I often visit friends, relatives and customers and see out of the corner of my eye un-mounted photographs laying on the sideboard or propped up against the kitchen cabinets.
And often they are very good shots.
What a shame that they are not presented more thoughtfully – making a memorable photograph a visual masterpiece which will be passed down the generations.
Framing and Mounting is a specialist but significant part of our business.
Mounting a Photograph or Watercolour
Many schools photographs come presented in cardboard mounts. These are the minimum in transforming a piece of paper into a memorable keepsake.
That photograph can then be put into a frame – with or without the mount and placed on the sideboard in the lounge – or hung on the wall.
In general a mount enhances the photo.
We stock a range of mount boards which can be cut using a special machine to fit around a photograph – or indeed a watercolour – to enhance its appearance. It is conventional to mount a watercolour in cream card, but we have a whole variety of colours, which can be selected to bring out a particular colour in the image or to match the décor of the hanging environment.
Framing the Photograph or Watercolour
A frame is cut to fit around the mount and either clear or non-reflective glass cut to size and the whole assembly fitted together and sealed.
We stock in excess of 50 frame moulding that we use to make frames. But we have access to over 2000 different mouldings, which come in all colours and textures.
An antique canvas must be treated quite separately from a black and white photo or a group photograph taken at an evening event.
Oil or Acrylic paintings which are canvas based require a quite different treatment.
The canvas must be ‘stretched’ before framing. This is done by cutting stretcher bars from mature wood. The stretchers must be of the right length to fit the canvas and follow the style of presentation required by the customer.
For example, it is a modern style to stretch the canvas such that the visible image continues around the edge of the canvas stretchers. These paintings do not require a frame; they are hung flat on the wall.
More conventionally the image covers only the front surface of the stretched canvas and the complete stretched assembly is framed using conventional framing techniques.
The canvas image is stretched over the assembled stretchers and then small wedges tapped into carefully cut slots at the rear of the frame to stretch the canvas a little further and tension it up.
Oil and acrylic paintings never have glass in front of the image! In a hot environment the paint will melt into the glass with disastrous results!
We are often asked to frame thin silk or cotton souvenirs brought back from Asian or African holidays.
Such fabrics are a challenge because of their fragility. Using stretchers is generally unwise as the force of stretching might rip the material – to the dismay of the customer. Best to stretch the fabric gently over a board or stretcher assembly using glue to keep the material in place.
We have been asked to frame all sorts of things from a military hat to porcelain fragments.
These items often require a Box Frame, one that contains a lot of space!
We insert small specialist mouldings – called slips – behind the glass and the backing board to give the framing depth. Thus objects of considerable size can be placed within the ‘box’.
Framing for Antiquity
The materials that we use for mounting and framing are selected to be acid and alkaline free and the glues we use are chemically stable. While we would not claim that our framing will last for centuries, it should be durable and avoid long term discolouration.