Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Shipping Department

Middle Of Fall, 2007, Oil on Panel, 12x16

Have I mentioned how much I hate packing and shipping out my work? I will go to incredible lengths to avoid shipping, which usually includes driving at least two hours each way in order to deliver them in person. I am also not above sending Doug a few miles out of his way to deliver something, if he has to take a business trip anyway and I'd probably send the work off with anyone else who happened along if I could.

A few small sized paintings are fine. I have plenty of small boxes (I admit to being the mail order queen-Eddie Bauer actually contacts me if they don't get an order from me each month), but the larger pieces are more problematic. I cringe when I see how much bubble wrap I have to use for padding (never send a gallery a box with styrofoam peanuts) and the cardboard boxes! Oh. My. God. I have the worst sensory issues concerning cardboard. I hate the sound it makes when folding the flaps up but mostly I hate touching it. I can only touch it if I have recently put lotion on my hands, I get moderately freaked out if my hands are either wet or too dry and they come in contact with cardboard (um, that goes for paper too, although all of that is an improvement over the summer after my freshman year of college when I literally could not touch any paper, cardboard or illustration board AT ALL, so progress has been made).

But I digress. Sorry.

This week I had to send out eight pieces, including two 24x24's, to Boxheart Gallery in Pittsburgh-too far to drive, alas. Finding a box in good condition and the right size in our hot, dark and icky attic was a challenge (I kept hearing rustling sounds) and to top it all off I also had to ship a number of pieces to The Harrison Gallery, so I had to pack up two shipments instead of one. I had actually planned to drive to Williamstown to deliver those on Friday, but decided for a number of reasons that shipping would be just as easy. Ha!

It took a ridiculously long time, but I managed to get everything packed up finally. However, because I am a complete idiot, I forgot to include the inventory/packing list in one box and left out one painting from the other, so I had to cut open the boxes, add those items and tape them all over again. I am telling you, I was in pain when I had to do that.

Oh yeah, maybe I should describe how I pack up the paintings. Each is wrapped in bubble wrap, they are packed into the boxes, face to face, with the backs facing the outside, and a piece of cardboard between them and the box sides. I stuff bubble wrap padding into every open space so that there is no shifting possible. I use a ton of tape to close up the box, and I have some nifty labels that I designed and print off the computer. And I insure the shipments for their full retail, because if something happens, I better get compensated for all that shipping and packing, oops, I mean painting.

Next up: a solo show at Salt Meadow Gallery in Cape Cod. What do you think-packing and shipping 25 pieces OR driving five hours there and back in a car with no air conditioning?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only person with this anti-cardboard fetish.I keep having flashes of giant papercuts.

You might like www.uline.com .They have nice white boxes that could come in just the size you need.

meno said...

Cardboard sets me teeth on edge too.

Tracy said...

Anon and Meno, you mean I am not the only one with cardboard issues? I feel so much less of a mental case now:)

And thanks for the tip, Anon, about uline.com. Back in another life, I did order shipping supplies from them. I should buy a few boxes now, it's just that I use so few and I try to recycle as much as possible. However I will need to buy some if I ship my work to Cape Cod.

Meno, are you less cranky today?:)

amber said...

haven't visited for a while ...great stuff
awesome color must feel good to create such beauty

Martha Marshall said...

Cardboard. Yes, me too! Now aren't you glad you brought it up? I've overcome it mostly, just from years of dealing with it I suppose.

I find that when you're shipping paintings, you might as well have more than a couple in the box. It's the big, flat boxes that are in danger of more damage.

Good luck with all your shows! I vote for driving. I always do when I have the choice.

KJ said...

Never considered an aversion to cardboard, but I do hate to ship... or even write a snail mail letter. Recently made a day trip of a 5 hour drive (each way)to deliver recent show. Get a good audio book and the time passes quickly.

Kris Shanks said...

Is there anyone who doesn't hate packing artwork to ship? I have small nightmares of careless delivery people puncturing the sides of my boxes and skewering the paintings within. I have a whole stash of large pieces of cardboard with which to make boxes for shipping.

Kesha Bruce said...

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I hate packing too!

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think I may have to break down and hire an assistant.

Life's too short to spend it packing boxes!

Tracy said...

Glad to hear from you Amber and thanks for the compliments.

Martha, I am glad I brought up the topic of cardboard. I really though I was the only one with a problem with it. I HAVE gotten better with it over the years too. Reluctantly.

Karen, So that's two votes for driving. I might do that except EXCEPT-it's 5 hours on the mass turnpike in July with no air conditioning in the car!!! I believe that might have to cancel out my cardboard issues:)

Kris, You MAKE you boxes? Holy cow! That would make me crazy...

Kesha, If I ever get an assistant, that will be their primary duty!