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Questions and Answers

What is Conservation Framing?

Conservation framing is a combination of process and the use of appropriate materials to offer the framed item the best protection against environmental factors that lead to the deterioration of the framed item.

Are there different levels of conservation framing?

There are two levels of conservation framing recommended by Australia's peak body for the picture framing industry, the Picture Framers Guild of Australia Incorporated (PFGA). These are Category 4 "Conservation" and Category 5 "Museum" the highest level of conservation. These levels offer protection from 25 years and beyond. For more information on these categories visits the PFGA web site at

What materials are use for conservation framing?

Glazing - We recommend and use Tru Vue glass or acrylic in all conservation work. Depending on your requirements we use either conservation clear glass, museum glass or conservation clear acrylic (Acrylite). These products provide a high protection against the harmful effects of ultra violet light. For more information on these Tru Vue products and others visit the Tru Vue web site at

Matboards and spacers - These products are used to prevent the framed item from contacting the glazing. It is important to ensure that the framed item has an air space enabling it to "breathe". We recommend and use Crescent cotton rag mats and Bainbridge Artcare matboards. We use these products because they provide the best protection when placed against artwork. If matboards are not required we use acrylic spacers to provide the required air space. For more information on Crescent cotton matboards visit the Crescent web site at the following address.

For more information on Bainbridge matboards visit the Nielsen Bainbridge web site at the following address.

Undermount - Undermounts are recommended by the PFGA for category 5 (museum) conservation framing. It is a cotton barrier placed between the artwork and acid free foam core backing.

Backing - We use acid free foam core board.

What about framing practices? Is there anything special that I need to know?

The most important issue is to ensure that any mounting methods are completely reversible. Furthermore the mounting products should be inert i.e. completely stable and do not leach any undesirable by products onto the framed item. We use approved mounting method. Works on paper are hinged at the top only to allow the paper to expand or contract depending on environmental conditions. The hinging material is archival in nature and made specifically for conservation use. Where hinging is not appropriate we use products such as Mylar to encapsulate the framed item or to support it.

Textile such as embroideries, cross stitch and garments require very special treatment. We use lace mounting or hand stitching to inert fabric backing as our preferred mounting techniques. We never mount textiles with glue or adhesives and never stable the item to a timber backing.

Do you outsource any work?

We certainly do outsource some of our work. We do what we do best which is picture framing. When it comes to professional services such as restoration and some repairs we use leading specialists in the area. These are the people that we are proud to have associated with our business. Feel free to contact them directly or we can arrange for work to be done with them on your behalf.

Paper conservation and repair - We use David Button. David has worked in this area for the since 1986 and has a Degree in Material Conservation. David can be contacted on telephone (08) 8390-1754

Restoration and repair of works on canvas (oils and acrylics) - We use Chris Payne. Chris is a member of the AICCM and is employed by Artlab and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Chris is happy to do work outside of these establishments under his own business of The Art Conservation Studio. Chris can be contacted on telephone (08) 8568-2235

Restoration and repair of textiles - We use Mary Jose , the owner of the Fabric of Life. Mary has served museums, galleries, private institutions and collectors since 1984 both in Australia, Asia and the UK. Mary trained at the Textile Conservation Centre, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London following a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Fine Art at the Australian National University. She is a Professional Associate of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural material. Mary can be contacted on telephone 0404 871 707.

Ornate mirror cutting and bevelling- We use Ian McKenzie of Crane Glass. Ian can be contacted at 38 Allinga Avenue, Glenside, SA, 5065 or telephone (08) 8379 2006

Gilding and ornate frame restoration - We use Bernard Goble at Oxford Antiques. Oxford Antiques specialize in the restoration and re gilding of antique mirrors, picture frames and furniture. Bernard Goble is a fourth generation craftsman who commenced cabinetmaking over 30 years ago with his family’s business in Oxford, England. A rich and varied apprenticeship was gained resulting in the acquisition of many skills rarely found today. Bernard immigrated to Australia in 1987, establishing Oxford Antiques now trading from 203 Unley Road, Adelaide, South Australia. Bernard established The Gilded Mirror in 1996, which specializes in the design and manufacture of high quality frames predominately for over mantelpieces, however many wall mirror styles are also available. A variety of fine finishes can be provided; from traditional gold leafed antique to pewter and contemporary silver, or beautiful French polished natural timber finishes. Bernard can be contacted on telephone (08) 8272-7501.

Is my work safe while it is with you?

At Art Domain we take the safety and security of your work very seriously. We have a handling and storage procedure that applies to all work that comes to us. When we finish the consultation process the work is catalogued and securely stored until the framing process begins. All work is handled with the utmost care. Art Domain has appropriate insurance to cover loss or damage however we would encourage you to always insure your valuable items and advise your insurance company of any insured items change of location.

Art Domain has monitored security and additional security measure have been taken to prevent theft.

How do I care for my framed item?

We will take care to wrap your work in heavy duty plastic and in some cases bubble wrap to help protect the work until you get it home. Please make sure that you do not leave the work in a hot car. The extreme heat generated in a closed car can cause significant damage so take your framed item home as soon as you pick it up.

Choose carefully the place you wish to display the work. We do not advise that you hang the piece when it can be exposed to direct sunlight or extremes of temperature. These conditions will have a detrimental affect on your art regardless of the level of framing chosen. Avoid hanging on a chimney breast or on a poorly ventilated exterior wall as moisture can permeate the wall and enter the frame. Don't hang your piece in a bathroom. These room are very humid and a framed piece in this environment will not last very long.

Occasional dusting of the frame is recommended and clean the glass only if required. We recommend cleaning the glass with a mixture of menthylated spirits and distilled water mixed in equal proportions. Ensure that you do not spray directly onto the glass. Spray onto a micro-fibre cloth and gently wipe the glass using a circular motion. Be very careful when cleaning acrylic as it can be very susceptible to scratching.

Occasionally check the back of the frame and inspect the sealing tape. If there is evidence of the tape lifting have the tape replaced. The tape seals the back and helps prevent the ingress of insects etc.