Why Mount Artwork , visualmusic Fine Art Guild Member

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What is the mount for is one of the questions I am often asked by Clients & will attempt to explain here, We have all seen pictures with water staining  & the discolouration that results, most of these pictures have not been mounted & come in direct contact with the glass in the frame, encouraging small quantities of trapped moisture to stay on the picture instead of evaporating as it would if the image had been mounted causing less damage if there is a small breathing space between the glass & the image,

The main idea of a mount in my opinion is to keep a distance between the artwork & the glass in the frame to create a "breathing space" as well as to enhance & often lend perspective to the appearance of the piece involved, Not to extract unnecesary cash as many people seem to think,

There are other methods of spacing the image away without mounts but these alternatives are often more expensive & time consuming,  Wooden slips have often been used but are not acid free & dyes from it may run onto the art work over time or cause discolouration.  The best solution I have found where no mount has been used & a virtually invisible solution  is required is to use a specialist acid free clear plastic self adhesive system which is permenantly fixed to the glass giving not only exta breathing space But also gives a more 3d effect to the frame giving  great modern  look on many prints & fabric items

Beware the really cheap picture framer, They may not have the Expertise to do the job properly & the possibility that they may irreparably damage your precious artwork or be cutting corners with poor quality materials is a very real possibility, Think Is it worth the risk,

Most of us will always do the best we can to advise on the best way to frame a picture or item within the customers budget & there are 5 different guild levels of framing from minimum to museum, the first is to provide a cheap temporary very basic frame from the cheapest available materials & the last to provide the greatest protective levels to valuable items, I will write more on this aspect in a later guide.

Please check on the type of mount card Your framer is using as there are many different grades of Mountcard available & it can be difficult to ensure the Quality of the card used, does your framers colour chart or sample chevrons have the manufacturers name on the back with the card specifications? The main categories of mount cards are below,

1) Standard, usually with a ph neutral buffer layer, & a cream core available in many colours, suitable for low value prints & posters, most of the metalic, fabric, suedette, pearlescent & colour core cards are in this category,  If you must use one of these cards on anything of value use it as the top part of a double mount so that it does not come into contact with the artwork as there can be a risk of colour run onto the atwork if it is hung in poor or damp conditions.         

2) White core usually made from mostly lignin free fibres but also has a wide range of colours for where a higher grade is required usually offering slightly more protection & a brighter cleaner finish due to the white core.

3) conservation board, not so many colours in this category but offering greater protection for your art work suitable for most prints.

4) museum board giving the highest protection levels to valuable works of art.very little shade choice, usually made from cotton fibres

 I personally only use high quality card with acid free buffers or conservation/museum card depending on the value & age of the art work I am framing, & I always use acid free tapes for attaching artwork to barrier card & hinge mounting, it costs a few pence more but i think it is worth the effort to do the job properly, I can quite honestly say that i have never used masking tape to mount a print as I frequently see when i am repairing/restoring frames or reframing artwork.

 Over the years My Clients have brought me some real horrors to fix, Things like selotape or on one occasion superglue to fix a  limited edition print directly onto the mount causing discolouration & damageto the image ,  or gaffa taped onto the back board with no barrier card,Canvases overstretched causing cracking or unevenly stretched causing bagging & or warping of the image But thats another story) Most of these problems can be sorted out with a little careful thought, & patience.


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