Summer can be a wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a challenging season for art collectors and creators. With the heat, humidity, and sunlight, it is crucial to protect your artworks during the summer months.
The team at Creative Native indigenous art gallery has put together this guide that provides tips on how to protect your artworks and ensure they remain in good condition as well as what you should do in the event your artwork ever does become damaged.
Proper storage is essential in protecting your artworks. Heat, moisture, and direct sunlight can cause irreversible damage to your artwork. Therefore, storing your artwork in a cool and dry place is essential.
Avoid placing your artworks near windows or heat sources, as this can cause warping, fading, or discolouration. Instead, choose a cool, dry, and dark place to store your artwork. You can also use protective sleeves or acid-free archival boxes to keep your artwork safe from dust, moisture, and other harmful elements.
UV-protective glass or acrylic is an excellent way to protect your artwork from fading or discolouration caused by sunlight. UV radiation can cause irreversible damage to your artwork, and overexposure can cause the colours to fade or change over time.
Therefore, it is essential to choose UV-protective glass or acrylic when framing or displaying your artwork. This type of glass or acrylic filters out harmful UV rays and protects your artwork from damage.
Control humidity levels
High humidity levels can cause mould, warping, and other damage to your artwork. Therefore, it is essential to control the humidity levels in your home or studio. You can use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce the humidity levels in your space. Keep the humidity level between 45% to 55% to prevent damage to your artwork. You can also use a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in your space.
Handle artwork with care
When handling your artwork, be careful not to touch the surface with your hands, as oils and dirt can damage it. Use gloves or a clean cloth to handle the artwork. Avoid bending or folding the artwork, as this can cause creases and damage to the paper or canvas. When transporting your artwork, use protective packaging to prevent damage.
Avoid exposure to water
Water can cause significant damage to your artwork. It can cause warping, staining, or mould growth. Therefore, it is essential to avoid placing your artwork near water sources or exposing it to moisture. If your artwork gets wet, blot it gently with a clean cloth and allow it to air dry.
Consider professional conservation
If you have valuable or fragile artworks, consider consulting a professional conservator to assess their condition and provide advice on proper handling, storage, and conservation. A professional conservator can help you identify potential issues and recommend solutions to protect your artwork from damage.
Monitor your artwork regularly
Check your artwork regularly for signs of damage or deterioration, such as fading, discolouration, warping, or mould growth. Address any issues immediately to prevent further damage. Regular monitoring of your artwork can help you catch potential issues early and take the necessary steps to protect your artwork.
Keep artwork away from air vents
Air vents can cause rapid fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels, which can be harmful to your artwork. Therefore, it's best to keep your artwork away from air vents to prevent damage. If possible, choose a storage location that is not near an air vent. If you must store your artwork near an air vent, use a protective covering, such as a sheet of acid-free paper or cloth, to shield it from direct airflow.
Overcrowding your artwork can cause damage due to friction and pressure. Make sure to leave enough space between your artworks to prevent them from rubbing against each other. This will also help to improve air circulation and reduce the risk of damage due to humidity or temperature changes. If you have limited space, consider investing in additional storage options, such as shelves or cabinets.
Use acid-free materials
When storing or framing your artwork, make sure to use acid-free materials, such as acid-free mat boards and archival paper. Acidic materials can cause discolouration, staining, and deterioration over time. Acid-free materials will help to preserve the quality and longevity of your artwork. Be sure to also use acid-free adhesives when mounting your artwork to prevent damage from the adhesive.
Keep artwork out of direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can cause irreversible damage to your artwork, such as fading and discolouration. Therefore, it's essential to keep your artwork out of direct sunlight. You can use window shades or curtains to block sunlight from your artwork. You can also choose a storage location that is not near a window or choose a UV-protective glass or acrylic for framing.
Be mindful of insects
Insects, such as moths and silverfish, can cause significant damage to your artwork. They can eat away at paper and fabrics, leaving holes and stains. Therefore, it's essential to be mindful of insects when storing your artwork. Keep your storage area clean and free of debris that may attract insects. Consider using insect repellent or traps to keep insects away from your artwork.
Use humidity control products
Humidity control products, such as silica gel packets, can help to regulate the humidity levels in your storage area. Silica gel packets absorb moisture from the air, which can help to prevent mould growth and warping. Be sure to replace the silica gel packets regularly, as they will become saturated over time.
Store artwork flat
Storing artwork flat can help to prevent warping and bending. If your artwork is large, consider using a flat storage system, such as a flat file cabinet or portfolio. If you must store your artwork upright, make sure to support it with acid-free cardboard or foam board to prevent bending.
What should you do if your artwork has become damaged?
If your artwork has become damaged, it can be a distressing experience, especially if the artwork is of significant value or sentimental importance. The first step when dealing with damaged artwork is to assess the extent of the damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to consult with a professional art conservator or restorer.
Here are some general steps you can take if your artwork has become damaged:
- Remove the artwork from the area where it was damaged to prevent further damage. If the damage is due to water or moisture, remove the artwork from the area and place it in a dry, well-ventilated space. This will prevent mould or mildew from developing and causing further damage.
- Document the damage by taking photographs or notes, including the location and extent of the damage. This documentation will be helpful when consulting with a professional art conservator or restorer and for insurance purposes.
- Identify the cause of the damage, such as water, mould, insects, or physical impact. This will help you determine the best course of action for repairing or restoring the artwork.
- Determine whether the damage can be repaired or restored. If the damage is minor, such as a small tear or scratch, you may be able to repair it yourself using archival tape or other conservation materials. However, it's important to remember that attempting to repair or restore artwork without the proper knowledge or tools can cause further damage. If you are unsure how to proceed or if the damage is significant, consult with a professional art conservator or restorer.
- If the damage is significant, consult with a professional art conservator or restorer. They will be able to assess the damage and provide recommendations for restoration or repair. Professional art conservators and restorers have the knowledge, expertise, and tools necessary to properly repair and restore artwork, ensuring that the artwork is returned to its original condition.
It's important to remember that preventative measures can be taken to protect artwork from damage in the first place. By following the tips mentioned above in this guide, hopefully, you will never need to take steps to repair or restore your artwork.
In conclusion, protecting your artworks during the summer months requires a combination of preventative measures, proper storage, handling, and display, and vigilance to detect any signs of damage. Whether you are an artist or an art enthusiast, the value and importance of your artwork cannot be overstated, and taking the necessary steps to protect it can ensure that it remains in excellent condition for years to come.
By following the tips outlined in this article, you can safeguard your artworks from damage caused by exposure to sunlight, heat, humidity, and other environmental factors. You can also take proactive measures to ensure that your artwork remains secure and protected, whether it is being transported, displayed, or stored.
Finally, if your artwork has become damaged despite your best efforts, remember that it's always best to consult with a professional art conservator or restorer. They will be able to assess the damage and provide recommendations for repair or restoration, ensuring that your artwork is returned to its original condition.
Overall, protecting your artworks requires a combination of knowledge, care, and attention to detail. By investing the time and effort to properly care for your artworks, you can enjoy them for years to come and preserve them for future generations to appreciate.
If you’re interested in investing in Aboriginal art, consult with the team at Creative Native indigenous art gallery. We can help you navigate the world of Aboriginal art and guide you through the process of selecting and acquiring pieces that speak to you. Or, browse our gallery to view our diverse collection of high-quality indigenous artworks.