Home & Garden Magazine, Australia published these six tips for art collectors and home decorators in 2017, prepared by Acme Framing Director, Geoff Bracken. This is a great introduction to the special services offered by custom and conservation framers, and really useful introduction for those new to the process of designing and selecting a picture-frame design.
Think about the lifespan of your artwork
There are a range of different approaches to framing ranging from basic to full conservation which will determine how long your piece will stay looking great. The main distinguishing factors between the different ‘levels’ of framing are the materials and their effect on your artwork.
Conservation materials and methods are pH neutral, reversible, and moisture and UV resistant whilst ‘standard’ materials tend to be only temporarily safe for your artwork without fully protecting it from environmental factors.
So if you want your artwork to last make sure to ask your framer what type of materials they are using and how they will fare in the long-term.
Respect the artwork that you are framing
Whilst it’s important to tie your picture frame in with space where you intend to hang it you also want the image to be enhanced by the frame – not over or underwhelmed by it.
Good framing will draw the eye to a piece without distracting from it, often playing on the tones or textures within the image or speaking to the era that it represents.
It’s important to talk to your framer about why you are framing the piece and what impact you want it to have in the space so that they can help you to reach a balance between what the picture needs and what will suit your space.
Keep an open mind
A lot of our clients walk in to our design studio thinking that they know exactly what they want only to discover that it doesn’t actually work well with the image. There are unlimited possibilities for how any individual piece can be framed – from a simple timber frame to a custom combination of a dozen different mouldings.
Our happiest clients are usually those who surrender themselves to the design experience and allow our professional staff to guide them through the ins and outs of the process.
Play with juxtaposition to create more impact
We love pairing contemporary artwork with antique frames or vintage prints with super, sleek, shiny mouldings. Framing doesn’t always have to follow the rules. Sometimes the most effective look comes from left of field, with an unexpected combination of styles that work together to emphasise the uniqueness of your piece and add to its story.
Creating a dialogue between the frame and artwork is the ultimate goal – make sure they have something interesting to say to each other!
Know what type of glazing is most suitable for your artwork
Did you know that UV light will eventually affect artwork in even the dimmest room of your home? It is important to consider this when choosing your glazing. For most decorative or easily re-producible images, standard-glass is sufficient, but for artwork of value or with particularly fade-prone mediums such as watercolours or limited edition prints, you should consider upgrading to UV filtering conservation-grade glazing.
Other factors to consider when choosing glazing are their weight, clarity, anti-reflective properties and susceptibility to shattering. There are multitudes of glazing products ranging from standard glass and acrylic to museum-grade, invisible, 99% UV filtering glass.
Discuss glazing options with your framer to be sure that you are choosing the right product for your artwork and space.
Don’t forget to consider framing costs when purchasing artwork
It is not uncommon for first-time clients to be surprised by the cost of custom framing. We encourage you to research the potential costs of framing an image before deciding to purchase an artwork, especially when the piece is of some significant value. To frame something properly, in such a way that it is protected and preserved well in to the future often ends up being an investment in itself.
Once you begin your custom-framing journey though, you will likely discover that to receive a perfectly tailored, one-of-a-kind item, constructed using specialist tools and knowledge is worth budgeting for.