What say you?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Aug 7, 2005
Nanticoke, PA
WOLFrames Picture Framing
I was reading my Saturday paper and came across something to ask here. They have a regular feature about art and antiques by a person who is sort of a one person Antiques Roadshow.

This article was entitled 'Don't take protection of art for granted'. The majority of the article talks about using 'archival, chemically inert, acid-free materials'. (she mentions looking at the pictures in your house to see if the bevel on the mats are brown) But then there are two other things she mentions.

One is that 'you don't want to frame your art under glass with an engraved name plate, as the metal will deteriorate over time and give off gas at a different rate than the artwork and the mat'.

The other is...'Another pitfall of custom framing is the ever-popular framing of textiles in order to "preserve" them. I advise people never to frame a textile. Never!' She continues...'Never place your great grandmother's embroidered sampler, your autographed Eagles football jersey or your red ribbon from the annual 5K Turkey Trot behind sealed glass because those items will deteriorate more quickly in such an environment. Some custom framers will tell you you are protecting the piece from dust and keeping it in good condition. In fact, you are traping both moisture and dirt beneath that glass. Museum curators like me will tell you to remember that textiles need to breathe, so even if they are housed within a frame, remember to lose the glass.'

So, what say you about these two things? Are they true?
I'll let the metal experts chime in on the metal theory but I’m skeptical.

I'll let the textile experts chime in on the dirt/humidity problem with framing textiles.

However I agree with her for a different reason. I think the light that touches textiles does damage them. That's true for just about anything we frame. I can't think of a single item that is best "preserved" in a frame. Not even one comes to mind!

That is why I'm slow to jump on the C/P discussions. I don't agree with the whole notion that items hanging on a wall, framed to strict C/P standards, is some how better off than no standards when the only difference is the RATE at which these items are being destroyed.

Yes I do share this with customers also! If we have an item that is so precious and sensitive that aging metal and minute amounts of moisture will destroy them, then without a doubt they don’t belong in any frame because the light will do 10 times more damage than those other factors.

Carry on.

Before I’m asked, I have no proof that the light is actually 10 times more damaging.
You're not far out actually Jay, it's 9.4563 times!

I agree - if preservation is the aim then you don't need a frame ....

Gawd, I'm a poet!

You need a box, lined with alpharag artcare, in a vacuum.

But if presentation is your aim and preservation is an issue...............
All framing is a compromise.

If great grandma's sampler isn't framed behind glass, it's not going to be stored in an archival box in a climate controlled vault. It's going to be in a cardboard box in the attic.
Originally posted by Jay H:
...I think the light that touches textiles does damage them. That's true for just about anything we frame. I can't think of a single item that is best "preserved" in a frame...
You are surely correct about light, Jay. The Big Question is, what is the real-world alternative to protective framing?

Different materials have different requirements, but textiles are the context of this thread, so let's consider that kind of item. I

If you are talking about a properly-constructed "archival enclosure", tightly sealed, made of pH neutral materials, with provisions to protect the item from mechanical stress, from dirt & insects, from temperature & humidity changes, and of course from light, then yes, you are correct. Storage is better for its longevity than framing would be.

On the other hand, light certainly is not the only hazard to consider. The truth is that most consumers have no idea how to properly handle, package, and store a textile of value. Improper handling, packaging and storage are potentially more harmful than a protective frame would be, properly hung in a limited-light, climate-controlled living area.

Typical storage is at best not protective, and at worst damaging. Storage in a plastic bag, shoebox or corrugated cardboard box under the bed, or in the basement or barn -- or worst of all, in the attic -- with little or no seal, seldom thought about (let alone dug out and inspected periodically), subjected to radical changes of temperature and humidity, and perhaps invaded by insects, is destructive, not protective. In that case, a properly constructed frame, hung in a proper place, would provide much better protection.

In my limited experience, valuable textiles get folded (sharply creased) and stored in a paperboard box or plastic bag. Often that's how they come into the shop for framing. Sometimes there is insect damage, cat-claw damage, dog-chewing damage, dirt, or other deterioration from simple neglect -- most of which could have been easily avoided if only the owner had given it some thought.

We are in the framing business, so it makes sense for us to promote the framing that best suits the purpose for a customer who brings us a textile to frame. My premise is that if the customer didn't care about displaying it, she would have left it under the bed. She would not have brought it into my frame shop.

I probably would not tell her to leave it in the shoebox. Instead, I would explain the benefits of protective framing, and describe how it should be hung in an area of limited light and inspected periodically.

In my world, if the customer decides to display a textile, then one of two things will probably happen: It will be properly framed by a framer who knows how to do it, or it will be framed badly by a framer who knows less, or cares less.

And after this lengthy missive, I see Ron said the same thing in three short sentences. :rolleyes:
Originally posted by Jim Miller:
And after this lengthy missive, I see Ron said the same thing in three short sentences. :rolleyes:
Reminds me of a quote - don't remember who by -
"I did not have the time to make this letter shorter!"
Don't give it another thought, Jim. There was a pizza waiting, so I was highly motivated in the direction of brevity.

Don't expect it to be a regular occurrence.
Here's more advice from the author of that column:

Framers who offer archival framing services will only use linen tape, for example, to secure the work of art to the mat so it does not shift in the frame.
(If you can't find at least TWO big problems with that statement, go directly to jail and do NOT collect $200.)
The minute after something is made, it starts to deteriorate. It's called entropy. Maybe this person is a little touchy on the subject because she said she has seen art and items seriously devalued by bad framing jobs. But still, some of the things she said didn't quite make sense to me, which is why I made this post. I work on reading and learning about things, but I'm not a credentialed 'expert'.

She states that she is a certified appraiser, has a PhD in art history, and is a curator at a museum. But she states on her website that the proper way to mount a valuable work of art on paper is with linen tape. No mention of japanese paper hinges. (I see while I was writing this that Ron must have found her website)

I'm just trying to figure out what to say to a customer who read this article and wants me to take the glass out of their framed jersey or whatever that I framed for them.
She states that she is a certified appraiser, has a PhD in art history, and is a curator at a museum.
When I was growing up in the backwaters of California... in a town of 3,000 . . . . 9,500 if you count the dogs, cats, horses, and cows... so you can see where I'm going with this....

We had us a museum.

We even had us a Cure-a-tor. Cuz she was the only person stupid enought to raise her hand and say "I don't have a real life and would be more than happy to sit in a 800 square foot museum 7 miles out of town that NOBODY knows about."

Even us kids weren't stupid enough to go near that woman who would talk to ground hogs if they would stay there and listen.

And those were her qualifications for the job. Oh, and title.

Now about that "Piled Higher and Deeper".... :D Linen tape? :eek:
do us all a great service--sit down and compose a good point by point rebutt to this....just the comments here are a GREAT start...send it to 'the' editor AND to the section editori in which this appeared( at the VERY least send it as 'letter to the editor')...absolutely no rational reason for this type on misinfo to be loosed upon the unsuspecting/uninformed public
And I would resist any urge to post the writer's name or email address here.

I think there is some very small risk that somebody here may over-react.
Originally posted by HannaFate:
If you want to LOOK at and ENJOY them.... you have to accept that they will age.
Ditto. The whole "preservation" conversation just drives me insane. And I can really see how an engraved plate is going to make my great granddad's WWII uniform disintegrate by the year 2297. My great great great great great great great grandkids will be so pi$$ed that I didn't store it properly in that cardboard box in the attic. :rolleyes:
Funny you should mention that Mecianne. Saturday a young couple came in with two sets of ribbons, medals, and insignias from WWI that had been framed by their grandmother back in the 1960s.

They wanted to "just put the antiques all in one frame".

They had no idea who they had belong to nor cared....they were just "interesting antiques". Family heritage be dammed.
Let's be thankful for samll advances. That article got a bunch of stuff right. Considering that most newspaper and magazine framing advice suggests hot gluing Grandma's sampler to cardboard, this one sounds like a step in the right direction.

Okay - it's a small step. But I've been fighting that no-glass-on-textiles battle for a long time. Sometimes I win and sometimes the customer loses.

Long term display of textile will hasten its demise, since light (especially UV) will weaken
the fibers. Framing unique or high value textiles
is not a good idea; framing needle work projects, so that their creators can enjoy them is a good idea. Putting a textile in a frame without glazing or sealing, allows it to function as a
filter for grime, gaseous pollution, and cooking
vapors, and to serve as a diner for insects.

Well, I DID frame a llama fur quilt without glass, so people could pet it. The owners knew it would not last forever, and it wasn't like you can't get another one. They wanted to enjoy it until it wore out.
Originally posted by HannaFate:
They wanted to enjoy it until it wore out.
Yea, thats pretty well my take on marrage too.

Carry on. But don't tell Lexi.