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Thread: Wavy painting on rice paper

  1. #1
    CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
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    Default Wavy painting on rice paper

    Is there any safe way to flatten this type of art? I recently framed two paintings from China on what I assume is thin rice paper. The art was loosely rolled and rippled when they brougt it in. The customers insisted to have the art to to float between two pieces of glass. I discouraged this method, but I gave in to floating it between two pieces of acrylic due to the reduced chance of the art sticking to the glass.

    I mounted the art to the acrylic with two dots of rice starch paste along with the byproduct of static from the acrylic. When they picked up the paintings, they were relativley flat. A week later they came back with the art and were unhappy with the ripples in the art. The static charge had weakened. I told them that is the nature of the paper to do this due to environment and paint on such thin paper. I guess I'm a victim of the static making the mount look flat when they picked up the art. However, they are so particular that they would not have accepted it without the benefit of the static. I told them that I will not mount the art with anymore adhisive than I used origianlly.

    So, does anyone have suggestions of how to get this paper flat?

    Thanks, Ron
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  • #2
    MGF Master Grumble Framer 05's Avatar
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    Search 'humidity chamber', then look for the thread called 'papyrus' for an explanation of standard humidification and flattening technique.
    There is never any guarantee that paper will stay flat, of course. If you tape the edges of the mat package (from the front of the glazing to the back of the backing board), a seal is created that HELPS to stabilize the RH; sudden temperature changes (like direct sun) can wreak havoc with it ; paper conservators debate the merits and demerits of this seal.
    We use 3M 850 tape, available at an unbelievable price, for this purpose only.

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    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God
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    Size?

    Type of paint?

    What is the value? That's a trick question...Is the value monetary, sentimental, historic, or non-existent?

    How badly rippled? Did the ripples get worse, or are they just more noticeable since the static has disippated and loosened the mount?

    Photos would help.

    It may be unreasonable for the customer to expect you to make the art paper perfectly flat without damaging it, since most painted paper art is, by nature, not flat.

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    Jim,
    The paper size is 8x14.

    The paint looks like watercolor and perhaps ink for the black chinese text.

    The art is sentimental. Common tourist art.

    The condition is good. The ripples are more noticable with the lack of static It looks like dozens of other paintings from Asia of this type that I have framed over the years. However, these clients are extremely particular.

    This is the first time I have mounted this type of art sanwiched between two pieces of acrylic.

  • #5
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer Rebecca's Avatar
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    To flatten you could very lightly humidify and stretch dry by using strips of Rising 8-ply (most rigid of the 8-plys I know) lain over the edges by 1/8" or so and weighted. Or it may flatten out by itself once released of the partial/uneven restraint of the acrylic and allowed to adjust back to its "happy place".

    If, when it is flattened/relaxed it can be smooshed flat without creasing, you might consider sandwiching between very thick plexi, which would give even overall support and sealing edges as Sam suggested. I had occasion to use 5/8" plexi lately, for a large pressure mount for which I did not want any bowing. Heavy but worked a charm. I am sure that plexi that thick would not bow, especially for the size you are speaking of, and so there would not be much chance of rippling regardless of later T or RH changes.
    "Things are just right once you realize they're never going to be just right." www.fineartconserve.com

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    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Rick Granick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca View Post
    I had occasion to use 5/8" plexi lately, for a large pressure mount for which I did not want any bowing. Heavy but worked a charm. I am sure that plexi that thick would not bow, especially for the size you are speaking of, and so there would not be much chance of rippling regardless of later T or RH changes.
    I bet the customer's mouth will "bow" in a downward position when presented with the cost for sourcing and using 5/8" plexi and the deeper frame and methods needed to keep it all together, relative to the value of "tourist" art.
    They may have to choose between relative flatness, and abandoning their desire for see-thru borders.
    Rick

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    Default Wavy painting on rice paper.

    Without seeing the art- I'll still take a stab at the problem.

    Generally this art has large areas of ink and larger areas of no ink. The ink swells or puckers the paper depending on the phase of the moon.

    If you lay the art down on a thick piece of glass and put yet another thick piece of glass on top of it, you can show the customer that there is no amount of pressure that wil make it lay visually flat.

    Remind them that you are a framer, not a magician (Thanks Vivian).

    Fixing this is very problematic as changes in humidity will affect the different areas differently. Loose/loose.

    You can tape seal the glass-art-backing package like was mentioned above and that will help but it's still gonna look wavy.

    You could humidify like was mentioned above to relax the wavyness - test with the two pieces of glass to see if it worked - then drymount the sucker. The risk is pretty great and the purists amongst us are twitching a lot right now. Make it your customers call.
    Greg Fremstad
    Frame Tek, Inc.
    In Oregon it's "Damp if you do, damp if you don't".
    1-800-227-9934
    WWW.FrameTek.com [email]gregf@frametek.com

  • #8
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer Rebecca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Granick View Post
    I bet the customer's mouth will "bow" in a downward position when presented with the cost for sourcing and using 5/8" plexi and the deeper frame and methods needed to keep it all together, relative to the value of "tourist" art.
    Rick
    Hahahah! I have some offcuts I could sell you for cheap

    Greg, I am a changed woman lol. I came to the grumble all conservatory and idealistic, now I see there are many gradations though I don't always agree with how the framer or owner decides where the measure lies. I do agree with your reasoning about why the wavyness is happening.
    "Things are just right once you realize they're never going to be just right." www.fineartconserve.com

    Help save wildlife and their remaining habitat: donate what you can to the national wildlife federation http://www.nwf.org/

  • #9
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Rick Granick's Avatar
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    Rebecca, I thinks it's just that by the time folks come to someone like you, they probably need the "conservatory and idealistic" measures. We in the "down and dirty" retail end of things see a much broader range of needs. Sometimes we send them along to you, but sometimes we have to believe them when they say that all they want is a way to get it on the wall. We usually try to sway them towards your end of the spectrum. It's when their expectations exceed the realities of the situation that we have to start quoting Vivian.
    Rick

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    CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level II wendy lang's Avatar
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    I had a customer threaten me with a lawsuit over this same issue. They had had their piece conserved when they brought it to me, but over the two weeks we held it before getting to the framing of it, because it was in our usual "que" of framing, it started to buckle. I spoke to their conservator. He said "Old, buckled paper 'remembers' it's previous state" and he could do no more to help it.

    People just gotta realize that "perfection" isn't always possible, no matter how much they wish--or pay!--for it!

    Wendy
    The Art Corner
    Salem, MA

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