How long does it take to have a work framed, and do you do rush orders?
Yes, we do rush orders if we can. Typically frames take from two to six weeks to complete, depending on how busy we are and the nature of the work.
Do you pick up and deliver?
Yes. We pick up and deliver in Manhattan for a modest charge—for other locations we can recommend art transport companies. Our truck is air-conditioned and alarmed.
How do you store an artwork that I leave with Bark Frameworks?
Flat works on paper are stored in folios, wrapped in acid free interleaving paper or acid free glassine. We stock archival boxes, such as Solander boxes, for storage of three dimensional works, and we make special containers when needed. Our Registrars keep track of work from the time we receive it until it is picked up or delivered. The entire building is air conditioned in summer and humidified in winter; it is constantly monitored. Our facility is all concrete construction, and we have a high quality intrusion alarm system. We keep work safe when it’s in our care. see Working with Us
Will you design a frame for a specific work of art, or must one choose from your stock profiles?
One of our great pleasures is to design a unique frame for a work of art. We design and make new frames every week, and often the frame design is used just once. We also stock mouldings that we have designed. These can be modified or used as originally designed.
Do you make gilded frames, carved frames and frames with composition ornament?
We do, and we welcome such work. Our gilders are skilled at traditional water gilding and our designers are adept at utilizing gilding for a wide range of frame designs. We use carving and compo less often, but they too are in our repertoire. We do not however, make reproductions of period frames, such as those known as Louis XIV or Louis XV frames.
What about French mats? Do you make them?
Yes. Though one associates French mats with Old Master drawings, they can be effectively used with late 19th century and modern works. We are familiar with the development of lined mats from Vasari forward. Recently we made a dozen such mats for a set of eighteenth century mezzotints, a departure from our usual period, and a welcome one. see 18th Century Mezzotints
Can you reproduce an existing frame?
Usually we can. If you send us a picture, we should be able to tell whether or not we can reproduce it.
Can you frame very large or unusual artworks?
Yes and we often do. We have found sources for over-sized materials, and we have developed methods for all aspects of making frames for large artworks. In order to make large seamless panels, we have had our own 100% rag paper made in 79” wide rolls; there is no other paper this wide available anywhere. Our facility is large and open, our elevator was built to hold trucks, and where needed we have cut slots in walls when our doors are not large enough. We frame “unusual” artworks routinely, and welcome the challenge.
Do you perform conservation services?
We do some frame conservation but no fine art conservation. Since we consult with conservators regularly and discuss with them conservation and framing issues for mutual clients, we have many relationships in the field. We are happy to make our facility available to them to inspect works and even to perform conservation treatments if necessary, especially if the works are very large. We do not intrude between conservators and their clients, however. Discussions of condition and treatment of the work should take place directly between conservator and client.
Do you perform services other than framing, such as mounting of photographs, crate making, photography of artwork?
We do not mount photographs, though we work with mounters and if our clients prefer it, we will handle transportation to and from the mounting studio. We rarely make crates, and though we photograph works of art for documentation (such as a signature or date on the verso of a work), we do not make studio photographs. We do store art but only for our framing clients and our space is limited. By and large, we prefer to keep to our core expertise, which comprises framing and other means of displaying works of art, such as easel, base and pedestal making. We try to aid our clients in any way possible in their search for, and dealings with, related professions.
Do you frame art from periods other than modern and contemporary?
Yes we do, though our primary focus has been in framing works of art from the Impressionist period forward. We are called upon occasionally to frame earlier European works, especially when conservation concerns are pre-eminent. Photography, from its inception through the present, is one of our specialties as well. We welcome the opportunity to frame works from other traditions: Japanese and Chinese scrolls, Tibetan thangkas and Native American leather and beadwork are all works with which we have considerable experience. Tiles, mosaics, and other objects, among them recently a Louis Sullivan elevator door, are among those for which we have designed special hardware and frames.
How does “preservation framing” differ from regular commercial framing?
The basic issues are materials and methods. Preservation methods typically take longer, require a more experienced practitioner and should be continually reviewed to conform to current standards in the conservation field. The materials of preservation framing are chosen to be benign in proximity to works of art over time, to be protective when so required, and to be stable and utterly predictable in their properties. A good example is the “hinge”, a simple paper device that holds a work on paper in place in the frame. A preservation quality hinge is made from stable papers whose characteristics are well known: usually Japanese papers are preferred. And the best adhesive is made fresh in the frame shop, from either wheat or rice starch and distilled water. To make and use such a hinge is time consuming and requires skillful technique. Since hinging is the point where works are most often damaged by framing, the effort is worth it.
Are archival pressure sensitive tapes safe to use in hinging fine art?
We think all pressure sensitive tapes are unsafe for hinging valuable works of art. The Library of Congress states on their website in Preservation/Collections Care, “In most instances, the object can be hinged with long-fibered Japanese tissue adhered with wheat or rice starch paste. There is no known pressure-sensitive adhesive suitable for hinging an object.” To read more go to Hinging.
Do all light sources do equal damage to art materials?
No. Sunlight is the brightest light source with the most UV. Fluorescent lights, including CFLs, can cause significant UV damage as well. Tungsten incandescent lamps emit very little UV, but tungsten halogen lamps often emit significant UV. LEDs emit no UV but there is some concern that they may pose a risk in the visual spectrum.
For more information on this topic see this Preservation Leaflet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center
Which is better for framing: glass or acrylic?
UV blocking acrylic is excellent: virtually unbreakable, light weight and inexpensive. It is the most commonly used glazing material for preservation framing. But with its advantages come some problems such as static charge and distorted reflections. There are a number of other issues and options though. Read More in Glazing.
If I specify glazing that blocks the invisible UV part of the spectrum should I still be concerned about visible light levels?
Yes. Blocking the invisible UV light is important, but all light causes degradation of organic materials and sunlight most of all. To read more see Sources of Light.
Does UV shielded acrylic lose its effectiveness with age?
Our tests demonstrate that UV acrylic continues to effectively block UV after 25 years. Presumably acrylic retains this property for many more years than that. Read more
Does acrylic become yellow over time?
No. Or if it does, the yellowing is undetectable by the human eye. Years ago, after long exposure to light, acrylic yellowed. This hasn’t been true for acrylic manufactured in the past several decades.
What are the advantages of laminated glass?
When glass shatters, shards and splinters are likely to tear into framed works. Laminated glass functions like auto windshield glass, holding the sheet together and limiting potential damage. UV blocking material is often added to the laminating layer, making laminated glass a very useful frame glazing option.
Are high or low temperatures damaging to works of art?
High temperatures should be avoided. Keeping materials in cold storage slows down aging processes, and high temperature conditions cause organic materials to age faster. Fluctuating temperatures lead to variations in relative humidity, which poses a serious risk to works of art. Read more on humidity and heat
Does glazing protect works from changes in humidity?
Yes. Glass and acrylic, by insulating framed work from the environment, reduce and slow the impact of changes in humidity.