“Are the frames around your pictures being kind to them or not?
If the framing wasn’t proper, it could damage them a lot.
It isn’t always obvious (at first it looks so good)
That the framer didn’t know or care to do the things he should.
“The laws of Nature rule the world, and art is not exempt.
Yes, Nature claims its own, and that’s a law we shouldn’t tempt,
Because when poor components follow Nature’s plan to perish,
They’ll likely take along with them the objects that you cherish.”
The preservation of a painting, photograph or letter begins when it’s being framed. That piece is important to you, and you want it to last, so it’s necessary for the framer to be aware of the perils that it faces.
The biggest threats are from heat, light and biodegradable materials within the framing. You’ll know best how to keep the piece away from heat, but our job is to protect it against all the rest before you take it home.
Ultra-violet rays that are present in sunshine and fluorescent light can fade ink, dyes and film emulsion. That fading can’t be undone, so we want to forestall it. Regular glass screens out about 45% of the UV (which is why it’s hard to get a tan through a window), but there’s still enough harm to be had from the other 55%. There are several kinds of protective glass that eliminate from 75 to 99% of the ultra-violet, and some of them are nearly non-reflective. We can show you what we mean.
Biodegrading is a fine thing in its place, but that place is not surrounding your artwork. The paper mats, which used to be nearly all you could get, have good, quality paper on both faces, but the interior of the boards are an unrefined pulp. Besides the unstable natural substances in the pulp, which turn brown, damage the paper and fade the ink, there are also chemicals like sulphur and chlorine left over from the bleaching and sizing process. Heat and humidity activate those chemicals and produce gasses containing very dilute sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, which, as you can imagine, is also bad.
The materials now available, which are all we use, have been purified and stabilized to maintain a benign pH balance, so your artwork will safely endure, and look good for years to come. Replacing destructive materials in existing framing may help to prevent further damage. (It’s also an opportunity to upgrade the aesthetics of the piece if you’d like to.)
Enough technical talk? Back to my poem:
“By now we know materials we use should all be made
To stay like new for many years, and not biodegrade.
With better glass and better mats and all that goes inside,
We’ll know for sure it’s not a place where little gremlins hide.
“For works of art you value most, it may not be too late
To check that all is well with them, but it’s not wise to wait.
For we can take a look, at little cost or none to you,
And if they need to be upgraded, we can help there, too.
“The price of prompt prevention may be less than cure or loss;
A timely intervention may be worth its modest cost.
So bring them soon, perhaps today; we’ll gladly do our part
To keep the march of time from leaving footprints on your art.”
We’ll do our very best to make your visit pleasant, productive and lastingly valuable.
We accept all major credit cards and are open:
Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 to 7:00, Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00 and Sunday from 1:30 to 6:00. We’re closed on Monday, and during the summer, we’re closed on Sunday as well.
We hope to see you soon. You’re always welcome.
Stephen deFluiter, owner, Jubilee Gallery