Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Care for Original Prints

After selling my work to clients, I realized I didn't have any instructions to leave with them on how to take care of their woodcut prints. The following is a brief guideline on how to care for any original print.

How to Care for Original Prints

If properly cared for, an original fine print will survive for generations.

Handling and storage- Loose prints should be handled as little as possible with clean hands or white cotton conservator’s gloves. To avoid damaging or bending the paper, prints should be handled by two hands on opposing corners of the paper.
Don’t stack prints on top of each other unless they are separated by an acid free glassine paper. Avoid storing prints between low-grade acidic papers, as it will stain the prints over time. Store prints flat, in a temperature controlled room (air conditioning), away from smoke, and light. Storing in plastic envelopes is acceptable, but should not be airtight because they can trap damaging moisture.

Framing- When framing a print, never place the print directly against the glass. It must be separated from the glass by an acid free, 100 percent rag mat. Low-grade mats attract moisture, fungi, and parasitic organisms that will deteriorate and stain the print. Mount theprint to the mat by hinging it at the top with an archival linen tape. Acid free foam -core should be used to back the print in the frame. A UV filtering glass is recommended to prevent the print from fading over time. Sealing the back of the frame, or placing a dust cover on the back will prevent insects and dust from entering the frame.

Hanging framed prints- Do not hang original prints in direct sunlight, as they will fade and deteriorate over time. If the frame will hang beneath a flood or spotlight, consider upgrading to UV filtering glass. It is not recommended to hang, or store prints inhigh humidity areas, such as bathrooms, or basements where they can attract mold, mildew and/or insects like silverfish that destroy paper.

I hope this helps to provide you with basic information to care for fine prints on paper. Please add any other helpful tips you may have for conserving prints.

Referenced from "A Guide to the Collecting and Care of Original Prints" Carl Zigrosser and Christa M. Gaehde 1965 Crown Publishers

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