Mount or Molehill?

In the Works on Paper community there is a range of opinions on mounting work…from “whatever holds it there” to tough conservation standards.  Because I work with thin, soft paper, easily damaged by folds and creases, I always hinge my work on a firm backing before it can be handled by others.  But I worry that the future owners and framers that handle the piece would not know how to remove the hinges (a few drops of water and a very gentle hand) and free the art from the backing if that is what they desire. So, because I fret, I took my concern to the recent San Francisco Fine Print Show for field research, and observed that most often dealers were using polypropylene photo corners, large size (3″), clear with a notched front that exposes more of the paper. This works well with paper firm enough to be held by the corners. It is an excellent solution, as it has no impact on the art itself. I found that artworks on softer paper, such as classic Japanese prints, were often placed in paper folios.  Interested parties opened the folios to look at the prints flat. When I found that a print had been mounted I asked the dealer how the mounting was done and noted that generally the answer was conservation-perfect, but the tone was defensive. I have considered including “how-to” instructions with each of my prints, but that has several obvious downsides. Thoughts to share about mounting methods and materials?

Carole Nelson

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One response to “Mount or Molehill?

  1. It might be useful for the gallery to include a brief account (or diagram) (or both) with each sale of unframed work. The problem is that there are so many possibilities for attractive and archival framing, that it would be difficult to keep it brief. Another possibility would be to add a display to our matrix board.
    –Max-Karl Winkler