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CONSERVATION: IT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

see also: USING CONSERVATION AS A SALES TOOL

You've taken the time to create a true work of art, whether your medium is photography, watercolors, acrylics or something else. Now imagine that beautiful work of art with mold growing between the glass and the picture, or with the picture itself stuck to the backing board. Certainly, there will be times that you will feel comfortable using standard, non-conservation mat board, foam-core backings or acrylic—when you're taking prints to a local art fair for sale, as an example—but for works to last a lifetime, conservation or museum quality materials must be used.

Glass

There are several choices available when selecting the appropriate glass for your project. Standard glass or acrylic are the least expensive choices, and are able to slow the deterioration of the artwork better than just letting the artwork sit out on the open.

Non-reflective glass, a bit more expensive, does just what it says—it allows one to enjoy the artwork without being distracted by lighting reflecting off the artwork. UV-resistant glass is the most expensive of the glass options, and is recommended for artwork of high value. This type of glass can block up to 98% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, keeping your artwork bright and vibrant for years to come. We recommend talking to Denglas for ideas and products. (http://www.denglas.com)

Mats

Conservation quality mats are recommended for fine art prints, limited editions, valuable documents and photographs, and heirloom needle art. While typically twice as expensive as standard matting and framing materials, the absence of acids and lignin's in conservation quality materials will make your artwork last a lifetime.

At REDIMAT, we offer several choices when it comes to mats. Our decorative mat board, which has buffered acid-free core and backing paper, is perfect for decorative framing uses such as framing posters, reproductions, decorative art, craft projects, student art and amateur photography.

Our conservation quality mat board will serve you well in the times you need to feature your work in other than standard decorative mat board alone. All of our conservation rag mat boards have a museum conservation grade, 100% cotton core, with color surface papers that are made with the finest quality pigments to provide optimum fade and bleed resistance. Buffered and naturally acid and lignin-free, this is the natural choice for color on cotton.

Our museum quality mat board is just that—the highest quality available. Nothing compares to the quality and permanence of this archival, solid color, 100% pure cotton rag, and museum mat board. This mat board is buffered and naturally acid and lignin free. Special sizing has been formulated for French Matting and art media. Virtually all museums and libraries use cotton rag mat board to exhibit and conserve treasured manuscripts, documents and works of art.

Mats aren't the only acid-free materials you'll need to keep your artwork safe, however. If it touches the artwork, like a backing board, backing paper and even frame lining, it must be acid free.

Poly bags

Poly bags are a probably the most inexpensive way to help protect your artwork. Using a poly bag can help keep out dust, moisture, fingerprints, dirt and other things that break down paper. Polyethylene bags are great for transporting prints to an art show or shipping artwork to a buyer. And like our other conservation quality products, REDIMAT's poly bags are PH neutral.

In conclusion

Make sure that you're making an informed decision when it comes to the type of materials you should use when matting, framing and transporting your artwork. Not only should you look for a mat and frame that are complimentary in color and style to your art—you also need to consider how that mat may affect the quality of your art.

And of course, if you have questions about which materials are right for your specific needs, don't hesitate to ask us!

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USING CONSERVATION AS A SALES TOOL

Sure, conservation or museum quality materials are a bit more expensive... but we'd bet your buyers would think it's worth every penny. What if your buyer took home a piece of your artwork, displayed it, and within months noticed it yellowing or even holding moisture? What an embarrassment for you, and a disappointment for your buyer.

Buyers are interested in having a piece of art that will last, if not a lifetime, then a long time. One way to help defray the costs of purchasing conservation quality materials is by letting your buyers and prospective buyers know about the quality of the materials you use. Showing them that you use only the best materials is, in essence, showing them that you care about your work enough to do it right.

How do you let prospective buyers know? Something as simple as a paragraph at the bottom of your gallery sheet or on the back of your art would be enough. Here's a sample that you can modify for your own use:

“All of the prints (artwork, photos, etc.) in this collection have been matted and framed using only the highest quality, acid and lignin free materials. From the mat and glass to the poly bag you'll take your artwork home in, each of the materials used has been selected specifically for its conservation-friendly qualities. Put simply, this means that the investment you're making today will last for a long, long time. If you have questions about the specific materials used, please don't hesitate to ask.”