What Is Conservation Framing?


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At Baldwin Hill Art & Framing we practice conservation framing. The idea behind conservation framing is to preserve the value and integrity of the items being framed. As a Certified Picture Framer, proprietor Jim Paradis has studied and been certified in conservation framing techniques by the Professional Picture Framers of America.

As in medicine, the guiding principle behind conservation framing is to do no harm. We want to make sure that whatever we do makes no permanent, irreversible changes to the artwork. Here are some of the things we do to make sure your art lasts for years to come:

  • We use only conservation-grade acid-free mats and backer boards. If non-acid-free materials are used then over time they can cause “acid burn”, discoloring the artwork and shortening its life.
  • We use minimally-invasive, reversible mounting methods. Most of the time this involves hinge-mounting the artwork to the backer board with acid-free paper tape and a water-soluble adhesive. In other cases mechanical supports are used (such as mylar photo corners) that do not adhere to the artwork at all.
  • For especially delicate or valuable paper art, we may employ Mylar encapsulation, where a sheet of archival-grade Mylar is laid over the image and secured on all four sides. Only the Mylar touches the actual artwork. The material we use is approved by the Library of Congress for direct contact with the work.
  • We ensure that artwork never comes in direct contact with glass. Condensation can form on the inside of the glass surface, and artwork in contact with this can be damaged. In extreme cases the artwork can actually stick to the glass, making un-framing all but impossible. In some cases direct contact with acrylic glazing is acceptable, but we do this only in rare cases.
  • Needlework is either laced around or stitched to a backer board with compatible thread and a ball-end needle. This ensures that no fibers are severed and the stitching can be removed at a later date with no damage to the item.
This etching shows acid burn caused by a non-archival mat

This etching shows acid burn caused by a non-archival mat

When you bring your valuable artwork to Baldwin Hill Art & Framing you can be assured that it will receive the best possible treatment and that it will last for many years to come!

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