Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Big Move

It's a bit like moving day here at Squirrel HQ, as the paintings are being prepared for their big journey. Packing up paintings for a big move is always a daunting task and it's not like we are just shifting a couple of prints to bung on the kitchen wall. No indeed, these in my eyes are priceless, and if anything catastrophic occurs, I think I will cry. As it is, even before I could think about wrapping,  was to ensure all the submission criteria had been adhered too. Labels, swing tags, fixings, hanging cord or wire? There is a lot to get right when submitting to exhibitions and then there is the form. Titles, sizes, medium, pricing, it all has to go on and you find yourself checking and double checking everything.

Swing tags all ready to be attached.
Just checking over the spelling and I can see already on the Iris
I need to print another label.
Verticle is actually spelt VERTICAL, oh silly one.  


Don't forget the important bit.
The SBA Exhibition Entry Schedule

Getting the packing up right is crucial, and the selection of your packing material even more so. Last year, I sent two of my paintings to an exhibition in Ireland and found myself performing some kind of Blue Peter audition in my hallway. There was bubble wrap, cardboard and enough packing tape to go around the world (slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). It was all very nerve-wracking, but after a lot of faffing about, the pictures were pretty well wrapped and only a drop from a very great height would have damaged them. After the exhibition, my very good friend Shevaun looked after the darlings and arranged to send them back. However, the packing she used was a revelation


As you can tell from this, 'Mother Load' of bubble wrap,
we've been here before
This is how my framer packs my work to bring home.
With all the layers of bubble wrap as well,
can you imagine trying to unwrap and re-wrap six like this.
Not likely. 

What arrived at my door looked like something out of a space station. A big, silver bubble wrap bag that was tough, firm and looked like just the ticket for hauling framed paintings about. Stiffy Bags are perfectly named as they do exactly what their title suggests. The bags are made from a thick, stiffened and reinforced bubble wrap with a silvered, waterproof foil outer layer. The bags can be made to measure, fitting snuggly around the measurements of your work, thereby holding everything securely in place and in one neat package too. No more jiggery-pokery with cardboard edging and layers of this and that, which all has to be taken off and put back on again. With these little beauties, you just take your work out of the envelope for the exhibition and put them back in again when it's time to go home. Simple.


Starship Stiffy Bag.
These look like they've come from NASA

For extra protection on the glass, especially if you are travelling a distance or by plane, here's a great tip. passed on again by my good friend Shevaun Doherty, who is always a great source of info. The type of sticky backed plastic film used to cover school books can also be used to cover the glass on your paintings. The film peels off quite easily if you leave a small corner free of film, and apparently leaves little residue. Any sticky leftovers can be swiped away with a little glass cleaner and cloth, or even those eye make up remover pads you can get down the chemist work well. If a nervous first time film user, try it out on a window first.


And finally...

...the last minute vital kit.
These will all go to the drop-off area with me.
Glass cleaner, kitchen roll and a soft, lint free cloth for a last buff-up.
Masking tape to cover the 'D' rings on the back of the frame to prevent scratches.
The scissors and packing tape are for repairs to any unlikely splits in the bags en route.
And extra labels.
Just in case.

This time I will be in London to take all six paintings to Westminster myself, with my able assistants of course. Oh, how I will breathe an enormous sigh of relief when I get them there and hand them over. We will definitely have earned our pub lunch by then.

Breaking News!!! The Facebook grapevine reliably informs me that the foil bubble wrap used for the art bags is also used as insulation for buildings. This is handy as it means you can buy rolls of the same stuff from Ebay, Amazon and all good building suppliers such as Wickes here in the UK.


Here are some handy links

Stiffy Bags - The Art Bag. Made to measure and standard sized bags.

Air Float Systems - Custom made boxes with sturdy foam inserts for shipping artwork.

Saatchi Art  - How to Package Artwork

Making a Mark - How to pack, post and ship art - resources for artists.

Art Moves of Chelsea - Storage and transportation of artwork. Also used by the SBA

Art Move - Storage, Installation and transportation of artwork

3 comments:

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Great post! I've just shared it on my Facebook Page and included it in my website about packing and shipping art

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Oh that's really kind of you Katherine. Your website on posting and packing was really helpful and as always, the online grapevine was a great source.

Janene said...

Thanks for this wonderful, informative post! It's helpful to see how you did each step, even the swing tags. Best wishes on your submissions!! I am sure your work will be well received.