January 18th, 2011

We have been busy at Gallery MAR with gorgeous winter show works coming in. Jennifer and I  have been busy unwrapping packages and hanging works, which reminds me that this is a great time to write about the packaging and shipping of fine art.

In my experience, collectors often have multiple homes and want their fine art to grace more than one home.  Works get swapped, new ones come in, and older works are deaccessed. Sometimes this means moving artwork from one state to another, or even overseas. Each piece of artwork requires special handling and consideration, but there are a few guidelines to follow…

Always use at least one strong layer of bubble wrap around each piece. For heavier or more fragile items, up to 4 layers would not be unheard of, with an under layer of paper or cloth. If you are using cardboard boxes, package the item inside with multiple layers of more bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts between the piece and the box. After securing the box with tape, give the box a shake. Do the items inside shift around? Do you hear peanuts settling? Time to re-open the box and stuff it tighter! Air within the package allows for movement and a higher likelihood of damage in transit.

For glass and ceramic I recommend the “double box” method: package the sculpture as described above and then place that box into another box with more packaging materials around it. And when dealing with truly fragile items, always ship by Air instead of Ground.

I always suggest using recyclable materials: better for the environment and more cost-effective. Biodegradable Cornstarch Peanuts can be found at www.ULine.com as well as other packaging websites. Cardboard boxes can usually be re-used three time before they’re eventually recycled. More and more retailers are recognizing the need to cater to their “green” consumers, so seek out those options whenever possible. Most recycling centers (Park City’s included) will both accept and give away packaging materials. We often head to Recycle Utah for their bags of Styrofoam and boxes. Try the “re-use” route before you buy new.

“Trust in Allah, but Tie Your Camel”

If you need more information or are shipping oversize items, you can always call Gallery MAR for more information and resources. There are also several national shipping companies who do both the crating and freighting of items. Safe and happy shipping to you, but remember… always get your shipment insured.