Examine your artworks and call us if you notice:
– Reddish-brown spots also known as “foxing”, caused by mold
– “mat-burn”, a darkening of the paper under the mat or at the bevel cut of the window mat, caused by bad quality or very old mat boards.
U.S. Library of Congress recommendations
Our Custom Framing department follows the matting and framing recommendations set by the United States Library of Congress.
Typically, damage to the works on paper occurs due to:
1. Changes in humidity and temperature– storing works on paper in basements, attics, or hanging them on the outside walls
2. Faulty framing: mat boards containing acid and lignin, use of adhesives, lack of spacers in between artwork and glass
3. Exposure to the light: sunlight or fluorescent light or any other intense light source
Mold: Mold can be active or inactive and can appear as a stain with spores, a cluster of discolored fuzzy filaments, powdery, or practically invisible unless examined in ultraviolet light. Damp or humid environments are susceptible to mold.
Foxing: Foxing appears as brown mold stains in bullseye or snowflake-like patterns. This can be caused by mold or metal in the paper, and will cause the area of staining to become weak and brittle.
Brittleness: The overall weakening of substrate or its support (mat, mounting) caused by an acidic material that results in snapping, cracking, or breaking.
Handling/Tears/Losses: Overall weakness caused by handling, which can lead to tearing. Oils in your hands can also leave grease and dirt residue.
Adhesive Damage: Adhesives such as tape, wax, and glue can leave stains that weaken paper and can be difficult to remove.
Folds, Wrinkles, and Creases: Often caused by improper handling, creases and folds can lead to tears.
Cockling and Buckling: These occur when humidity fluctuates or the support has been wet, and appear as ripple-like or concave/convex distortions.
Abrasions, Scratches: Rubbing, friction, and scraping due to improper handling can cause a loss in fibers of the paper, resulting in scratches and abrasions.
Light Damage: Discoloration, often a “yellowing” or “browning” of the paper, caused by exposure to U/V light, which can fade inks and colors. Materials made with wood-pulp will darken upon light exposure, which causes permanent stains. Light damage can also include a general fading of the tone of the artwork.
Surface Soiling: Staining due to substances such as dust, soot, and dirt.
Water Damage: Drying liquids will cause water stains and can either be subtle or dark, depending on the amount of liquid the paper has been exposed to.