Paper is a fascinating material. A favourite material used by artists, it can endure for centuries if properly made, handled and preserved. It can also be quickly destroyed by accident or through carelessness.
The process of making paper today is remarkably similar to methods used seven hundred years ago. Of course, modern machinery has increased manufacturing capacity and technology allows us to control quality, cost, longevity and other characteristics. Consistency and variety are our modern advantages but paper is still much the same as it has been all along.
A well-trained and experienced custom picture framer can help you preserve as well as present valuable paper items. However, some picture framers are not qualified in matters of preservation and may unwittingly cause damage or destruction. You must learn enough to judge the skill, knowledge, and integrity of your framer and others who handle your paper treasures. We, at Atelier Daniel, have over 30 years of experience with paper and have followed several courses on paper handling and conservation.
If your valuable paper item is already damaged, perhaps it can be repaired. Bring it to us and we will consult a qualified paper conservator (an educated specialist who knows the chemistry of papers, inks, and other related substances) to see what can be done to restore the work to its original condition.
Most of us handle paper every day, but know relatively little about its care and preservation. Paper has more “enemies” now than at any time in history. This brief overview is intended to improve your awareness of potential hazards and help you prevent their harmful effects.
Choose good quality paper. Paper made of 100% rag is intended for permanence and is recommended for artworks. Good quality alpha-cellulose papers, with chemical buffers against acids, are also suitable.
Avoid most copier papers, Kraft papers, newsprint, construction papers, recycled papers, and others of questionable content and longevity. Generally, inherent faults cannot be corrected, although the effects of acid can be slowed by addition of chemical buffers during manufacture, or later by a qualified conservator.