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Re: Matting/Framing, etc.
> From: Patricia Figliola Lewis <email@example.com>
> Subject: Matting/Framing, etc.
> Hi Everyone --
> This is *more* than a bit of topic, so pls accept my apology now (or hit
> delete!!) <SNIP>
Don't worry. Even alt photographers mat and frame work ;-)
> So, two things.
> First, until I get a little more up to speed (see "Second") on how to do
> matting and framing myself, any advice on what qualities to look for in a
> shop -- aside from price and being nice to someone who will be asking a lot
> of questions? Since I do sx-70 manipulations, most of my work is just "off"
> square -- so pre-cut mats won't work for me. <SNIP>
A few comments.
One: having a "shop" do your mats gets expensive quickly. That I know from
early experience! It isn't that hard to do your own.
Two: If you are intending to sell to upscale clients and/or galleries be
aware that in the states you will be expected to use "Museum Board" (AKA rag
board). Yes it is "limiting" and "dull", but it is the expected "norm".
Museum board commonly comes in "Buffered" (great for silver prints), and
"unbufferd" (less common but better for cyanotypes, cibachromes, and
others). I don't know what type is best for "roids".
> Oh, one last thing -- I went walking aound DC's Eastern Market on Sunday and
> looked at peoples' various presentations of their work to get ideas. I saw
> that a lot of mats did not "fit" the work perfectly -- there was a border of
> bare paper around the print -- so maybe I am being too anal retentive about
> mat opening size. . .if my stuff is usually almost square, maybe as long as
> I size it to fit within the square with a certain amount of bare paper
> showing, that is ok??<SNIP>
That is a "window mat" and is both common and very acceptable. You should
either have equal borders on all four sides of the work, or equal on three
sides and slightly larger on the bottom to leave room for signature and/or
edition numbers. I typically leave 3/8 inch on three sides and 1/2 inch on
bottom for signiture.
> Thanks so much! Again, I know this is a long email and I am very sorry if I
> have overstepped even the bounds of "off topic".
My best source for matting / framing gear is Light Impressions
They use to have free brochures on using a mat cutter. Really not a lot to
it, after a few tries you'll be a pro. When I demonstrate it to my darkroom
students, they learn it in one night.
If you buy a mat cutter, don't buy more than a "mid" priced one. The
expensive ones are slightly quicker and set up for "production work", but
they do not produce a "better" mat.
If you have a wholesale (state tax) license, you might check for the
wholesale framing supplier in a large town, often MUCH cheaper place to buy
For reference, buying from a wholesaler, an 11x14 inch window mat and
backing board made out of 4 ply museum board and linen tape hinge costs me
about $2.80 US.