Ask the expert: why do pictures have mounts?

Ask the expert: why do pictures have mounts?

Q. Why do pictures have mounts on them? I didn’t really want one on my photograph but the framer recommended it. I am a bit dubious it was just a sales technique! (Jenny, Bath)

A. Good framing should enhance your picture, drawing the eye to the image. The frame and mount, if used, should always be complementary to the image and not the main event. Using a mount certainly isn’t about you spending more money. That we can promise you.

When we advise using a mount there are many good reasons, the main ones being:

  • A well chosen mount will enhance your piece aesthetically by providing some “white space” around the picture before the eye reaches the frame.
  • Not just for aesthetics, mounts allow the piece to move, expand or contract depending on the temperature and humidity in the environment. Remember paper is essentially still a living product and will always want to move. Restricting that movement can result in irreparable damage.
  • Mounts prevent the piece from being in contact with the glass. This is essential for pastels, photographs, limited edition prints and anything of a delicate or valuable nature. Over time the piece can stick to the glass and be impossible to remove without damaging it.

In a future edition of FIZZ Uncorked we’ll write an article on mount sizes and colours – the do’s, don’t, pro’s and cons.

For advice on using the right mount, or anything framing, just ask the team.

Ask The Expert

Ask The Expert

Q. I want to buy some art for my new home but it’s not something I’ve done before and I don’t know where to start. (Helen, Wiltshire).

A. Purchasing art, much like jewellery, flowers or presents, can be fun, exciting and, more often than not, spontaneous. The best purchases are often made when you’re not trying to find something, but out of the blue, you stumble across the perfect piece that makes your heart sing.

The pleasure we get from having paintings in our homes often starts with the enjoyment of choosing them. You get to throw yourself into the creative world of not just art, but interior design, creativity and harmony. There are no rights and wrongs – then it’s all about your own personal taste. Some people buy a painting because they fall in love with it and others specifically look for something to fill a space on the wall.

For some the interior styling of the home is important when choosing art and for others, it isn’t – the purchase is made purely on a connection with the painting. Purchasing a piece of art is such a personal experience, it’s almost impossible to provide a set of do’s or don’ts, so our golden rule is… go with your heart and make sure you feel a connection with the art you buy.

Don’t try to like it – you either do or you don’t. If you need more than one piece don’t be tempted to buy them all at once. And definitely don’t be influenced by friends and family – this is your picture, your choice and only you will be living with it.

Do this and your pictures will give you years of enjoyment. Remember, if you love the picture but something is making you think twice about how it will fit into your home, a different frame can make a huge difference. A contemporary painting can look stunning in a traditional frame – if chosen carefully – and visa versa.

Placing Art Over a Fireplace – Ask the Expert

Placing Art Over a Fireplace – Ask the Expert

Q. I want to make a feature with a painting over the fireplace but I don’t know how to choose the right piece. What should I think about? (Melanie Ashwood, Bristol)

A. The most important thing to remember is that you should start with the artwork and work from there. Once you’ve found the perfect painting or print, pick your accent colours from it and then look to repeat these in your accessories and soft furnishings. Starting the other way around can result in too many compromises on the piece you select.

The following are three things to think about when selecting artworks for the space above your fireplace:

Fill the Space

One of the most common mistakes is choosing something too small. You’ll probably need a larger piece than you think.

The old-school rule of thumb is that the artwork (or mirror) should be around two thirds the width of the fire surround and mantel. But times are changing and breaking the rules can really add impact if done well. Like the example, create a fabulous focal point by filling the space almost to the ceiling.

Be Relaxed About It

As an alternative to hanging on the wall, placing a piece of art directly on the mantelpiece – like it’s a shelf – is a great way to create a more relaxed laid-back feeling.

In this example, the painting alone would not be enough for the space but accessories placed with the painting balance the piece and create a lovely contemporary feeling.

Go Bold

Painted feature walls are still very popular and can create fantastic focal points when it comes to fireplaces.

If you have a dark fireplace wall, go bold with complementary / similar dark colours in the artwork.

In the example, the serious dark blue is perfectly juxtaposed with the playful pink. Small pops of a bright colour repeated carefully can add sophistication and interest to a room.

Top Tip…

Don’t fall into the trap of lining up the artwork with the edge of the mantelpiece. Go for something that’s wider or narrower, otherwise everything is too symmetrical.

Ask the Expert: What Does Giclée Mean?

Ask the Expert: What Does Giclée Mean?

Q. I’ve seen the word Giclée used to describe limited edition prints. What does Giclée mean?

A. The word Giclée (pronounced “g-clay”) comes from the French verb meaning “to spray”. In the art world, Giclée is used to describe the fine art digital printing process where microscopic dots of ink are sprayed onto very high quality paper – often watercolour paper, and sometimes canvas.

Giclée print experts are highly skilled in their profession. It’s their job to make sure that the print represents the artist’s original work as closely as possible. Fine tuning the softness, richness, depth and sharpness of the print can take many hours to achieve the desired quality.

A Giclée print will undoubtedly cost more than a mass produced litho one but how can you be sure you are buying a true Giclée print? Well, firstly it may come with a certificate which states how the print was produced. If not, you should ask the gallery or artist to confirm the production method. There are three basic criteria that a Giclée print needs to meet:

  1. The scan of the original artwork must be no less than 300dpi (dots per inch)
  2. If the print is on paper, it must be of archivable quality, consisting of a 100% cotton or rag base and be acid free
  3. The inks used must be pigment and not dye based. Tip: look for ink names such as UltraChrome K3 by Epson, and LUCIA from Canon.

So now you are a Giclée expert! Apologies if the subject is a bit dry. It’s a tricky one of which to make light reading. But next time you visit a gallery and see a Giclée print – you’ll know what it is!

Ask The Expert – unusual framing

Ask The Expert – unusual framing

Q. What’s the most unusual or difficult thing you’ve been asked to frame?

A. That’s a great question. I’d say one of the most difficult was a set of 24 antique silver dessert spoons. The customer wanted to use 12 of them to create the effect of a clock with the other 12 placed head to toe in a square around the outside. We knew the customer well and he trusted us to make the design decisions – which is flattering but certainly adds pressure! The end result was fantastic and the customer was delighted.

Other items worthy of a mention are a stunning Grayson Perry tapestry (just wow!), a pair of Darcy Bussell’s signed ballet shoes and a 1950’s Morgan hubcap. Recently, we framed a set of WW2 medals alongside a love letter that was never sent – definitely a “tissues moment”– and last year we were asked to frame an Anna Marrow silk screen in a traditional gold ornate frame but then make up a Neon Pink lacquer paint finish for the frame. It was good fun and it looked really cool.

Whilst we love anything different and outrageous sometimes the greatest pleasure comes from seeing a simple photograph or print being completely transformed into something special, just by getting the framing spot on.

No matter what the item, if you need anything framing come and have a chat.

Our framing team have over 25 years of experience to share.

Ask The Expert – Foxing

Ask The Expert – Foxing

Q. I’ve got an old print that has been in my family for years but it’s got brownish spots all over it – I don’t know how they got there but someone told me they can be removed. Is this right? It’s really sentimental to me but not valuable.

A. The most likely cause of these marks is what is known as “foxing”. The causes of foxing are constantly under debate amongst experts. One theory is that foxing is caused by a fungal growth on the paper. Another theory is that it is caused by the effect of oxidation of iron, copper, or other substances in the pulp or rag from which the paper was made. It is possible that multiple factors are involved. High humidity or exposure to damp is also a key factor.

The good news is foxing can be treated with good results. The treatment Is very specialist, carried out by a paper conservator or restorer, and typically uses proprietary bleaching agents and diluted hydrogen peroxide. If I were to explain the entire process you would probably be asleep fairly soon – so I’ll spare you the detailed chemistry lesson. Let’s just say it certainly is not something to try at home!

If you are going to have it treated make sure you take it somewhere reputable. Check out the experience and credibility of the person who is going to carry out the treatment. If you want to understand the process, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As part of our conservation and restoration service we have treated many old prints, photograph, maps and other documents over the years – removing foxing and other forms of damage. Our conservator has nearly 50 years of experience in this profession and was trained by his father so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about paper and restoration.

Need advice on artwork repair or restoration – contact Andy or Sandy who will be more than happy to help info@fizzgallery.co.uk  /  01275 341141

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