Mounting and Framing Your NeedleworkWritten by Katrina Renouf
To start with, I want to state that I am not a professional framer, and many of tips I am about to give are things I have learned from other people, and I have not necessarily had a chance to try them all myself.
Frames are extremely easy to find, and they can be very cheap as well. In my opinion, best places to find them are at yard sales. People are always trying to sell old pictures that they no longer like, and you don’t need to like them either, as long as frame is nice. Often you can get them for under a dollar! Thrift stores are another good place to look; I love going to dollar stores just to see what I can find. If you’re in a rush, you can always go to Wal-Mart of K-Mart and pick up something for a couple dollars too. It isn’t necessary to have glass in frame, but if you’re not going to use glass, make sure to Scotchguard your work to prevent staining.
The first step in framing is to decide whether you want to use either a padded or non-padded mounting board (I have heard that if you’re not using glass, a padded mounting board looks great). Then cut mounting board about 1.8 in. smaller than back inside measurements of frame. This gives you room to fold over fabric. Next you need to center your needlework. There are a few different ways to do this. One is to eye center and pin fabric to board, then count fabric threads between edge of design and pin you placed. This will make it very accurate, but some people would find it too time consuming. Another way to do it is to measure mounting board and stick a pin into very center; then put center of needlework on pin too.
There are two main ways to mount your needlework. The first one is easiest, but also has more of a chance of damaging your work over time. The other option takes more time, but is relatively risk free. To start with, I will explain easy way. It involves using a sticky mounting board. There is also a great trick to save you some money. You can use cardboard backing that came with your frame and just put some spray adhesive on it. There are two kinds of spray adhesive, repositionable and permanent, so be careful if you use permanent, because you can’t move it once it’s in place (hence name). Once it’s in place, remove excess fabric so it is only 1.5 in. over edges of board, and use masking tape to fold it over to back. This keeps fabric from fraying.
The Care and Conservation of Antique PrintsWritten by Neil Street
For many collectors of antique works on paper – specifically antique prints – care and preservation of their valuable collection is most vexing issue they face. It need not be. A little common sense, and sometimes a healthy dose of restraint, will go a long way toward making sure that your important, unique, and hard-won collection remains preserved for generations to come.
The production process used in making of your antique print does not alter in any significant way care that it needs. Whether it be a lithograph, copperplate engraving, mezzotint, or other process, basics of caring for print remain essentially same. Broadly speaking, there are four major aspects of good conservation that average collector should be aware of. These four key areas are: handling, repairs, framing, and storage. If you follow some simple rules in all these areas, your prized possessions should retain their good condition and value.
Handling damage is at top of list for a very good reason. In my opinion, as a dealer in antique prints, more problems are caused by careless handling than any other single problem. Great care must be exercised when handling an antique print, because paper itself is so fragile. You only need to accidentally tap edge of an antique print against a sharp corner, such as edge of a desk, to cause serious chipping. If print has little or no margin, an event like this can be catastrophic to image area. Pervasive as it is, handling damage is an aspect of conservation that can easily be solved by common sense. First, do not work with your prints unless you have time and space to do so. Handle them when things are quiet, not when your toddler needs attention. Second, make sure you have space to put them down safely, such as a large table. Third, wear thin cotton gloves, available from framing supply stores. And finally, nless you are dealing with large numbers of very inexpensive prints, it is always a good idea to have each one stored loosely (not “encapsulated”) in a mylar sleeve. Mylar is a crystal-clear, polyester film, and it is very easy to find on internet. Beware of imitations, and specify Mylar, because Mylar does not interact chemically with print.
At some point in time, almost all collectors of antique prints are tempted to “fix” a defect by themselves. My response is: don’t, don’t, and don’t. All of things that are commonly attempted on antique paper – removal of stains, wrinkles, and pencil marks, mending of a tear, filling of a hole, or, heaven forbid, “whitening” of a darkened piece of paper – all these actions have potential to cause irreversible damage, and to seriously reduce or eliminate value of a given piece. Professional conservators spend years learning how to perform these complex tasks correctly – and they will be first to tell you of perils they face with each job. Leave restoration to conservators.