Advice on mounting
I've been asked to advise on framing prints, so I've put together this little guide.
What standard has my print been produced to?
Every step of the process of producing your print is done with conservation in mind, from using fine art photographic paper, to printing using giclee fine art standards, to the packaging. The pen or pencil used to sign and number your print will be acid free, and the print will be stored away from direct heat or sun.
Does my print come mounted?
If you've seen me at a craft market, you may have seen my prints presented with a mount.
When I sell online, prints are delivered rolled in a tri-tube, therefore not sold with a mount included. When it comes to framing prints bought online, I highly recommend opting for a mount that is at minimum acid free, but preferably conservation or museum quality to ensure that the print lasts a lifetime.
I would definitely recommend using a mount. It adds a layer of protection to the print as well as giving the print some 'breathing room' between the print and the frame. It will simply look its best with a mount around it.
What should I pay attention to when framing my print?
There are three main things to look at.
Is the glazing glass or plexiglass?
Is the mount acid free, and does it come with a backing card (made from the same material as the mount)?
Does the design of the frame work with the colour palette of the photograph?
Glass has long been the industry standard in glazing artworks. When glazing with glass, opt for UV filtering coatings. However, UV filtering options are also available for plexiglass. Add this to the fact that plexiglass is lighter in weight, shatter-resistant, and often cheaper. Considering this, plexiglass would appear to be a great option.
That said, plexiglass is a polymer, so it requires oil in its production. The jury is still out on how much this impacts its conservation qualities, but the general consensus is that it's unlikely that plexiglass will reduce the lifespan of a print below the expected 80+ years of a fine art print.
Can my print be displayed anywhere?
Yes it can, if displayed under normal lighting conditions and the normal precautions are taken. Any pigment or dye, whether it be in an original painting, fine art print, photo print, paint, fabric etc. will fade more quickly if exposed to direct UV radiation i.e. sunlight. For this reason, I recommend choosing a place out of direct sunlight in order to ensure your print doesn't fade.
What inks have been used to produce the print?
The professional LUCIA pigment inks I use offer accurate colour reproduction and enhanced print longevity. This significant longevity is possible because pigment-based inks, which are made from finely ground powders suspended in liquid, are not water soluble, dry quicker, and bind with the paper fibre to make them more resistant to fading and UV damage. They have a greater scratch resistance and colour stability, making them ideal for archival printing and preservation.
Can you recommend any affordable custom frames?
eFrame is commended by the Fine Art Trade Guild for their conservation quality across all products, so you can order with absolute confidence.
Picture Frames Express is a little more expensive in my experience, and they do not offer the same assurance with regard to conservation quality as they offer cheaper products as well as conservation products. If ordering from Picture Frames Express then ensure you select a conservation quality mount, and add on the option of a backing card.
Both companies use conservation quality plexiglass that offers UV protection 7x that of museum standard glass, and both have outstanding customer service in my experience.
Can I use a ready-made frame?
If the frame is cheap and doesn't mention archival standards, then approach with caution. If possible, ensure that the mount is (at minimum) acid free, but ideally conservation quality. Make sure that the glazing, whether glass or plexiglass, is UV filtering.
The drawback of ready-made frames is also that you have less choice of mount sizes and frame finishes.
Advice for those who have bought a print from me at a market:
The prints I sell at craft markets are mounted to 12" x 15" for small prints, and 16" x 20" or 16" x 22" for large prints, depending on the aspect ratio of the print.
In terms of ready-made frames, you should be able to find 12" x 15" frames by searching on Amazon. 16" x 20" frames are easy to come by, too. 16" x 22" are slightly less common (but still available), so you may be best off with a custom frame for this size.
Advice for those who have bought a print from me online:
See the table below for recommendations on mount and frame sizes.
* For custom frames, they will ask for the dimensions of the image. Be aware that if using online framers such as eFrame or Picture Framers Express (PFE), they automatically deduct a few millimetres from these measurements, which blocks off the edge of your print. I always counteract this by adding 8mm for PFE and 10mm for eFrame to the height and width of the mount opening.
** This ready-made size is best fit for the printed area, but will obscure the limited edition number and signature.
For me, the uncertainty of archival standards in ready-made frames means I cannot recommend ready-made frames. For the sake of £10-£20 more you get guaranteed conservation standards, and the convenience of a custom size frame with a finish of your own design. In my view, that makes custom frames by far the better option.