Painters paint and photographers shoot.
But works of art aren’t fully complete until they’re framed.
An art form unto itself, custom framing is a complementary craft intended to enhance a work of art’s beauty, texture and presentation.
“Framing finishes the piece,” said Lexia Scott, restoration and framing expert for Worthington Galleries. “It’s an extension of the artwork.”
Whether you’re framing a child’s drawing, inexpensive print or a priceless original, it’s important to do it right.
A frame should not only enhance the art piece, but also preserve it over time.
Worthington Galleries offers more than 3,000 options for framing. Customers can choose from in-house samples or order from one of our many catalogs. Scott offers expert advice about appropriate frames for particular works of art, heirlooms or memorabilia.
“We can meet everyone’s budget with a frame that compliments their art,” Scott said.
It’s important to consider protection from dirt, moisture and ultraviolet rays when framing art. With a painting on canvas that is gallery wrapped – a process in which canvas is stretched over a wood frame – you should only need a frame with no matting or glass. The painting can be protected from UV light with a special varnish applied to the canvas.
It’s best to go with a mat and glass with documents or art printed or painted on paper. The mat prevents the glass from directly touching the art. Without it, the glass could stick to the piece and cause damage.
When selecting a mat, Scott said it’s best to go with conservation-grade matting. Cheaper mats can discolor the artwork and cause acid burn over time.
Glass offers the most reliable protection from UV rays, which can cause colors to fade. Even artificial light can cause colors to fade not only in artwork, but in your home’s furniture, drapes and carpet.
Picture-framing glass comes in varying grades according to the level of UV protection it offers. Basic glass protects your art from dust and scratches only. Conservation glass blocks 99 percent UV light while museum-grade glass offers anti-glare in addition to protection from 99 percent of UV light.
Acrylic – sometimes referred to as “Plexiglass” – can offer all the advantages of glass but without the weight. Like glass, acrylic offers varying degrees of UV light protection.
So, consider the value of the artwork in deciding whether it’s worthy of higher-grade conservation or museum glass.
The frame itself is a matter of personal taste. Just remember, improper framing can devalue a great work of art. Likewise, the right frame will enhance and preserve a cherished piece for generations to come.
The professionals at Worthington Galleries are available to answer your questions about custom framing. For our list of FAQ about framing, click here. Visit Worthington Galleries Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1181 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, Tenn.