DIY Framing - Blog

Mountcutting and Decoration.

26th January 2011 - Ben Boswell

Mount Cutting and DecorationI have had a very basic attitude to mounting up to now, I have cut single mounts for virtually everything I have framed and recently nearly every one of them has been in a textured ivory coloured board. I guess then that it was with a little scepticism that I set off for the Mount Cutting and Decoration course, part of an Art and Photography Framing Weekend. Well I got that seriously wrong, I think I will be changing my mounting completely from now on to incorporate some of the techniques learned on this great course (and I’m not just saying that because I work here… I seriously believe that I will add value to my wife’s prints by mounting them better!)

MountcuttingA slightly smaller class today, 3 of the participants from the Basics of Framing day were having a day off, probably sitting in their living rooms looking at the great work they had done the day before. The other 7 people were back for mountcutting. We had cut a single mount the day before, to give us something mounted to put in a frame, but a single mount – I now see – is often a missed opportunity.

Whatever you motivation for framing, the aim is to make the work in the frame look as good as it possibly can. I’ll admit that sometimes that will mean close-framing, just putting a rim and glass around a picture, but more often it involves giving the picture some space. Mounting is that space but it also gives you the opportunity to emphasise a colour in the picture by selecting your mount colour accordingly. This is where the fun starts. Linnette started us off with a simple ‘double mount’, 2 sheets of mount board, the front one with a slightly larger hole cut out of it. Looking at the picture, mounted behind these two layers it has more ‘gravitas’, it like you have made it look more important.

Double MountThis relatively simple additional skill opens up such a huge range of possibilities, alone it will revolutionise the way I work. It is so important because of the huge range of boards available with characteristics that can be complementary or contrasting. There are boards in different colours and textures, there are black and white core boards, metallic and suedette. In the past I would have steered clear of many of these as being overpowering but if you can have a narrow strip as part of your mount design then suddenly the garish becomes subtle.

Then, if these huge opportunities are not enough you can also add third and fourth layers, varying the spacing as well as the colours! If you hadn’t guessed, I was pretty excited about the possibilities that I could see opening up for me…

Deep Beveled MountJust when I thought I could take no more excitement Linnette got us all to stop what we were doing to show us how to make deep bevelled mounts using decorative tape over foamcore, this is much more fiddly but with care gives a really interesting effect and introduces yet another variable of colour or texture.

Cutting OvalsThis was a fascinating day, learning these new skills, being shown how to use an oval mountcutter, how to make ‘fancy’ corners, how to lay out a mount for multiple apertures, what techniques can be combined to make even wider choices. Some of this was going over things I have been doing already but it was great to know that I was doing it right. The remainder though, especially the double mounts will certainly change the ‘default’ way that I approach the mounting I do.

At the end of this second day I was enthused and the other students were standing around chatting and comparing the work they had done over the day, the obviously felt the same, that they had really learned something that would make a difference to what they were going to do.

Thanks Linnette, and again thanks to the students who put up with me taking pictures and were such good fun throughout the two days.

A nice job3 different styles

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