Conservation Framers???

Conservation Issues

Conservation Framers???

Postby osgood » Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:21 am

Among the tribe of Custom/Bespoke (that word makes me smile every time I hear/read it) framers, are there sub-categories of framers?
Conservation Framers?
Non-Conservation Framers?

I hope not!

Shouldn't every custom framer have enough knowledge or be able to find the knowledge to be able to determine the best way to frame something that:
has a monetary value or
has a sentimental value or
might have a monetary or sentimental value in the future?

Shouldn't every custom framer determine with input from the customer, whether there is any value(see above) in the art, then make a decision on the materials and methods to be used?

Shouldn't every custom framer educate the customer as to the hazards of using cheap, poor quality methods and materials?

It's very concerning that there are custom framers out there who either consider themselves to be 'Non-conservation' framers or don't even care about conservation of anything. It's a great shame that so many of them exist!

Not everything that comes to a custom framer requires full conservation/preservation framing, but the majority of things that come to me have some value. It is very rare for something to come to me, that is only for temporary display.

I often ask customers if they care if the art/item is damaged by the framing over the next few years. Without exception they say they do care if that happens. That tells me that I need to frame the art/item in a way that will not damage it. I consider I have been given a great responsibility by the customer and they have entrusted me with the care of their art/item, so I treat it in a way that respects their trust.

I know that many framers don't even talk to their customers about different materials and methods. They just use the same poor quality materials and methods for everything!
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby John » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:02 am

osgood wrote:Shouldn't every custom framer have enough knowledge or be able to find the knowledge to be able to determine the best way to frame something that:
has a monetary value or
has a sentimental value or
might have a monetary or sentimental value in the future?

Shouldn't every custom framer determine with input from the customer, whether there is any value(see above) in the art, then make a decision on the materials and methods to be used?

And who could disagree, Ormond?

Yes there are times when the conservation issue is vitally important.

And there are times when it is arrant nonsense.

And yes, a top class framer will always know just where to draw the line.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby osgood » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:16 am

John wrote:Yes there are times when the conservation issue is vitally important.

And there are times when it is arrant nonsense.

Perhaps we could make a list of those times when conservation/preservation framing is not necessary?
I would be interested in knowing what jobs other framers get, in other parts of the world, where c/p is not used and the reasons why not!
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby framejunkie » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:26 am

John wrote:Yes there are times when the conservation issue is vitally important.

And there are times when it is arrant nonsense.


Compared to most consumer goods in our mass-production, globalised world, bespoke framing is very expensive. That our customers are willing to pay our prices suggests to me that everything they bring to us has value to them, be it financial, sentimental, or even the value of making their homes look just so. To frame something without paying any attention to conservation issues is, for me, a failure properly to take the implied responsibility that the customer has given me. This applies even when I'm sure that the customer will revamp their living room in 2 years time and my conservation frame will end up in the charity shop. If i made a frame without considering conservation i would feel i had short-changed my customer, so i don't do it. Ever. Even when it's not 'vitally important', its still unprofessional to fail to do so IMHO.

If something is worth framing, it's worth framing properly, if it's not worth framing send them to Woolworth's for a clip frame, or to the dread IKEA for a readymade produced from Brazilian rainforest timber.

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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby John » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:01 am

Absolutely Simon!

The first question that a framer should ask himself, for every job, without exception, is "should this item be framed to conservation standards?".

The best framers know how to answer this question and act appropriately on their decision.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Spit » Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:19 pm

osgood wrote:Shouldn't every custom framer have enough knowledge or be able to find the knowledge to be able to determine the best way to frame something that:
has a monetary value or
has a sentimental value or
might have a monetary or sentimental value in the future?


This is, of course what we all want (or should want). However, there is a fly in the ointment - customers.

There are a good percentage (possibly the majority here!) that won't listen to anything you say about protecting the work and just want the cheapest, thinnest frame and the cheapest materials you stock (which is why I have acid free as my baseline). I'm not going to turn them away and tell them to go to Ikea - I simply can't afford to.

Conservation framing is good in as many cases as you can push it, but its not the minimum level of framing and nor should it be. The customer, at the end of the day, is king. We give them the best advice we can, but in the end its their choice.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby osgood » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:22 pm

Spit wrote:This is, of course what we all want (or should want). However, there is a fly in the ointment - customers.

There are a good percentage (possibly the majority here!) that won't listen to anything you say about protecting the work and just want the cheapest, thinnest frame and the cheapest materials you stock

Spit, you are right about customers having the final say! There are people who won't listen. There are people who's budget is limited. These people need to be catered for. Some people are so cheap, that I can't cater for them. They will shop around until they find the cheapest price. No matter what they get for their money, they want cheap and don't have any idea that a cheaper price means they get poorer quality.
I can't help these people, neither do I want to, because I have found that there are plenty of people who do care about what they get for their money.

I don't know your market or your business, but I can tell you that there are several framers in my area who say exactly what you have said and they don't even offer customers products like Alphamat, Artcare foamboard, Japanese paper hinges. They only offer cheaper materials and techniques because, in their words - "my customers won't pay for them". I prove them wrong every day of the week, because I do sell materials of a higher cost to people in the same area, with the same socio-economic backgrounds. I don't get every job that comes through my door, but I do get the majority.

I'm certainly not the best salesman in the universe, but I have learned some sales techniques that have helped me greatly in being able to sell better quality to people in my area. I still have a lot to learn, in the sales area.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Roboframer » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:16 pm

What needs/warrants the best treatment aside - there is some dire advice flying around over here on what constitutes conservation framing.

I could post a shedload of links to framers that run courses and give some of the above bad advice but I don't want to single anyone out. Ditto for suppliers catalogues - so many framers look no further and as far as I am aware not one UK framing supplier sells the best hinging paper/paste.

I agree with US framers that even that term is all wrong - conservation is not what framers do - bar any extremely skilled and qualified ones that do it as well.

The highest standards of framing preserve things - it should be 'preservation' framing - then again we all know what we mean so what the frell?

Our trade guid does not have the word 'framing' in it, nor does it's magazine - in fact we don't have a trade mag that has the word 'framing' in its title. It's not what attracts their biggest spenders, what does is reflected in stands at our trade shows and the titles of the organisation and the mags.

Fine ART Trade Guild - ART Business Today & The PICTURE Business

I've quoted very bad advice in other topics, given at seminars and in the trade mags - also some good advice but way way behind the times in the US - or pretty much anywhere else outside the British Isles in the English speaking world.

I've asked here, a few times; once as a topic "Who uses starch paste (as in cooking it) and pure Kozo hinges" - dismal response.

Going from what I've seen and read, most UK framers' highest standards of framing, and especially of mounting, are not the highest.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Spit » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:32 pm

I'm only just building my business, less than a year old, but I've already found round here that if I only offer (as I did at the start) conservation or (to be accurate) near conservation framing - that is minumum acid free & reversible materials - I would very quickly cease to be. I would be pushing up the daisies - I would be an ex-framer! 24000 volts wouldn't make me frame again!

The truth is that true conservation framing is something we should all be aspiring to and encouraging amongst our customers. The reality is that it depends on the locality and what they will accept. There are those round here that don't offer anything but low cost, as I found when buying samples for my business plan - I wasn't asked at any of them if I wanted acid free, conservation or museum. But they were old long established businesses - maybe they didn't offer them because they've been worn down with years of trying, or maybe they have always been at that level, never changed because they didn't know any better.

The thing is, for a framer like me, basic level framing is something that pays the bills, bread & butter stuff if you like. Conservation framing is beer money, real profit that I can do what I like with. Having said all that, I always quote the good stuff first, and only go lower if it looks like I won't get the job and I wouldn't put anything that I'm aware would do serious harm (greyboard, Masking tape, etc) into a frame - But like it or not there are levels of framing below conservation grade, and unless you want 1000's of framers losing their business to Ikea and the like, there always will be.

Just a small point - Conservation level framing is often thought of in terms of what mounts, backing and tape is used. Often the glass is forgotten. Do you use UV glass on every job you do? If not, then you have a level of framing below conservation level.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Spit » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:49 pm

One last point - if we all did minimum conservation level, the 'big box' framers that seem to have caused so much havoc in the USA would have an opening into a ready market - to the detriment of us all.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:14 am

No-one's saying anyone should be framing to full preservation standards as a default.

But Osgood is saying, and I agree, that all framers should offer it and I'd add that you're not a professional framer if you don't. But you claim to be one the moment you open your door the very first time. Your first job could be an antique sampler valued at £30,000 - not impossible is it?

How about someone pushing 30 years experience that has to ask how to float something, is given photos of a quick, easy, cheap and fully reversible method and then opts for friggin' superglue!

Now put yourself in the customers' shoes - you're comparing ads in Yelluh Pages - or whatever - you're down to two - both state years of 'experience' one has 30 and one - the one who gave the good advice s/he ignored, only has 14.

I'd opt for the 30 year one myself - and get my artwork wrecked.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby osgood » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:55 am

Spit wrote:Just a small point - Conservation level framing is often thought of in terms of what mounts, backing and tape is used. Often the glass is forgotten. Do you use UV glass on every job you do? If not, then you have a level of framing below conservation level.

That small point is quite a large and important point IMHO.

(I agree with Robo that 'preservation' is what we do!)
I certainly can't sell UV glass on every job. The important thing is to sell the customer as much pres. materials and methods as they will allow!
As you have said, start at the top end and if it's necessary to get the sale, offer the customer a solution that retains as much pres. quality as possible.
For certain jobs, there is a level, below which I will not go! eg. Jerseys - no staples! Watercolours no 'acid free' mats. Everything - NO MDF - never, never, never!!! etc. etc.
My customers are very well informed as to why I have a bottom level!!!
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby kev@frames » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:29 pm

i think if you know your job, you know the appropriate materials for individual jobs.

and to be honest, if a customer insisted on fixing a 200 year old antique map into a plastic frame with duct tape, thats what they could have, if they paid extra for roll of duct tape. my job isn't to "educate" customers (how patronising). My job is to advise the best or suitable materials for each job, then the customer makes an informed choice.

Customers are not idiots, if something is worth preserving or looking after thats what we suggest and mostly they'll agree.

If you want to do nothing but "conservation framing" there is a lot more to it than simply using materials with "conservation" on the packet, then telling everyone else what a clown they are for not doing things your way. (not aimed at any one in particular btw.)

by and large there are "proper" ways of doing things, but there arealso a lot of times when compromise or commonsense come into play. I imagine some customers are as exasperated by the mind numbing "conservation" details some framers show off at the shop counter as some of us are here from time to time.

Just because you use conservation materials,it doesn't mean you are doing "conservation work". A good framer can do any type of work that comes into the shop. period.

Outgassing - an apt title for this section ;)
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:44 pm

kev@frames wrote:If you want to do nothing but "conservation framing"


Again - who does - and who ever suggested anyone should?

I see this 'outgassing' forum - separate from the general framing forum - as one more summary of the state of our trade in the UK. The very name implies - and maybe is meant to imply 'sounding off' or 'beating your gums' or 'if you must' To me it implies some sort of dig - (no, not a personal one, but like the term 'conservation police') but that's fine - house rules are house rules - it ain't my house!

It says at the head of the board index page that if anyone spots a previously aired conservation-related topic that would be relevant here, to let John know.

Well, that would be a lot of previously aired topics and I'm buggered if I'm going to search them.

General topics can and very often have evolved in to preservation issues - "I've got this old map - what's the best adhesive to stick it to chipboard?" What you gonna do - move them all here and confuse the frell out of everyone?

Conservation/preservation, in this day and age, really should come under 'general discussion' and you'll never see me start a thread here.
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby John » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:54 am

And there was me thinking that you might consider moderating this forum John. :?

R wrote:...and you'll never see me start a thread here
I could see where, from time to time, that might be a bit of an impediment to the old moderating duties Robo, but that's OK, just send me the first few lines of what you want to say, I'll start the thread, and you can continue from there. Whaddya think? :)

You know, it appears that a whole lot of grown-up, mature folk don't mind posting (even been known to 'start a thread') in a great forum with the wonderfully self-mocking title of "The Framers Grumble".
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby osgood » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:57 am

kev@frames wrote:If you want to do nothing but "conservation framing" there is a lot more to it than simply using materials with "conservation" on the packet, then telling everyone else what a clown they are for not doing things your way. (not aimed at any one in particular btw.)


Kev,
I'm not really sure what you're reading, but it must be different from what I'm reading. I don't remember anyone having said that they wanted to do "nothing but conservation framing", and I certainly don't recall anyone telling anyone else they were a clown for not doing things their way!


It seems that some people here have an "it's them against us" attitude in relation to anyone that proposes the use of preservation methods and materials.

It also seems there is a perception that there are in fact 'conservation framers' and then there's everyone else! I do not think this way and if anyone has even a sniff of a thought that I only do conservation framing then they should re-read my first and subsequent posts on this topic.

Perhaps I didn't spell it out clearly enough. My philosophy as I posted above is:-
The important thing is to sell the customer as much pres. materials and methods as they will allow!

I've found that using the words "I recommend...." is a great way to get a positive response from a customer! Does anyone else have any other phrases that work???

If other framers don't have a bottom level and will attach an old map or anything else using duct tape or use some other material or method that they know is totally wrong and detrimental, but is according to the customers wishes, then that's their business. I just don't understand it!

I just wonder how many other industries let the customers dictate that they should do something that's patently wrong. I can just imagine what I would be told to do if I told the air conditioning installer "don't bother with screwing the unit to the wall, just use blue tack!"

Many framers in various countries are trying to raise the standards of framing all over the world, by many methods, including education of framers in a number of different ways. Forums such as this, is one of the ways we can become more educated in a really inexpensive way.

There are benefits to the raising of framing standards, such as raising the public's perception of our industry and that's got to be a good thing. Another benefit is that it would also raise our incomes! Anyone here got too much income???
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby framejunkie » Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:35 pm

kev@frames wrote:if a customer insisted on fixing a 200 year old antique map into a plastic frame with duct tape, thats what they could have, if they paid extra for roll of duct tape. my job isn't to "educate" customers (how patronising). My job is to advise the best or suitable materials for each job, then the customer makes an informed choice.


Kev, i hope you are using hyperbole when you say you'd be happy to provide a duct taped framing solution, but i see your point. However, IMHO the customer is not always right. Part of my job IS to educate my customers - this is not patronising. They are paying for my skills, and also my knowledge. As you say, i advise them, and they are free to take that advice or not, but they are making an informed decision. However i would draw a line short of doing anything which i cannot justify. Once or twice i've told a customer that i'm unwilling to do it their way, and they invariably see that if i feel strongly about something then it is for a reason - normally they bow to my expertise. Everything which leaves my studio has my name on the back so for reasons of personal pride and for reasons of professional reputation i don't want my name on the back of any work which will actively harm the artwork within. If a customer doesn't want UV glass, that's their decision and once i've expained it, an informed one, but if they want to save a few pence by using non-conservation mountboard, they'll have to go somewhere else.

.
osgood wrote:I just wonder how many other industries let the customers dictate that they should do something that's patently wrong. I can just imagine what I would be told to do if I told the air conditioning installer "don't bother with screwing the unit to the wall, just use blue tack!"

Absolutely, Ormond.

Incidentally i totally applaud the decision to separate Conservation issues into a sub-forum of their own - makes sense to me for it all to be in the same place(although clearly this will take a while)
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Newframer » Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:34 pm

As my name suggests I'm new to this, but it is this very area of framing that interests me the most. On a personal level, I've collected Art which is a 'tad expensive' and prices rise everyday, for me the lack acceptance/respect/understanding from local framers that my images were valuable, made me think about doing it myself.

One example i will use, is often i get work rolled up in tubes and it may have cost £25 or £5k, not matter what i will put some lint free gloves on everytime(after taking the DUSTY end caps).I've seen lots of different people handle the same Art, and not once have i seen anyone put gloves on. :?

I found a very effective way of suggesting the 'correct' options, is to point out the extra cost divided other the number of years enjoyment, not to mention peace of mind.

Anyway I'm new and like a sponge looking to learn,learn,learn, was hoping to find someone here as anal as me with attention to detail,(so that i could learn from them) think they have posted in this thread :D

What do people think about the big difference between Conservation Framing and Museum Framing??

Great idea for a sub forum btw :clap:
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby kev@frames » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:18 pm

which museum are we talking about ;)

I have one which regularly specifies the cheapest neutral ph board. This is because of the cost.

Most of the well funded museums now also have museum lighting, and i supply another museum with frames in regular float, and sometimes conservation clear glass (they never ask for museum glass, again due to the cost).

These are national museums, by the way, not local, although we do a couple of those as well.

I suppose the term "museum" refers to a maximum-preservation ethos, rather than where the frame will hang? So this might include bandit glass and alarm systems ;)
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Re: Conservation Framers???

Postby Roboframer » Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:48 pm

Newframer wrote:
What do people think about the big difference between Conservation Framing and Museum Framing??



Welcome to the forum!

What's your two bob's worth first?
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