'm gone. :) For temporarily taping a support to a work board while painting, or other purposes when the tape doesn't touch that artwork long term I use white Artist's Tape because it is "virtually acid free, non-staining, and repositionable". If I were to do a passe partout, I'd use Framer's Tape II because it is more archival than the original Framer's Tape. Black Artist's Tape is not acid-free, and should be used only for a very temporary purpose and never on fine art. The quotes above are from my frame supplier's catalogue.

From what I understand in reading the description of Barrier Tape it is meant to be used only on wood to seal it from the artwork. I don't think it would work well if used in a passe partout method. the description says one has to use mineral spirits to remove the adhesive, and as I'm sure you know that is not good for the artwork. If the glass breaks, you'd have to remove the tape somehow. However, if Mike has used it he can probably tell us more than what is written on that website.

Thus ends my latest tutortial on framing. :lol: If you have more questions, please ask. If you have more up to date information please pass that on too as I always appreciate learning something new.

Peggy

Colorix
06-15-2010, 10:09 AM
Some framers recommend that the actual artwork should be 2" from the unsealed wooden frame. I figure shellac would do the job of sealing, otherwise.

A propos terminology, I doubt it is possible to root out the misconception of the French word passe-partout. The highly estimated PJ got it wrong, or one of the authors did, and ever since ...

We all have our pet peeves, and this is one of mine...

Passe-partout means mat, plain and simple (in art). The cardboard piece with a hole (window) in it that allows a painting to be put within a larger frame. The cardboard piece that can be cut to fit the frame, while the window remains the same.

A sealed package contains backing, mounting board, artwork, mat (passe-partout), and glazing, the whole package sealed with acid free tape all around the edges.

I've double checked it with the framer and pastellist from and in France, Marie-France Oosterhof.

From French Wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passe-partout_%28encadrement%29): Un passe-partout est un encadrement en carton posé sur une œuvre d'art ou une reproduction. La fonction première du passe-partout est de créer un espace entre l'œuvre et le verre de l'encadrement de façon à protéger l'œuvre d'un contact direct. Il assure également une fonction décorative.

Or, in my rough translation: "A passe-partout is a frame made out of cardboard and placed over a work of art or a reproduction. Its primary function is to provide a space between the work of art and the glazing in such a way as to protect the work of art from direct contact with the glass. It also has a decorative function."

Charlie

Deborah Secor
06-15-2010, 02:00 PM
Well, Charlie, I may be the culprit who misled the readers of the PJ :o (or not--I'm not sure), but at the above-mentioned IAPS panel discussion one of the esteemed members called the glass-mat-painting-backing package "passe partout", and I quoted it. Sooooo....whatcha gonna do? I researched it at the time and found the inexpensive cardboard 'window mat' information, as well, but our contributor was well respected and I was in the business of reporting things, not correcting misconceptions.

I sure do understand those pet peeves and this is a good example. I suspect that the root of the idea is obscured, but the fact remains that in some way the phrase "passe partout" in American English has come to stand for this package, wrong or right. Don't you hate when things like that happen? (It's taken me several decades to stop thinking of English as having any standards and accepting that it's fluid, changing, unpredictable, etc. It makes me insane sometimes and I'm a native speaker.)

So you'll have to forgive a lot of people for misrepresenting the concept of passe partout in the PJ, starting with me! Sorry to have promulgated a misconception, but it was done in innocence at the time. It certainly isn't very widespread, and I'll take care using that phrase from now on! :wink2:

And, Peggy, I use Framer's Tape, not Artist's Tape, but I had a different brand that I ordered from UMS. I haven't done it in a long time so I don't know what brand it is, but your caution is a good one. They aren't the same thing at all!

Deborah

PeggyB
06-15-2010, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the European translation and use of the word passe-partout Charlie. I gotta admit the original meaning makes more sense. However, as Deborah said it has come to mean something different in the US. There are other words that we Yanks have changed too; a jumper is a sweater here for instance. Then again there are words that both continents have come to change the meaning or use of; "cool" being a primary example, and I'm sure we can all think of others!

I could go on at length about written languages and how we interpert it in different ways even within our own country. I learned a whole lot about this when I first became the exhibitions chairperson of IAPS in 1997. Communicating internationally even for a prospectus was on occassion an exercise in diplomacy to say the least.

Deborah I'm glad you use the Framers Tape. I more often use it here to help seal the "package" when it is something that will be hung in a damp environment such as a bathroom. We don't have a huge bug problem in this area, but humidity? Well I don't refer to my home area as the NorthWET for nuthin' :lol:

Peggy

Dot Hoffman
06-15-2010, 03:36 PM
Thank you, Peggy, Deborah and others who jumped in on this discussion. Deborah, you're absolutely right about the show at the art museum; wonderful paintings and frames:) !! Actually, I was surprised to see even the oils were behind glass; guess they did that to protect them.

I don't do much of my own framing, but when I do I make a sandwich of the glass, painting, and backing and seal it on all edges with Framers Tape II so it can be easily removed by applying heat from a hair dryer. The gallery that shows my work is willing to wait until I get a piece they want to hang framed professionally. The framer uses spacers (I frame directly to the glass). I haven't taken her frames apart so I'm not sure what she uses behind my backing which is almost always museum board. She also frames my work for any shows I might get juried into. (I know, don't end a sentence with a preposition :lol: ) I can't afford to frame everything I produce....just too expensive.

You all have put my mind at ease about using the wood frames. Thanks so much!!!

Colorix
06-15-2010, 03:50 PM
Oh, no worries, we Europeans are used to Americans getting words and meanings all wrong. ;-) Passe-partout isn't a European translation of an American word. The French ought to know the true meaning, they invented the word and the windowed mat, and many other countries use it too, so it is definitely confusing to us when it suddenly means something else elsewhere, including the opposite as in "matless framing" (that's *really* funny). Not too late to right it, though.

Deborah, oh, definitely didn't mean to pick on you. The article I saw was written by someone else, indeed quoting someone else again. It is obvious it is a misunderstanding somewhere down the line.

Charlie

Deborah Secor
06-15-2010, 06:15 PM
Well, not to take this toooooo far, but my concept of passe partout, as we Yanks use it, is NOT matless framing! It's the package of glass-MAT-painting-backing, all taped into one unit front to back, so it's ready to be framed (or as mentioned here, so that it keeps the bugs and humidity out of metal frames, which aren't sealed on the back.) I'm glad the article you're thinking of wasn't mine, and I don't feel picked on at all, Charlie. (I figure once a magazine is printed it's all history!) I realize that some folks now make a package of glass-spacers-painting-backing and tape it together the same way, in order to place it into a frame without mats, but that wasn't referred to as passe partout, as far as I'm concerned. Anyone else have a clearer concept on that? Do you think of these as the same?

Dot, I bet that's bullet-proof glass on those oils in the museum, or some such thing! More than one museum has had to deal with defacement, and with the tagging that I see in ABQ I figure they can't be too safe.

This has been an interesting thread. :)

Deborah

bluefish
06-15-2010, 06:24 PM
Deborah

that may not be 'bullet proof' glass in that museum - oil paints never stop reacting with air, that's why they 'crack' - museums all over the world place 'masterpieces' under glass, pump out the air and replace it with an inert gas to stop the oil/air chemical reaction - this helps save the 'masterpiece'

'blue....' :)

Deborah Secor
06-15-2010, 11:21 PM
Interesting--and it makes sense. Thanks for the info, blue.

Deborah

westcoast_Mike
06-16-2010, 11:36 AM
Barrier tape is meant to go on the frame itelf, not as part of a "passe-partout" system. Basicaly it is an aluminum tape that is providing an acid free barrier against the frame. I haven't used it personaly but a framer showed it to me at one time. Artist tape should do the same thing, this is just a bit more permament. As it is only going on the frame, using mieral spirts to get it off has no effect on your art.

PeggyB
06-16-2010, 12:23 PM
Barrier tape is meant to go on the frame itelf, not as part of a "passe-partout" system. Basicaly it is an aluminum tape that is providing an acid free barrier against the frame. I haven't used it personaly but a framer showed it to me at one time. Artist tape should do the same thing, this is just a bit more permament. As it is only going on the frame, using mieral spirts to get it off has no effect on your art.

Thanks Mike. From the description that's what I figured, but for me it is best to have the info confirmed by someone that saw the product.

Peggy

Artistammy
06-19-2010, 10:39 PM
I used Artist's tape for awhile to attach my painting to the mat. After a couple of years it didn't hold the painting anymore & it slid down under the mat at the bottom. It's difficult to know what to use. Since then, I've been using the little double sticky squares that are for photos & scrapbooking. What do you think of those? They do seem to hold longer.

PeggyB
06-20-2010, 01:03 PM
I'm not sure what those "double sticky squares" may be, but if the adhesive in them is acid free then they are probably ok. Do they stick to the artwork or just your backing? Why they are better at staying in place than artists tape I don't know. I do know that if you were to use Framer's Tape II you'd have a secure attachment. Artist's tape wasn't really meant to be used as a framing material.

There is another product some people use. They are framing corners and are 100% archival. Unfortuantely, at this moment I don't remember where I bought them! I'll see if I can find that source and let you know.

Peggy

Colorix
06-20-2010, 02:48 PM
Photographers are as acidfree-obsessed as pastellists, so often photo-corners can be a good idea. As always, check, ask, read that itty-bitty print on the package.

Charlie