Sunday, 3 November 2013

The passe-partout, or, how to mount your artwork.

So, my current project is to figure out how to mount my own prints. In the past I have always had them done professionally by the same guy that framed them as well. So, this is a cost cutting exercise, but of course, I have to make sure it's done to a really high standard, as I'm going to be selling these prints to the public!

Of course, I did what every self-respecting person who wants to learn a new skill would do... I looked on You Tube! At first I was a bit discouraged, as none of the videos seemed to be quite what I wanted. Lots of the videos concerned something called dry mounting, which I realised wasn't the technique for me, partly because it involved lots of expensive equipment that I didn't possess. So I did a bit more digging, and realised that what I wanted was a window mount, like so:

 Some people use what's called the hinge method, which I think is particularly good if you want to preserve the photograph as much as possible and not rule out the possibility of re-mounting it in the future. It's kind of fiddly though:

Finally, I found a video that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. The only problem, it's in French. However, the visual instructions are so clear I don't think it really matters. Check it out:
The clip refers a lot to the "passe-partout" which I only recently discovered is the name of the bit that's called the "mat" in the diagrams above. I found this out on my recent trip to Budapest, where I went to visit a friend of my mother-in-law called Katalin Albert, who is actually a professional passe-partout maker. It seems like a weird thing to specialise in, but she has elevated it to an art form all it's own, finding very special vintage and handmade papers, textiles and even small 3D objects to decorate that area, and in some cases transforming the original artwork into something new or more complex. Unfortunately there are very few examples of her work on the internet, but here's the little I managed to find on her website.
I might try and do something elaborate like this with some of my prints one of these days, but for now I'll be happy if I can just master the basics!

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