Author Julia Alvarez (In the Time of Butterfies, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) and her husband Bill Eichner, own a beautiful organic coffee plantation high in the shady mountains of Jarabacoa, DR. Much of the Dominican coffee exported is from this cool, foggy mountain.
For our 9 month session with the E,K,E family, we focused on the daily life stuff–Eilis standing on her own (she walked her first steps just days from these photos), how Elizabeth and Killian parent as a team, bath time, feeding time and whatever else came up. We went for a drive into Sonoma where Eilis found dogs, kitties and fun plants to enjoy! This was a 3 hour session broken up into three hour long sessions.
Labor of love by Alice Haberkorn and friends! The bees are extremely productive already and they may wind up with lots of honey to share their very first year!
You may already know that works on paper are very susceptible to chemical reactions that lead to the deterioration of the paper. Poor quality framing materials contain acids that can migrate to the artwork and cause discoloration such as foxing (brown spots that appear on the surface of the piece) and degradation. Glue, tape, certain plastics, contact with metal, non-acid free backings and the hinges used to attach the work to the backing, can harm paper. I know all of this sounds a little scary, but there are many simple steps you can take in order to preserve your artwork. First, all materials used in the framing process should be conservation quality. Be careful though, because many so called “acid-free” products are made from wood pulp that has been treated with an alkali buffer. While the acid content is reduced from these materials, it is not eliminated entirely. Eventually, the acid in the materials will reassert themselves and the damage to your artwork begins. Conservators use only 100% cotton rag mattes since cotton is 99% acid free. In order to prevent chemical damage to your artwork, your framing materials should have neutral pH of 7 with a 2% alkali reserve. The reserve serves as a buffer against the small amount of acid in the matte. Make some calls to local framers and ask them about the pH and reserve percentage of their acid-free mattes. Any reputable framer will know this information about their products.
When hinges are applied to the artwork to attach it to the backing, take care that they are also acid free, break-away (so that removing them won’t tear the paper) and that the glue used is “wheat starch paste.” Never use masking or pressure sensitive tape to attach work to the backing.
A glazing such as glass, Plexiglas or Perspex should be used when framing works on paper but be sure that a spacer is used to prevent the work from touching the glazing. Perspex is an unbreakable plastic material but is expensive and can scratch easily. While work can be irreparably damaged by broken glass, the risk tends to be higher in areas with seismic activity. Glass, rather than Perspex, should be used on powdery works such as charcoals and pastels since plastics have a static charge that can actually remove the media from the paper. Again, make sure that any glazing you use for any piece is conservation quality. Conservation glass and conservation Plexiglas filters 97 to 99% of harmful UV rays that can cause your piece to fade quickly. Remember from childhood what happens to construction paper when it is exposed to light? The same could occur with your watercolor or the signature on an important historical document. Also remember that oil paintings should never have any glazing put in front of them since oils continue to emit chemicals throughout the life of the painting.
The frame you choose for the piece should not only fit the genre and appearance of the work, but should also be slightly larger than the work itself to allow for expansion and contraction of the artwork. Cutting a piece of artwork to fit a frame is not recommended because the piece will immediately lose value. Finally, every piece should have an acid-free, paper backing to prevent dust, insects and other contaminants from entering the piece while still allowing the piece to breathe.
Even with all of these precautions, it is still advisable to have your pieces evaluated every five to seven years to assess any damage that might be occurring. Your artwork should last for a lifetime and beyond if you are proactive with your preservation efforts!
Copyright Keesha Davis 2003. All rights reserved.