Friday, August 24, 2012

New Mat Board Collections Coming Soon!

Today I am pleased to announce the introduction of a whole new line of Bainbridge mat boards that will soon be available at!  

This move allows us to provide a broader range of products plus faster, more efficient service, all while keeping prices low. 

Currently we carry two archival Bainbridge products:  AlphaRag® and AlphaEssentials® lines with ArtCare Technology.  Many of you are familiar with their museum quality and impressive color choices.  ArtCare products are the only ones on the market that go beyond “acid-free”, providing active protection to your artwork by absorbing acids which cause chemical degradation.  
Now we are adding the following product lines:
·  Bainbridge TopMat® with ArtCare Technology to replace Crescent Select 6-pl
·  Bainbridge Alphamat® to replace Crescent Select; will include some new linen textures
·  Bainbridge  Papermat®, to replace Crescent Berkshire Cream Core
·   Bainbridge NovaCore®, to replace Berkshire White Core; also adds five new Black Core choices

In total, we will be offering six different mat board lines in 150 colors with various archival properties, textures, thicknesses, cores and price points to suit a wide variety of framing needs.

Some of the goals of the mat change were to add new colors which satisfy current design trends, find the best substitutes for our most popular colors in the old line and to make identifying these popular colors as easy as possible.  To those ends, our experts handpicked the new selection and created a chart (soon to be posted) that cross references colors from the old and new lines.  In some cases, the matches are exact and in others they are close as possible.  As always, feel free to double check your choices by requesting free samples.  

So, this week we welcome our new shipment from Bainbridge!  Once received, the shelves will be stocked, the color swatches photographed and uploaded to our website, new item numbers assigned, mat samples cut for distribution and advertisements updated.  We expect to go “live” online with our new selections on or before Sept. 17.

This changeover has required quite a bit of coordination and we thank those of you have been patient with us through this process.  We hope you are pleased with the result.  If you have any questions or concerns, please email or contact me directly at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tools of the Trade: EconoSpace Artwork Spacers

We frame both to display our artwork at its best and to protect and preserve it.  One key element of this protection and preservation is making sure that the acrylic glazing (the glass-like sheet that covers your art) doesn’t lay directly on the artwork.  If it does, most artwork, even photographs, will eventually stick to the acrylic due to lack of airflow.  The airspace also helps prevent mold growth, paper buckling and image transfer to the acrylic. 

See how the spacer fits between the art and the acrylic.
Simply run the spacers along the interior of the acrylic where they will sit on top of the art.
The lip of the frame will keep the spacers from view.  

In many treatments, the mat does the job of creating airspace between the acrylic glazing and the art.  But what if you’re framing without a mat or would rather float your art for a different visual effect?  Easy: use an EconoSpace artwork spacer instead.  These square rods are specifically made to fit invisibly under the lip of any metal or wood frame, between the acrylic glazing and the art.  Made of pH-neutral acrylic, the spacers bond to the treatment’s acrylic glazing via a super-simple peel and stick design. 

EconoSpace spacers can be used to frame any paper art or document, including photographs, watercolors and pastels.  The spacers are available in 2 sizes.  The 1/8 inch spacer comes in clear only. The ¼ inch spacer is available in clear and black.  Black comes in particularly handy when floating art on a black mounting board. 

Both sizes can be ordered in lengths of 2’, 3’ and 5’ and are easily cut with scissors or a utility knife. Each bundle has 12 sticks per color, size and length.

To see an EconoSpace spacer in action, check out our video featuring yours truly. If I can do it, really, anyone can!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

An 'Ask Mike' Question from Marco

May I take advantage of your expertise to clarify some doubts regarding the correct way to frame fine artwork and protect it.

I have a question re: Acrylic plexi-glass with UV protection. Which is the best to use if the artwork is colorful; the UV acrylic or the UV non-glare acrylic?

Answer: This is a common question for which there is no correct answer.The NG (non-glare) does slightly soften the colors, but glare and reflection can also interfere with the viewing of the artwork. Your choice depends on the look you’d like to achieve.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Where in room will art be displayed?  Hang something that is already framed in that spot to see if there is glare/reflection from surrounding lighting. Then, consider the viewing distance. Glare may not be a problem if the art is to be viewed from several feet away.

Another helpful trick to help you decide is to order a small sample of each type of acrylic. Place them side by side on art to see how each type looks.

Second Question: Acrylic plexi-glass UV: which is the best thickness to use especially if the artwork to frame have a big size (32x25) to avoid waves effect 3/32" or 1/8"?

The 3/32 will work and is also less expensive.Our acrylic is 3/32” works well for our customers.  If your project is hanging where people might be touching the acrylic a lot, then use the 1/8, as the thicker acrylic as it has less flex.

Let me know if you have anymore questions,


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Featured Artist Liz London

Liz London is a mixed media collage artist currently based in Dallas, Texas.  Originally from Oklahoma City, London migrated to Dallas because of its vibrant art community. 

“I have art in my DNA,” she says.  Her mother was a fine artist and her father owned a commercial design firm.  He brought her in on the business when he was doing custom art pieces for commercial interiors like nightclubs and restaurants.  “We did themed art.  For example, we might do nightclub called Sherlock Holmes using elements based on that theme.”

As a fine artist, London’s medium utilizes photographs, acrylic paint, and hand made paper.  She works on different types of surfaces, including board and canvas.  “Everything is free-flowing, intuitive.”

Living in Texas, London has seen a lot of horses, which inspired her to create the featured image, “Two Horses,” also made of gold leaf foil, various papers and acrylic.  The original sold at the Women’s Museum  in Dallas (since closed) affiliated with The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

London sells her originals through her websites, and

Because she believes framing “can make or break a piece,” she comes to American Frame.  “I like to frame with a color that highlights a color in the art.  American Frame’s huge selection of frames and mats mean I can always find the right one for the art.”

For her own work, London often chooses canvas floaters.  “I like the emphasis to stay on the art, and I think floating the image in the frame achieves that.”

We framed “Two Horses” with our Antigua line, a collection of solid-wood mouldings with a dark brown, acid-washed finish highlighted in umber.  Substantial enough to hold its own with the vibrant colors and rich texture of London’s work, this frame also offers an old-world, Spanish vibe that complements the art’s subject.  Three mats create depth and interest.  The bottom mat in “bottle blue” is vanishingly slim—only 1/8” of it shows.  This very subtle touch brings the blues in the center of the image out to the edge and creates a crisp border for the swirling strokes in the art.  The middle mat in “toasted almond” has a ½” reveal and reads as the relief before the dominant mat, which is a darker neutral “khaki” with a reveal over 2”.  Overall the treatment reads as a warm neutral, echoing the image without distracting from it.

Here are the materials and related cost details for this beautiful reproduction at

Two Horses (11” x 18 1/8) $20.00, framed in Antigua in Dark Brown Metallic AT3335 (16 ¾” x 23 7/8”) $33.92. The bottom mat is Bottle Blue (white core) CBW334 (16 ¾” x 23 7/8”) with 3" borders $7.31, middle mat Toasted Almond (white core) CBW239(16 ¾” x 23 7/8”) with 2 7/8" $7.31, and top mat Khaki (white core) CBW92 (16 ¾” x 23 7/8”) with 2 3/8" borders, 7.31. It is printed on Arches Aquarelle 310 DPAA310 (11” x 18 1/8”) $27.10, protected with standard acrylic $12.99 and dry-mounted $3.83 on standard foam core backing, $5.10. Total cost: $124.87

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