Weighted Mounts – Why Weight?

When having a picture framed it is worth discussing the final layout of the frame and how the overall look of the picture can be enhanced by some simple design adjustments.

Consider the three images below. The first shows a perfectly good frame with a mount cut equal size all around the image. The blue double mount enhances the colour of the kingfisher. The square format is not uncommon but, to my mind at least, the picture is saying ‘could have tried harder’.

The second image has had the mount extended slightly at the bottom i.e. the mount has been ‘weighted’. This is a common approach and is often used to overcome a visual illusion that can cause some images to appear to have a narrower mount margin at the bottom. There is also a view that this slight weighting approach dates back to the days when pictures were hung from wires and picture rails.

The third image has had the mount weighted by adding a significant margin to the bottom. This allows a rectangular frame to be made which can be visually more pleasing and I think the additional space around the image gives a more harmonious look to the finished frame.

At the end of the day it is down to personal a taste and preference however a visit to a bespoke framer will allow you to make the right choices guided by their advice and experience.

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Eric Gill Woodcut

This is an Eric Gill woodcut  from his book 25 Nudes published in 1938. I decided to give it a simple treatment and chose a wide (100mm) border to the mount to isolate and draw attention to the image. The board is Arqadia Hayseed 3.5mm thick conservation, the artwork is hinged using gummed conservation grade ‘T’ hinges. The frame is a simple black with an ochre highlight.Eric Gill

How NOT to frame football shirts

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I was walking through Copenhagen airport while waiting for a flight and came across these framed Danish football jerseys. They are signed by the Danish team and probably have, or had, some value.

The only problem was that whoever had framed them had stapled straight through the shirts into the backing board. Apart from looking untidy the shirts now have a liberal number of holes in various places, effectively rendering them worthless.

Football shirts can be framed in a fully reversible way using stitches instead of staples and it is a shame to see such a bad example on public display.

Assembling a self-assembly picture frame

I was assembling a frame yesterday and thought I’d share a few photographs of part of the process. The pictures show one of our self-assembly kits being assembled. The frame is solid ash in narrow(20mm) deep (27mm) section.

Self-assembly frame

The four lengths of a self-assembly frame

The most common way of joining frames after they have been mitred is by the use of an underpinner. This is perfect for workshop use but for the self-assembly kits I needed something that could be assembled at customers homes with the minimum of tools so I decided to adopt a system which uses dove tail wedges.

Dove tail joint

A mitred corner with dovetail joint.

Frames are easy to assemble with no special tools and the dovetail system when used with wood glue provides an extremely strong and tight joint. To assemble, frame lengths are placed upside down on a flat surface and glue applied to the corners, bringing the two pieces together allows the dovetail wedges to be inserted from the back. (See photos).

Once assembled it is easy to paint the frames in a variety of finishes.

Inserting the dove tail wedge

Inserting the dove tail wedge

In the photographs you will see white acrylic paint being applied thinly. When the whole frame is coated and still wet, the paint is gently rubbed back with a cloth leaving an attractive lime wash finish. Paint can be mixed any colour you like to compliment your works.

This simple self-assembly approach allows artists to frame works for sale or exhibition at very reasonable cost and large frames are no problem as kits are easy to package. Kits are available for framing works on canvas or artists board. For works on paper, such as watercolours, mounts and glazing options can be added. Boards and glazing are held in place with a simple push point system.

Painting the frame with acrylic paint

Painting the frame with acrylic paint

The particular frame in the photographs is destined to be used by the BBC’s DIY SOS program next week and graces an original print by Jane Ormes.

The finised frame

The finised frame