Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Blogging and Shipping Experience

So I've been expanding my knowledge of blogging this past week. I've gotta say, some people are pretty hard core. I know that I will never be a consistent, everyday blogger (nor do I aspire to be), but I was motivated to amp up my game a few notches. So I've decided to start including a few technical and artist-of-the-week blogs. I know that the technical things will probably be boring to anyone not fanatical about Ceramics, but oh well.

On other news, I got into a show! The excitement was pretty grand, until I realized, "Well shit. How am I going to ship these things?" The show, "Dining In: An Artful Experience," is at 18 Hands Gallery in Houston, TX. This will be the farthest my work has ever traveled from me. Actually, I take that back. I did ship some commissioned pieces to Manitoba that made it, but somehow this stresses me out more. I've seen bad shipping, and I'm kinda terrified.

In other words, I went a little overboard and constructed a crate. I got my dimensions, bought some 3/16" hardboard, 2" drywall screws, wood glue, and 2"x2" balusters. (If you want the details, I'll definitely hand over the recipe for great crate making, but I don't want to overwhelm people just yet.) I'll put some photos later, cause it's pretty nice; however, it probably weighs 30 lbs on its own. Let me go check that. Yup, 33 lbs WITHOUT the important stuff inside. Now if I had submitted to a crate making contest, I think I would have won, hands down.

Anyways, my boss tells me that shipping companies make these things call double walled cardboard boxes. Who knew? (All the while, I'm thinking some pretty nice things like, "You mean you didn't think to mention this before I spent my valuable time and money on a crate?!?") So, I take my merry self over to FedEx (because I've had better experiences with them) and buy a box that costs $10.50. Talk about faster and easier. So to wrap this up (haha, get it?), these are a few major secrets that I've learned over the years and very recently about shipping functional ceramics:

*Always double box your pieces. Meaning, secure your pieces in one small box, then suspend the small boxes in a larger box filled tightly with packing material.

*Try to avoid putting heavier pieces in the same box with lighter, more delicate ones (aka, slip cast work).

*Never pile loose packing peanuts into the second box. The gallery will hate you. Make "packing peanut pillows" by filling plastic grocery bags with the peanuts. I've found that Target bags are amazing because they are thicker than regular grocery store bags. ~Suggestion given by Jessica Broad

* Sometimes having your package scheduled to be picked up from your residence is cheaper than dropping the package off at the company to be shipped from there. You can check rates on their websites. ~Suggestion given by Yves Paquette

* Functional work should be shipped as "dishes," not artwork.

Armed with all of this knowledge and a much lighter 20 lb package (with everything inside), I am going to ship this bad boy next week and see what happens.

Over and out.

1 comment: