It seems every type of product or business has its own language. If you want to understand the language of art and custom framing, look though this alphabetized glossary.
This week we'll tackle A to G:
The mats called acid-free have been purified to neutralize the acidity. Although this is good, this type of mat is not a substitute for rag or alpha-cellulose mats when you want to adhere to conservation standards.
Acrylic is an alternative instead of glass. It doesn’t break as easily and is somewhat lighter in weight, especially in larger sizes. People often say Plexiglas when they should say acrylic. Plexiglas is a brand name.
When frames are made, they are cut slightly larger than the size desired. This provides space so anything that is the actual size will drop into the frame.
A type of coated glass that greatly reduces reflection without distorting the art behind it.
When the window is cut into the mat, the blade cuts at an angle, exposing part of the mat’s core.
When the border beneath the art is wider than the border above and beside it.
Rubber or felt pads that are placed on the bottom two corners of the frame. These provide an air space behind the frame and help keep the frame straight on the wall.
An irregular growth at the bottom of a tree. It is cut into thin veneer and applied to frames. Burl comes from a very small section of the tree so the pieces of veneer are short. On one length of frame moulding, numerous pieces of burl are laid end to end so seams are expected and a part of the look.
A technique used with gold leaf to create a lustrous sheen
A substrate used to paint or print on.
A frame moulding profile that is narrow across the face and deep from front to back. Caps are generally 1” to 1 ½” in depth.
A frame moulding profile having a flat panel with raised edges at the front and back.
A colored clay, applied in liquid form, to the moulding before it is leafed. When the leaf is later burnished, a portion of the gold rubs away, allowing some of the clay color to show through. This adds depth to the frame’s finish.
The standard type of glass used in frames.
Closed Corner Frame
Frames that are assembled prior to being finished so the corners are seamless.
A composite substance that ornamental patterns are molded into to decorate frames.
Glass with filtering properties to block harmful ultraviolet rays.
The use of preservation materials and techniques to protect artwork.
A mat border made from two layers of matboard. The two layers can be the same color but are often different colors.
To deliberately mar the surface of the frame moulding to give the effect of age.
A process for adhering prints to rigid backings using heat activated adhesives.
A paper backing used to finish off the back of the frame.
When the mat borders above and below the art are wider than the borders on either side.
A mat that has a fabric surface instead of the typical paper surface.
A narrow moulding used as an accent. Fillets can be placed inside mat openings or in the lip of frames.
Finished Corner Frame
The same as a closed corner frame.
A type of moulding used for framing canvases. The art is set into the frame from the front so none of the surface is covered.
To place the art on top of the mat rather than in a window behind the mat. Sometimes the art sits directly on the mat but it is often raised off it to add depth.
A board used to mount prints to or used as a backing.
When the four pieces of moulding are assembled, it becomes a frame.
A traditional form of mat decoration, originated in France. A watercolor wash is applied within a panel and ink lines are placed around it. Some French mats are simple and others quite elaborate.
When artwork continues from the front surface of a stretched canvas down the sides.
A plaster substance applied to frame moulding to create a smooth base prior to applying the finish.
A popular method used to produce fine art prints.
Applying gold leaf to the surface of the frame. The two primary types used are water gilding and oil gilding.
A generic term used for covering art and mats with glass or acrylic
Drew is gallery director at Sunflower Fine Art Galleries, Mirrors and Expert Picture Framing, 172 7th Street, 516-747-7406.