Float Mounting
1. Raised float

Float mounting allows an artwork to be shown in its entirety, with edges visible, where seeing the complete object is of interest.

Combined with box framing this is our most popular mounting choice.

Typically, float mounting would describe either a raised float whereby the artwork is elevated on the thickness of a mountcard or foam-core board, or a lay-on, where the artwork is hinged directly to, or through, a mount board with no additional raise.

The maker’s handling marks remain visible, the position of the work on the paper is evident, and so, if combined with a frame well-balanced in proportion and colour, it can offer a very pure way of seeing the work.

Image (top): Daisy Parris, 'I hope I Dream of You Tonight'. Splined maple box frame, artwork float mounted and raised on mount board.

Image (bottom): Julian Charrière, 'Tropisme, 2015'. White spray finished box frame, for Parasol Unit. Artwork float mounted and raised on mount board.

Float Mounting
2. Hinging techniques

For all mounting practices we use the highest quality archival and conservation materials that are chemically stable and reversible and so can live with, and later
be removed from the artwork without causing harm.

Float mounting requires paper or synthetic hinges to be adhered to the reverse of the artwork in several places. Where these hinges make contact, most often a water soluble wheat starch adhesive is applied.

Carefully tensioned hinges allow for minor changes in the shape of the artwork to be absorbed and redistributed without causing the object to distort.

For wet hinges we use Japanese kozo papers or museum quality pre-gummed tapes that are activated with de-ionised water. We rarely if ever use self-adhesive mounting tapes in contact with artwork. In some instances, where dry adhesives are more appropriate, we may use heat-activated museum quality mounting adhesives in combination with flexible hinges.

The number, type and positioning of hinges depends on factors like the weight of the artwork, the opacity of the material, evidence of cockling or waviness (where for example, hinges will make contact where the paper naturally meets with the mountboard).

Once securely affixed to the artwork, hinges are then wrapped around a supporting board, or sometimes threaded directly through a museum quality mountboard to achieve the desired floating effect.

In the case of valuable works, where wet or dry hinges are not appropriate, we would ideally revert to other presentation techniques (window mounting for example, where photo corners or sink-matting are possible). If it is however important to see the entirity of the work, it may be the case that the mounting technique will show.

Images: Faye Wei Wei, 'Thistle Flower, 2019' for Cob Editions. Pass through hinges for float mounting.

Float Mounting
3. Object Work

While float mounting really applies to paper and other flat artworks that typically require hinging, we do also display objects with similar appearance and principles in mind.

We have created another sub-category in our Directory to discuss these pieces in more detail. In these cases, tape hinges will not be used but techniques like stitching, encapsulating, clasping, or working with other suitable adhesives to float the work.