In the following blogs I will try to explain the various components which make up a traditional picture frame. The four most important framing components are the moulding (material of the frame, the mat board (the surround or passe par tout), the glaze and backing. The moulding is purely aesthetic, whereas the glazing, matting and backing serve a critical function in conservation of the art.
Lets start with The Frame
In regular jargon frame generally refers to the entire compilation of the moulding, glazing, backing and the art work. The more technical term for the frames is actually the moulding, which refers to just the material of the frame is made of. Most frames are made of either wood, metal, or plastic and comes in hundreds of different designs.
Frames come in long sticks usually 8-12 feet in length. The sticks of framing are then cut to size and joined together. The moulding come with a rabbet ( a thin groove of about 1/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch in depth) where the glazing, mat, artwork and backing components fit in. The thickness of the rabbet is important to consider if your art work is very thick ( like a canvas).
The most important decision in framing is the material and the style (design and finish ). Plastic is often the cheapest, and lowest quality (great improvements have been made). Some plastics or polystyrene are difficult to tell the difference from wood as a pre-assembled frame however the selection is limited.. The choice between metal and wood is mostly dependent on the look you are trying to achieve.
Wood has a more traditional look, and offers many shapes and designs. Metal provides a more modern, sharp and bold look. Metal is particularly stunning in black and white art.
With frames as with all the art work components it's important not to distract from the art itself. The frames are meant to complement and enhance, so a simple black or white wooden frame is great for most art. In galleries and art shows a white single or double mat with a basic frame is more the sufficient. White and black frames are the industries "bread and butter"