Frequently Asked Questions
Caring for your professionally framed artwork is important to preserve the long lasting enjoyment and security of your piece. For your convenience here are a few steps to consider when installing your artwork.
Avoid placing artworks above radiators or in view of full harsh sunlight. Extreme and rapid changes in temperature can cause paper and wood to warp and dry out, where as the solar UV rays can damage and fade artwork over time, weakening the paper and causing discolouration.
Avoid hanging pictures in damp conditions, as this encourages fungal growth and is likely to stain the frame. Damp and humidity can fade watercolours and also cause the artwork to ripple and touch the glass, which may stick and damage the artwork.
We at studio 281 strongly discourage the use of household cleaners and water be used on the frames or varnished surfaces of oil paintings. Frames can be damaged by one puff from an aerosol, stained easily by chemicals and also have the paint stripped from some mouldings.
Artworks and frames should only be cleaned with a duster, if cleaning fluid must be used, avoid contact with the frame, only on the glass.
Inspect your artworks once a year, the varnish on oil paintings should be replaced as it dirties, paintings in smoky or polluted conditions will dirty the most quickly. Where as framed artworks should be inspected for any evidence of discolouration, warping of the paper or any dots appearing. It is also a good idea to regularly replace the cord or wire from which pictures hang.
Taking proper care of picture frames is a vital part of prolonging their lifespan and keeping them in good condition. Common methods of care include dusting, cleaning out crevices and periodically wiping off grime. Properly employing these techniques should help most people preserve antique picture frames for years to come.
Dusting off antique picture frames is one of the easiest and best ways to keep them in optimal condition. Typically the best way to dust is to use a soft, dry cloth to thoroughly wipe down all four sides of the frame. This process should be completed approximately once every two weeks or so because dust tends to build up rather quickly.
Cleaning out crevices and other hard to reach places on antique picture frames is another good way to preserve them. This is overlooked, but it is still an important aspect of keeping frames in good condition. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use a small, dry toothbrush to carefully remove any gunk that has accumulated. If the frame has extremely small crevices, then using a toothpick can help to reach those areas. This process only really needs to be done about once every six months or so because it takes a while for gunk to build up.
Artwork Storage and transportation
Canvases should be rolled face inwards where as artwork on paper that hasn’t been framed or protected by glass should be kept flat between two pieces of quality mount board or ph neutral paper, this paper or board should be larger than the artwork. Original artwork should not be stored in piles, as the weight will flatten the pigments. And never stored face to face as this will bind the artwork together.
Framed artwork should be protected by cardboard or polystyrene corners, and then loosely wrapped with clingwrap. Elaborate mouldings, e.g. those with plaster ornament, should have protective wrapping. Frames preferably should be racked with divided supporting walls, but if you are going to stack items, be sure to stack the glass face to face, there should be no danger of scratching or denting from the hanging fittings on other stacked pictures.
Picture frames must be stored the right way up as hinged artwork if stored sideways, the fixings can weaken and the artwork can slip within the frame.
Never pick up frames by one side, grasp them firmly by two sides to prevent cracking the frame.
Prevent from storing artwork on concrete floors as condensation can rise up through the concrete and be absorbed by the frame and artwork.
Know Your Artwork Before Framing.
Your artworks permanence is also affected by the original material is was worked onto or printed onto. Different paper stocks, canvases and mediums will affect the longevity of your artwork.
Canvases and oils
Oil paintings are the least effected over time, with an oil painting taking around 40 years to dry thoroughly, an oil painting should be allowed a few months to harden before varnishing. The varnishing provides a protective film, as this dirties the dust can be easily removed, with more varnish being removed or added as needed. Note that an oil panting once hardened is harder to stretch as it can crack, but for the first 40 years of its life, it is malleable and as the canvas stretches the pain moves with it.
Open Edition prints - generally mass produced prints
Limited edition - limited run, fine art stock prints
Original Artist prints - one off prints in which the artist played a key role in the printing process for example, silk-screens or lithographs.
To inquire about the longevity of your prints, speak to your printer about the blue wool fading scale of your artworks. If the inks are not lightfast to the blue wool scale of 6, then they are likely to fail over time. Typically the yellows fade first, which also diminishes the greens, leaving the print looking predominantly blue. The Blue Wool Scale measures and calibrates the permanence of colouring dyes and their lightfastness of ink colourants. For high quality and archival prints, speak to your printer for various finishes and archival stocks.
Pencil sketches are affected by changes in temperature, daylight and pollutants in the atmosphere therefore it is necessary to glaze and seal pencil sketches. The paper stock can become brittle and fragile if not protected by a UV glazing or if the original paper stock does not meet up to archival standards.
Pastels and Chalks
These artworks are migrant (not fixed to the paper) it is NOT up to the framer to use an aerosol fixative, as this flattens the pigments and alters the appearance of the picture. A 55mm spacer or mattboard must be used to prevent the artwork from touching the glass.
Embroideries and tapestries
The artwork must be wrapped around an archival mattboard and backing board, the embroidery is then fixed into place at a tort, even and precise tension. Cross-stitching in precise detail requires a little more effort, and with a stronger attention to detail than other framers, we can produce stunning results. We do not use self-adhesives for this process, and only use archival materials, which will take care of your creations.
These often need damping and flattening prior to framing as they become out of square during sewing. Tapestries should be sewn over their support or possible glued around the edge using water-soluble adhesive. Usually sewn in wool onto a canvas mesh.
"There are no rules in art, we assess every single piece that comes in and base our suggestion on several factors, all of our trained consultants are happy to explain these to you."
Q) what is Bottom weighting and why is it used?
A) sometimes framers have an increased width on the bottom of the mat it can be called “bottom heavy” it was used traditionally to account for the perspective gained when looking up at an artwork, or in prints and posters to accommodate the title, signature and edition numbers.
Q) what is stretching, gallery wrap, canvas stretch, stretcher bar
A) when we wrap a canvas over a support (stretcher bar)
Q) what is block mounting?
A) Cutting MDF board to size, gluing a poster down and painting the edges black with string stapled to the back. We do not do block mounting, MDF is a carcinogen and has been proven to cause cancer. It is the cheapest ‘framing’ method and it looks cheap too. For the same price as block mounting we can offer a healthier alternative: wood frame, glass and backing.
Q) why is framing expensive?
A) There are cheap and expensive raw material options, but you’ll always get a personalised service which is value for money.
Q) what is the expected turnaround time?
A) Factors include season (Christmas is always busy), availability of materials and the complexity of your order. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks.
Q) define archival
A) In this context archival means long-term survival of your artwork. Archival materials are pH neutral and acid free.
There are two main types of mat material: acidic, and "acid-free" (neutral pH). Older mats (wood based paper) are typically acidic, because acid-free paper was not widely available or marketed until recent years. While most newer mats are acid-free, there are some papers that contain acid and one should ask the picture framer about the acid content of the mats if the desired life of the piece being framed is more than 75–100 years.
The difference is important for the long term protection of the piece because acidic mats can cause what is called mat burn, brown marks that creep in from the outside onto the displayed piece itself. While mat burn is sometimes reversible through cleaning the piece, cleaning may not be feasible if the piece was executed in water-soluble inks or paints, such as watercolour. Thus, it is important to know if the mats used are acid-free if the piece is to be preserved for a long time.
Q) how do you guys know so much about art and framing
A) Because we have a genuine interest in the industries and have sought training from renowned experts across the globe.
Q) why does your opposition come and spy on your ideas?
A) It brings us joy to see our competitors following our trends, we work hard and tune our talents to set the best standards and satisfy our customers.