Art pieces can be priceless – both in monetary and sentimental value. As such, people can go to great lengths to protect them and keep them in the best condition. Museums, for example, often erect barriers or protective glass to prevent viewers from touching and spoiling valuable artwork. While personal art pieces at home do not require such physical barriers, they still need a certain degree of preventive and protective solutions.
One solution is moderating the level of moisture exposed to your art pieces. It is a common misconception that all art pieces must be stored in extremely dry places and avoid moisture at all costs. The drier, the better, or so we think. However, both arid and wet conditions can result in irreversible damage to the art pieces. In truth, art pieces require precise moisture levels to be appropriately preserved, and that moisture level needs to be maintained throughout.
Moisture levels are calculated as Relative Humidity – the amount of water vapour in the air as a percentage of the amount required for saturation at the same temperature. In simple English, when Relative Humidity hits 100%, condensation will start to form. Different materials will need to be at varying levels of Relative Humidity.
- RH55 – 65% Paper, wood, dying and weaving products, Japanese lacquer
- RH50 – 65% Elephant tusk, pelts, parchments, nature-related works
- RH50 – 55% Oil paintings, Humidor beads
- RH45 – 50% Fossils
- RH45% – Metal, rocks, and ceramics (desalination required)
Remember what we said about having to maintain art pieces at their optimal RH level? Standard desiccants such as silica gel can only remove moisture from the air, which creates a risk of excessively drying out the air, causing damage.
Instead, try using Humidity Controllers– these can remove and replenish moisture as needed, removing it through adsorption when the RH is too high and releasing the adsorbed moisture when the RH becomes too low. Art-Sorb or Pro-Sorbs are the most popular Humidity Controllers for Art, keeping the RH level between 40% to 70%. This allows the Humidity Controller to create a perfect microclimate (a controlled environment within the art piece frames or air-tight container) to preserve and minimise artwork risk.
Humidity Controllers come in many different forms, such as Beads, Sheets, Cassettes, and Half Cassettes. Each type offers various functions to suit the needs of the art piece. Don’t wait – protect your art pieces today!