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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
So I would like to take a minute to go over some of the vocabulary that you should really understand in order to have a good conversation with your framer, or to make informed decisions about how you want to assemble your own frame. The first step of course is the frame, and we typically refer to the frame as a molding style. Molding being the generic term, if you look behind me you see a whole host of wood moldings. There are also some very nice moldings made out of styrene as well as a whole host of moldings made in metal. Great variety of choices and color and texture there with the molding.
Once you make your decision on the molding, the next choice is what do you do for glazing? The glazing is a term you may not have heard before, it's a generic term that refers to either glass or plexiglass, it's the transparent barrier that protects both the work and the mat. The mat is the cardboard that we use to surround the work in within that mat we will cut a window to expose the work, hence you refer to it as a window mat. Many choices and types of mat often you'll see a double mat where you'll put a mat of a darker tone and quite often a color underneath a fairly neutral outer mat.
Typically, you'll choose the under mat to bring out some tone or some color that actually occurs within the photograph. Another way to add depth is a fillet. A fillet is essentially a small molding, if you use the fillet, it attaches directly underneath the mat, and typically a fillet will echo some of the contours of the frame, you can see here we're using a black fillet with a white mat and the black frame and the contour of the molding of the fillet closely matches the front edge of the frame. Very nice way to add depth.
Another choice you can use to add depth is to use a linen liner. This is once again another molding, it's covered with fabric. In this case, kind of off white, you can get many choices in the type of fabric, and it fits directly within the frame to add depth, you can also use a linen liner and a fillet, you won't often see linen with photographs, more typically it's used with paintings, but it can be a nice way to add texture and depth. A simple way to add depth is to use a spacer. This is a spacers attached to the glass and generate a gap between the glass and the mat.
They come in varying depths and some clear white or black, they mount all the way flush with this inside edge of the frame, so there is virtually invisible once you have assembled the work. After you have made all these choices, your next choice is what do you want to use for a backing board? So, often times that decision is dictated by the nature of the photographs that you're mounting, but you'll need some kind of a backing surface to use to mount the work, and it also holds the work in place once you have assembled the frame.
The assemble package of mat, spacers, glazing goes into the frame, it's held in place with framers points, then typically the back of the frame is sealed with the dust shield to prevent dust from penetrating into the front of the frame and showing out between the mat, the art, and the glazing. Once it's sealed you'll take your choice of hardware here. Typically I use D rings, these are designed to work on metal frames, these will work on wood and styrene frames, you can either hang the D rings directly on screws, or you can angle them slightly inward and put a loop of picture wire between the D rings and attach it to the hook. You can see we got several hooks on top here, you can attach the wire to the hook or the D rings to the hook securing the work to the wall.
So once again, the basic steps are selecting a frame, then glazing, then a spacer, then a mat, a fillet, your artwork, the backing board, framers points, a dust shield, mounting hardware, and then it will hang on the wall. So with those components in mind I think you're now probably ready to start to look at the aesthetics of the creation of a matted and framed photograph.
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