Mould / Contamination on Print

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Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby In the Frame » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:46 am

Hi all,

I have a limited edition print that requires cleaning ( if possible ). It has been stored in less than ideal conditions I would say and has developed a mildew or mould on some parts of the surface. It's not really obvious unless you angle the print to the light.

Is there a safe way to tackle this ? Any recommendations
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Not your average framer » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:37 pm

In the Frame wrote: It has been stored in less than ideal conditions I would say and has developed a mildew or mould on some parts of the surface. It's not really obvious unless you angle the print to the light.


The value of the print is already compromised, it sounds like the mould has already consumed some of the material of the print. It may not be all that much be the resale value will be affected.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby In the Frame » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:50 pm

Is it best to leave as is or attempt to at least improve the visual aspect even if it doesn't increase the value ?
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Justintime » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:55 pm

This is probably what you're looking for. I've had mixed results, depending on how permanent the marks are.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lineco-Non-Abr ... B002E4Z302
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby JonathanB » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:34 pm

As has already been said many times on this forum, we're not magicians and can only work with what we're presented with. The pad is a fairly low risk way of making some minor improvements (by the way it's only £4.01 + VAT in Lion's catalogue - stock number 1178) but you have to be very gentle and I've never found it makes much difference. I would refer your customer to a conservator via the ICON website and leave it to them to bring it back to you when it's in a better state. The other issue is that from a health point of view it's probably not a great idea to be scattering mould spores around your workshop. Some of this stuff can be quite nasty.
Good luck
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Not your average framer » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:47 pm

What is the customers expectations? If the customer wishes to maximise the resale value, you may need to consult with a local conservator to get an idea of what is possible and how much it will cost. However, if the customer is mostly just looking for a reasonable job at a reasonable price and not concerned about the resale value, then the ball could be in your court, with the opportunity to charge accordly.

If you are thinking of using the rubber cleaning granules, then be very careful not to rub away any of the surface of the print, as the mould may have weakened the structural srtength of the paper, possibly more than you first realise. Take your time and think everything out in advance, stuff like this may be something that you can add to your existing business, but know your limitations.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby In the Frame » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:30 am

If the print was in perfect condition it would have a value of £500 to £700, as is I'm not sure of the value. My instinct is it may not clean well. I think I'll frame it and see if the glass disguises the faults and possibly recommend it is displayed in a location that won't highlight it's faults !

It can still be appreciated I think, the problems are not immediately obvious unless observed at certain angles etc..
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Rainbow » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:59 am

What about suggesting to your customer that they have a digital image taken which can be cleaned up digitally and printed out, and then frame the printout?

Edit. Just thought, that would probably breach copyright rules, unless the print is very very old, so p'raps not.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby prospero » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:06 am

You have to ask yourself whether you are a framer or a restorer. :D

People bring in all sorts of things and expect the framer to have all sorts of arcane magic tricks to 'fix it up'.
A familiar phrase quoted by customers is, "Can't you just......".

Restoration is a highly skilled discipline and takes years to learn. Sure, we all dabble but most aren't experts. You can
come seriously unstuck if you don't know what you are doing.
I have learned something of the subject over the years - enough to know when to leave well alone. :lol:

Paper-borne art is the most difficult type of restoration. A limited edition print of value is only of that value in mint
condition. A damaged print is essentially worth a fraction of the value of a mint copy and in some cases - zero. :cry:

My advice is to take what you are given and frame it. Don't try to 'improve' it.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Not your average framer » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:51 pm

If it's worth that much, I think it's a job for a paper conservator.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby prospero » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:24 pm

Another wise phrase has just occurred to me....

"Don't let someone else's problem become yours"

:roll: :ninja:
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby cleaver » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:26 pm

LOL. Great motto, Prospero. :lol: :clap: :lol:
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby JFeig » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:21 am

I can't see the conservation of a $700US retail price limited edition print being a profitable investment process. That would be a lengthy process (a couple hours work) for a conservator and like us, they like to eat once in a while. Also remember that we buy wholesale and sell retail.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby Not your average framer » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:05 pm

Whatever you decide to do, you do need to make it clear to your customer that the presence of mould on the print, has plenty of potential to completely ruin the value of the print, if left in that condition for a long enough period of time. You only need enough humidity in the air and the mould growth can return. To not get this mould treated and eradicated, does not make any sense to me.

Have you considered, how you would handle a legal action to recover the value of the print, if the mould completely ruined the print. The customer has taken this print to you, because you are a professional picture framer and it is reasonable to expect you to advise the customer about the risks. Your insurance company will also want to know how you have mitigated the risk of further damage iIn the event of a claim against you.

The arguement in court would be that the customer had reasonable expectations the your action would be those of an expert and professional. How are you going to defend yourself against such a claim? I suspect that any solicitor would not have much difficulty in making such as suggestion appear to be entirely reasonable. You need to show that you have not acted negligently.

You need to inform the customer of this situation and the ongoing risks, get him to decide what he wants you to do about it. Make sure that the customer signs off something detailing your advice and his instructions. Mail it to your self, so it get a post mark date on the envelope and don't open it when it gets posted to you, so it can be opened in court of law if there's a problem. Print out another copy of what you put into the envelope as an aid to remembering what is in the envelope.

This is not necessarily a trivial issue. Be smart and make sure that you cannot be blamed for any future consequences.
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Re: Mould / Contamination on Print

Postby theprint.ninja » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:53 pm

We spend a lot of time on issues like this with print, and normally we use a high resolution medium format 50mp camera to photograph to original artwork, then make alterations via Photoshop (if we can!), then create a fine art print for them. This was at least if the original artwork worsens they still have a safe image. We work a lot with museums doing this as well, and sometimes artwork cannot be saved (financially), so its best endeavour to salvage what you can!
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