A

Acetate

Is made from a cotton or wood pulp that has undergone processing, defining it synthetic. It reacts to high concentrations of alkalis or acids.

Acid

Acid attacks cellulose fibres causing paper to discolour, become brittle and breakdown. Acid comes from the lignin in wood. It can also be contained in chemicals used in paper manufacture, lower grade picture framing materials and atmospheric pollution.

Acid Free

This can be a very misleading phrase, sometimes used to describe materials that have acidic content but which have in reality been highly buffered to raise the pH value. We use 100% cotton mount boards that contain absolutely no Lignin.

Acrylics

Plastic glazing material that is lighter than glass, ideal for larger artworks. We mainly use Perspex, Optium and Artshield. With these products you can select whether you need Ultra Violet light filtering (UV), low glare (LG) or low abrasion properties included. The drawback to this product is that due to holding a static charge it is not suitable for glazing pastels charcoals or fine lightweight papers.

Adobe RGB (1998)

The RGB working space created by Adobe Systems. Adobe RGB’s gamut is reasonably large; it encompasses most of the colours that can be reproduced by common output devices today, and is considered the standard colour space for converting and storing images.

Alkaline

Materials with a pH level more than 7.0 will contain alkali, neutralising (but not removing) acidic content.

Anti-Reflective Glass

The best glass option for reflection-free and neutral viewing. Also incorporating a 79% UV filter to protect valuable artwork from fading over time. This anti-reflective coating is manufactured using an advanced magnetron sputtering process to deposit a molecular film. This technique guarantees unrivaled consistency, durability and quality. This is a truly invisible glass!

Aquatint

A technique of acid-biting areas of tone rather than lines. A ground is used that is not completely impervious to acid, and a pebbly or granular texture (broad or fine) is produced on the metal plate. Stop-out, second and third bites are. used to produce variations of darkness.

Archival

Archival quality is a non-technical and unenforced term that suggests that a material or product is permanent, durable or chemically stable

Artist's Proof

Artist's Proofs are a special subset of the regular limited edition. In the modern day, they are usually created to view how the final image is going to print and are typically the same in quality as the numbered prints. Artist's Proofs usually sell for 10-30% more than the regular edition.

B

Backboard

Exterior backing must be chemically inert or acid free and ideally should be puncture proof.

Backing

Internal backboard, usually visible (but not always), used to protect or help display the artwork.

Bevel

Angled edge cut into a mount aperture or into part of a frame profile.

Bleed

When an image is printed to the edge of a piece of paper, it is said to bleed to the edge.

Board

Board is composed of layers of compressed paper
e.g. 8-ply board is made up from 8 layers of paper

Box Frame

Frame designed to house an artwork using fillets (spacers). Generally quite contemporary and glazed.

Bromide

A photographic print created on bromide paper.

Buffered Mount Board

Buffered mount boards contain an alkaline filler which raises the pH value of the product from 7.0 (neutral) to 9.5 (high alkaline) to reduce the possibility of acids forming within the adhesive layers.

Buffering

The addition of an alkaline substance usually Calcium carbonate in order to help neutralise, prevent (or even disguise) acids.

Burnished

A high shine, smooth finish applied to gold leaf frames by hand polishing with an agate quartz stone.

C

Calcium Carbonate

Acronym for Cyan (process Blue), Magenta (process Red), Yellow and Black, the primary colours of ink used in professional printing process to which Black is added for enhancement or for true Black. Not to be confused with the primary colours of light which are Red, Green and Blue (RGB).

CMYK

Acronym for Cyan (process Blue), Magenta (process Red), Yellow and Black, the primary colours of ink used in professional printing process to which Black is added for enhancement or for true Black. Not to be confused with the primary colours of light which are Red, Green and Blue (RGB).

Collotype

Initially called albertype, after its principal inventor, this process consists in pouring a layer of gelatine mixed with potassium chromate over the surface of a zinc or glass plate which is then exposed to light to receive the image. The gelatine hardens in proportion to the amount of light received, the unexposed parts remaining soft and capable of retaining moisture, and the printing can therefore be done, lithographically: the plate is dampened with water and the ink is applied with a roller. It adheres to the surface in inverse proportion to the amount of moisture retained, the hard areas of gelatine printing the darkest. The reticulated grain of collotype is particularly good for reproducing watercolor, for which the process was much used during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Conservation Board

Conservation boards are made from wood pulp that has all of the Lignin removed. They contain a small amount of a buffering to protect the board from acidic pollutants. The pH level achieved will fall in time and the board will turn acidic eventually so 100% Cotton Museum is the preferred option.

Conservation Clear Glass

Conservation Clear preserves original art, limited edition prints and other valued subjects. The TruGuard UV Protection blocks 99% of UV rays that would otherwise cause fading and discoloration.

Conservation Level Framing

The Fine Art Trade Gild is the UK trade association for the fine art framing industry and has defined five professional levels of framing which are recognised around the globe. Conservation level is the 2nd highest level designed to visually enhance artwork and offer a high level of protection for approximately 20 years under normal conditions.

Cotton Museum Mountboard

Superior to Conservation Mount board because it is made from pure 100% cotton fibre so does not contain acidic lignin like boards made from wood pulp. This board will be buffered in the main to prevent acidic content forming within its adhesive layers.

D

Deckled Edge

Paper with uneven, feathered edges which should be float-mounted so that the whole sheet is on view.

DPI

Dots Per Inch/Pixels Per Inch. The resolution of an image or how many pixels are defined in the boundary of a square inch. The more correct term is pixels per inch, however dots per inch is often used instead.

Dry Mounting

Bonding paper entirely to a substrate keeping it permanently flat, using a heat activated adhesive on acid free tissue with a flat bed press or rollers. This is very effective on Cibachrome photographs with a 1.5mm Aluminium sheet acting as the backing.

Drypoint

Lines are scratched into the metal plate using any sharp instrument with the same freedom as a pencil. The effect is spontaneous, not formal. Cutting into the plate throws up, on each side of the cut, ridges of displaced metal, which are called burr. In the printing of the plate, these ridges will also take some ink and print a kind of inky glow around the line.

E

Engraving

Lines are incised on a highly polished metal plate by means of a sharp-pointed instrument, diamond-shaped in cross section, called a burin or graver. The tool works like a plough cutting a furrow. The strength of the line may be increased by cutting deeper. The burin is held in a fixed position and, to produce a curved line, the plate itself is turned. This makes engraving a slow and painstaking technique producing controlled, formal results.

Etching

Lines are bitten into the metal plate through the use of acid. To begin with, the plate is covered with a thin, acid-impervious coating called a ground which is smoked to a uniform black. Lines are drawn through the ground with a stylus baring the metal of the plate. Acid is then applied which eats into the exposed areas. The longer the plate is exposed to the acid, the deeper the bite and therefore the stronger the line. Different depths are achieved by covering some lines with acid-impervious varnish (stop-out) and biting others a second (or third) time. The appearance of etchings is usually free and spontaneous but the technique has occasionally been used to produce results almost as formal as engraving.

F

Fillet

Sometimes referred to as spacers, these strips traditionally made from wood or mount board are placed within a frame chamber to separate the artwork/mount from the glazing to prevent adhesion, a common problem with photographic papers.

G

Gelatine

A substance derived from animal skin and bone.  Various grades of purity are available, and the animal source can be selected to fit in with cultural traditions.
Its uses include; as an adhesive, a sizing agent, and a pigment-bearing emulsion in photography.

Gesso

Made from a mixture of plaster, chalk and glue, gesso is the base onto which gold leaf (gilding) is applied. It can be carved and moulded enabling it to be used to make decorative frame mouldings.

Giclee

Pronounced zhee-klay the French word giclee is a noun that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. The term giclee print connotes an elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various archival substrates including canvas, fine art rag paper, and photo-base paper. The giclee printing process provides better colour accuracy than other means of reproduction.

Gilding

The highly skilled and delicate application of laying gold-leaf onto a surface.

H

Hinges

Used to secure an artwork into a mount along one edge only, so that the artwork can be lifted and the back inspected

Hygroscopic

Used to describe a material that releases and absorbs moisture to and from its environment (as dictated by conditions)

J

Japanese Paper hinges

Japanese papers are lightweight, strong and long fibred which is important when attaching artworks to the substrate. Once torn and feathered for soft edges, the likelihood of the hinge creating a ridge that shows through to the front of the artwork is much reduced. Paper will always react to moisture addition however Japanese hinging is the ultimate attachment method for museum standard framing.

Joining

Term used to describe fixing the corners of a frame together - splicing, screw plug, underpinning, butt join are a few references.

L

Lignin

A naturally occurring polymer in wood-pulp paper (e.g.newsprint) that rapidly degrades, typically turning yellow and producing significant levels of acids and other VOCs. Lignin is removed from conservation level mount boards and other conservation framing materials.

Linocut

An abbreviation of linoleum cut. The technique is a derivation of the woodcut but owing to the supple, relatively soft properties of the material, linocuts have different characteristics. The material takes all types of lines, but is most suited to large designs with contrasting dark and light flat tints. The material is cut with small pen-like tools which have a mushroom-shaped handle. The tools have a variety of forms: straight and rounded edge, double-pointed, as a chisel or a V-shaped chisel, etc. As on a woodcut, the relief parts of the block are inked. For printing a large number of important proofs, the linoleum is attached to a wooden block. Color printing is done with several linoleum blocks. Long disparaged by serious artists as not challenging enough, the linocut came into its own after artists like Picasso and Matisse began to work in that technique.

Lithograph

A printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat surface, as on sheet zinc or aluminum, and treated to retain ink while the non image areas are treated to repel ink.

M

MDF

Medium Density Fibreboard. Although used by many as a frame backing, for purity reasons we do not. MDF is made from various scrap wood fibres including sawdust and is bound together with an agent that contains formaldehyde, incorporating formic acid which is a corrosive.

Mezzotint

The only intaglio technique that proceeds from dark to light rather than the opposite. The metal plate is totally abraded with an instrument called a rocker. Were it inked and printed at this point, it would produce an even, rich black. The design, in areas of tone rather than lines, is produced entirely by smoothing areas of the plate with a scraper or a burnishing tool. The more scraping and burnishing done, the lighter the area.

Migrating acid

Acid contained within a poor grade mountboard or frame component for example will eventually move into the artwork. Similarly should an artwork already contain acid this will infect a poor grade mountboard.

Monoprint

A unique print produced in such a way that part of the process cannot reproduced (e.g. it may contain an element of monotype)

Monotype

A design is drawn in ink or paint on any smooth surface. While the ink or paint is still wet, a piece of paper is laid on top of it and pressure applied, either with a press or by hand. The process, by its name, is meant to produce a single impression, but there is sometimes enough damp ink left on the plate surface to make a second, weaker, impression.

Moulding

The name given to describe the shape of a wood profile used to create a frame.

Museum Glass

Museum Glass® anti-reflection picture framing glass with Conservation Grade UV Protection is the best glazing option available for art, photographs and other important personal keepsakes.  Along with its nearly invisible finish, it effectively blocks up to 99% of harmful indoor and outdoor UV light rays so framed pieces remain clearer and brighter for longer.

Museum Level framing

The Fine Art Trade Guild is the UK trade association for the fine art framing industry and has defined five professional levels of framing which are recognised around the globe. Museum is the ultimate level designed to visually enhance artwork and offer the maximum level of protection for up to 35 years under normal conditions.

P

Photogravure

Sometimes known as heliogravure (particularly hand photogravure), this technique is one of the most important methods of industrial printing (the others being letterpress and offset lithography). It is an intaglio process which can be divided into two procedures: (1) Hand photogravure, a derivation of the aquatint in its method of obtaining tone. After sensitizing a copper plate and exposing it to light to form the image, resin or bitumen grain was scattered over it. The procedure continued as for a normal aquatint plate. This technique subsequently developed into a totally photomechanical process: (2) Machine photogravure, in which the tone is supplied by a cross-line screen. It was discovered that the plate could be bent into the form of a cylinder, a development which allowed very fast printing speeds (rotogravure). The technique is used more for magazines and catalogues than for print-making itself.

R

Rabbit Skin Glue

An ingredient that is traditionally used in Gesso as a gilding base, Acrylic Gesso is available but it does not perform as well.

Rebate Size

The rebate of the frame is the inside of the frame where all of its components rest. Rebate size is the internal measurement which will tell you how big the glazing, backing, fillets etc need to be.

Reversible

All methods of artwork hinging should be fully reversible. That is to say, if they are removed the object should be able to be returned to its original state prior to application.

RGB

Red, Green and Blue. The three colours to which the human visual system, digital cameras and many other devices are sensitive; the colours used in displays and input devices. They represent the additive colour model, where 0% of each component yields black and 100% of each component yields white.

S

Screenprinting

The principle of screenprinting, or silkscreening, consists in applying stencils to a screen (constructed of silk or of some synthetic or metallic material), in such a way that when ink is applied it is prevented from passing through some parts while penetrating the rest of the screen, thereby printing an image on paper placed underneath. The screen is stretched across a frame and attached to a base in such a manner that it can readily move up and down, so that paper can be easily placed and removed as required. For each impression, the paper is placed against registration tabs to ensure that the printing is done in the correct position. The ink is poured over the masking at one end of the screen and when this has been lowered into position, the ink is scraped across the screen with the aid of a squeegee.

The most important part of the process is the preparation of the screen. Stencils may be applied in a variety of ways, including the use of filling-in liquid, varnish or plastic film. A drawing can be made directly on the surface with a special ink which is removed in readiness for printing after the rest of the screen has been blocked out. A photographic stencil is made by initially sensitizing the screen.

Split-Baton

This is a corresponding length of wood used to marry a sub frame to the wall, providing a secure hanging system

Substrate

Is the backing onto which an artwork is applied or created.

W

Washline

A decorative line drawn around a mount aperture, using a special ruling pen with watercolour paint or ink.

Window Mount

A mountboard cut to the rebate size of a frame with a central aperture (window) created through which to view the artwork image only.

Wood Engraving

Tools similar to metal engraving are used on polished blocks of end-grain wood (usually boxwood), but instead of producing lines that will print, they are used to produce non-printing lines. It is the uncut surface that will take the ink and print.

Woodcut

The design is drawn on a wood plank (side grain) and those areas that are not to print are cut away well below the surface with a knife or gouge. Linocut is the same technique using linoleum rather than wood