Framing/matting "damaged" prints--a suggestion


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Posted by Thomas Crossland on October 19, 1998 at 07:59:32:

To the many of you that may possess an old "ukiyoe" print which is unfortunately badly damaged around it's
edges, I offer the following suggestion as to how to deal with the missing corners, wormholes, and "ratty"
margins. You needn't always strive to mat over and hide all these imperfections; instead, reconsider the notion
that much of a print's appeal is due to it's "age" and it's age-related "flaws" can be shown without regrets.

One of my own very favorite woodblock prints is a "tattered" Kunisada which I stumbled upon while traveling by
bicycle in Japan last year. It became impractical to mat-over all of it's damaged edges without at the same time
covering up too much of the print itself, so instead I chose to "float" it from behind into the middle of the "depth"
offered by the one inch deep frame by placing several 1/4-inch foam core blocks behind to "float" it forwards
into the frame. (The oban sized--10 x 14 inch--print was first itself very lightly mounted upon an undersized--say,
9 x 13 inch--light tannish-colored backing mat to give it support.) Then, a complimenting "over-sized" front mat
(opening cut about 12 x 16 inches) was place FORWARD against the glass to provide a "window" through
which to view the inner "suspended" print. It has a very pleasing three-dimensional appearance, and gives new
artistic meaning to "ukiyo-e," which literally means "pictures of the floating world."

(If anyone is somewhat confused by my attempts to describe the above method, feel free to contact me at
crossland@proaxis.com for clarification.)


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