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Framing Works of Art on Paper: Why Use Mats?

1920s Collage

Works on paper are the most common popular form of art. These include: reproductions, limited edition prints, watercolours, pastels, acrylics and photographs. Works on paper require specific framing techniques to protect them from the environment and to ensure their longevity.  This article will focus on the purpose of matting and the different types of mats including: mat designs and mat cuts.

Why Use Mats?

Mats have three main purposes:

  1. To prevent the art from touching the frame’s glass. It is important to have an “air space” between the artwork and the glass, otherwise moisture or condensation may build up and cause mildew or foxing to occur. Photos will often stick to the glass if a mat is not used.
  2. For aesthetic purposes.  Mats come in a wide variety of styles, colours and types.  Well-designed mat combinations highlight the artwork and help focus the eye of the viewer on it.
  3. For conservation purposes.  Acid-free materials are used to protect artwork that is irreplaceable, or has a potential monetary or sentimental value. Continue reading

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25 Years in Business: What are the Biggest Changes?

It is interesting to reflect back and think about the biggest developments that have occurred in the custom picture framing industry over the past 25 years.  I think that all of the changes can basically be boiled down to two:  Technology and Globalization.


From the technological side there have been huge advancements in the areas of computers, equipment and printing.  When we started in business, all of the order taking and invoicing was done manually.  Now there are software programs specifically designed for the picture framing business that create the orders for all materials including  frames, mats, glass ,etc.  These programs generate invoices as well as maintain data bases on previous orders, personal information and inventory.  To the client, this means that if you want to duplicate an order down the road, your records are easily accessible by your framer.

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