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Mat loading

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Larry Peterson

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I wasn't going to be the first to ask, but I want to know as well.
 

Shayla

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Hi, RCA. Are you referring to this?

 

Larry Peterson

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I from his other postings that he has a Speed Mat. Perhaps this is relation to that.
 
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framah

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Nope. The Speed mat doesn't have anything like what was shown in the link.

It seems to be related to some sort of little thing that cuts silhouettes which means it is most likely related to that long, long, long, lonnnng ago craze of scrap booking.

I think the pattern is attached to a piece of mat board so it is thick enough that the cutter doesn't crinkle the paper you are trying to cut.

Up here, it better be capable of cutting silhouettes of ATV's and Snowmobiles.
 

artfolio

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Are we, perhaps, talking about weighting the bottom of matts?

That has been my standard operating method for my entire framing life unless a customer really objects to it.
 
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Mike Labbe

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A bug?
 

Shayla

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RCA, you've been here almost 6 years, and this is your 5th post. Are you the Yoda of the Grumble? :)
 

Larry Peterson

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RCA, you've been here almost 6 years, and this is your 5th post. Are you the Yoda of the Grumble? :)

This might be a hit and run. He (?) hasn't appeared back since he started this mess yesterday.
 

Shayla

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This might be a hit and run. He (?) hasn't appeared back since he started this mess yesterday.
I just looked him up, and evidence would suggest that he's a bit awesome. Plus, his other posts are very helpful. My hubby as been on FB for ten years and only made three status posts. Maybe this is his doppleganger. :beer:
 

RCA

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To clarify, I was curious about the history of cutting a mat with the bottom edge larger than the left, right, and top as a standard, thus changing the image center within the frame. I understood that this was called "mat loading" years ago.
 
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RCA

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Are we, perhaps, talking about weighting the bottom of matts?

That has been my standard operating method for my entire framing life unless a customer really objects to it.
Yes, artfolio, this is exactly what i was asking about... it seems to have been the standard historically. Just wondered about its origin...
 

Joe B

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I was really wondering what Mat Loading was.

Weighted bottoms - for this day and age some pieces I really like with the weighted bottom for others it looks totally ridiculous, but that is a really a matter of opinion.

I heard that the history of weighted bottoms was from long ago, centuries more than likely, in homes, castles, churches, city offices, & other buildings that art was hung high, way up high, and out of reach the weighted bottoms served a purpose. The weighted bottom was added so that it appeared, total optical illusion, the bottom was the same size as the sides and top. They wanted a balanced look at the time and being hung high that was the way they achieved it. I wasn't living way back then, close but not quite :rolleyes:, so if this is true or not, I am not positive but it does sound correct, but I wonder if they used Acid free Mats back then.
 

RCA

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I was really wondering what Mat Loading was.

Weighted bottoms - for this day and age some pieces I really like with the weighted bottom for others it looks totally ridiculous, but that is a really a matter of opinion.

I heard that the history of weighted bottoms was from long ago, centuries more than likely, in homes, castles, churches, city offices, & other buildings that art was hung high, way up high, and out of reach the weighted bottoms served a purpose. The weighted bottom was added so that it appeared, total optical illusion, the bottom was the same size as the sides and top. They wanted a balanced look at the time and being hung high that was the way they achieved it. I wasn't living way back then, close but not quite :rolleyes:, so if this is true or not, I am not positive but it does sound correct, but I wonder if they used Acid free Mats back then.
Thank you Joe B... that makes sense!
 

Prospero

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The idea is to make the image appear central. If you have equal borders if can appear that the image is
not central. Depends on a lot of factors - image content, border width, etc. It's a subconscious thing. An optical
illusion. I usually add about ¼". Of course some people overdo it which looks bad. Portrait format often needs a
bit more weighting - the taller and narrower the image the more weight at the bottom. In some extreme cases
weighting the bottom and top is called for, especially on oriental art. But the top is always less than the bottom.
As I say, it's a subconscious thing. All about perceived stability.

As an experiment, ask someone to draw you a triangle. They will 99.999% of the time draw it like this ^ never like this v. 😉
The v can tip over and gives you a feeling of insecurity. The ^ can't and makes you feel safe.
 
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RCA

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Thanks for all the responses. I am an artist (so they say) as well as a framer...The Maggie Gallery and Custom Frame Shop in Floyd, Va. is where I hang out....and I am currently trying to learn about the 14th century art using metal as the scribe...known as "silverpoint". I got to thinking (not always a good idea) about when framers started weighting the bottom of the mat and why ( I called it loading, not sure where that came from). Joe B's answer made sense and then I did recall that this was in fact the reason that weighting was used. I may have read it in PFM at some point. Not wanting to stay in front of a computer all the time I let my wife ask the question of grumble and then give me the answer (lazy I am, trying to stay away from a computer as much as possible). So thanks to all of you for kicking this around for me. I have many more questions now that I have about 7 years of framing under my belt so stand by.
 

Jim Miller

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Count me among the many experienced framers who have never before heard the term "mat loading". In my three decades as a framer, that has always been called a "weighted bottom margin".

As to its origin, Joe's explanation seems to be most popular and the most likely reason - it makes sense to me - but I have also heard that the practice is meant to visually balance the view of certain images, so it would depend on the art, as Prospero suggests.

Also, it is worth noting that the weight isn't always on the bottom margin. Some images visually benefit from weighting of the top or a side margin, perhaps when framing a dyptich or tryptich, or multiple images of different sizes and/or shapes within a frame.

Anyway, weighting mat margins remains a popular option and may be the standard practice of some framers, but in my perception, it is no longer considered an industry standard, now that framed art is often displayed at or below eye level, and not always higher on the wall.
 

RoboFramer

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You could say, that unless ALL mats are bottom-weighted they will be fractionally top-weighted because thay are not shoe-horned in to the frame. They have to have a small amount of play and that will be taken up at the bottom .... maybe one side as well! Soooooo ALL mats not bottom weighted are top and side weighted!!

It's never seemed to be an issue though - you'd only really notice on really skinny mats, which look carp anyway :)

.
 

wpfay

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Bottom Weighting is a newer term for me. I learned it as Optical Balance.
The reasoning, as I was told, or read, was akin to what Joe mentioned.
Frames were typically hung from picture mouldings, just below the crown moulding, with decorative wire-reinforced cords. The results were that the frames pitched away from the walls at a pretty severe angle and there was a foreshortening of the horizontal aspects of the matting (especially for piece hung above eye level), in particular on the bottom. By enlarging the bottom of the mat, the illusion was created that the pieces would appear to lay flatter against the wall. This all came about after the general acceptance of paper-borne art thus creating a need for ways to display it. Up to a point, the only art hung on the walls were either oil paintings or textile (tapestries). Watercolors were generally studies for oil paintings, and prints were mostly for recording and used as informational/educational pieces, normally published in bound volumes.
So an answer to your initial question is "very early on in the framing of paper-borne art".

Currently it doesn't seem to be as critical a thing except as John (Roboframer) mention in adjusting for a slightly loose fit and the effects of gravity.

I learned the concept from my printmaking professor when any and all prints submitted for a show, which was a requirement of the course, be matted in a neutral color (there were only a handful of options back then), with borders being 3" on top and sides, and 3.5" on the bottom.
 

Shayla

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And with a computerized mat cutter, making the bottom wider is easier. I sure do like that. :)
 
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artfolio

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Another reason for a weighted base is that if the matt is even all round some people (like me) instinctively run their eye around the margin with the question "is that even?" in mind. Depending on the angle of view it can appear uneven and becomes a distraction from the art. Weighting the base removes this.
 

Melinda Tennis

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I remember being told, many years ago, that your eyes see the image upside down and your brain turns the image right side up. Supposedly called paralax. If the bottom isn't weighted it will look narrower than the top.
 

Bob Carter

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okay, my remembrance of 'folk lore'
because in olden times walls were typically stone/rock. The only place to 'hang' art was wooden beams supporting the roof. So when hanging the bottom of the frame tilted toward wall. Bottom weighting offset that tilt
Hanging flat against surfaces like paneling or drywall negated that need, in my opinion
 
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