Deep in the hell of mat cutting


Coffee toned Cyanotype, from the "Verba" series

I hate cutting mats.  I love the clean look of a finished picture with a nice mat around it and a simple frame.  Reconciling those two things is difficult when I’m the one doing the cutting. 

The days are ticking down and my show is getting close – that means I need to finish up and get everything matted, mounted, cleaned (the frames, that is) and framed.   I’m getting there, one little persnickity 11×14 mat at a time.  I have a neat little Logan mat cutting machine, but I’ve learned the hard way that the guides don’t quite line up.  That means if I do things the easy way and set the guides instead of painstakingly outlining the exact lines, I end up with a warped looking mat.  The only thing worse than cutting 25 small mats is doing it twice.

I’m having some small worries about the prints themselves.  As much as I try to flatten them, I still end up with a slight curl to the edges.  Since I’m planning to mount them with a T hinge (as opposed to taping the whole darn thing down) I’m worried that the curl will make the prints warp in the frame. 

It would be nice if I could justify paying someone else to deal with this mess.  Since I haven’t “made it” yet, I guess I’m stuck with forcing the cyanotype prints to play nice.  I shouldn’t complain, really, this show is a massive blessing.  Now, if I can just convince my aching wrists of that.


3 thoughts on “Deep in the hell of mat cutting

  1. I sure can identify with your distaste for cutting mats. Like you I also like the clean look of a good mat and simple frame.

    Last few years I have gotten around the mat cutting issue by not doing mats, but mounting my prints ‘floating’, especially those done on watercolor paper, in metal, shadowbox frames from ‘American Frame.’

    • That’s a great idea – the floating look is modern and clean as well. Now…just have to fix my brush strokes so that would work – I’m ashamed to admit my brushstrokes are rather horrible.

  2. With the Cyanotype test prints I have been doing lately, I have coated the entire sheet of paper, and I think it actually looks pretty good, and sure would look good in a shadow box frame.

    One thing I like about the ‘American Frame’ web site is that you can pick a frame and upload a small version of your image, and test to see how it might look in that frame. Not perfect, but nice:

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