he materials I use in mounting all of my prints not only refrain from damaging the images (most simple acid-free materials do this) but they actively contribute to the longevity of the print. I use, exclusively, Bainbridge ArtCare(tm) mounting materials in the matting and framing of my images. These materials are the state-of-the-art for museum-grade, conservation materials and incorporate high-tech features invented and manufactured by Conservation Resources, Int'l,.
It goes without saying, that these materials are all fully acid-free; but much more than that, they are permeated with synthetic zeolite, a pollution-trapping substance. Zeolite, originally found as a naturally occurring alumino-silicate, has a micro-porous structure. These unimaginably tiny pores are present in the material in such astronomical numbers that the material's surface area is increased far beyond what would be expected of the mounting materials themselves. This material can now be manufactured synthetically and its absorbing qualities can be rigorously controlled.
and their use in
These surfaces have an affinity for capturing pollutants that may intrude into the interior of the framed artwork, and act as a sort of "pollution-sponge." Since the actual surface area contained within the pores is so huge (there is probably the area equivalent to a football field contained within the mounting materials of a single framed print) these materials will defeat the image-fading properties of atmospheric polltants for many years.
The photo above shows an actual test that was performed for the Western Association for Art Conservation to demonstrate the vastly superior ability of this Artcare material to actually remove even the most corrosive atmospheric pollutants. The photo shows two sealed dessicator jars: the one on the left containing a sample of black Artcare matte board, and the one on the right containing white, standard acid-free material. At the beginning of the test (the two left-most jars), a large amount of nitric oxide gas (one of the most severe atmospheric pollutants) is introduced through the bottom of the chamber— it can be seen as an orange-colored gas in the bottom of both chambers. The photo on the right shows the same two jars after one hour. It is clear that the Artcare material has "gobbled up" the nasty nitric oxide gas, while the acid-free material has even let the pollutant pass right by it, filling the whole chamber.
For more information concerning these amazing materials, and protecting valuable artworks from the ravages of common atmospheric pollutants, check out these links:
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This document was updated on 8/14/2005.