Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 3: Unframed Works on Paper

In the first two posts of this series, Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 1: Works Framed with Glass and Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 2: Paintings on Canvas and Panel, I emphasized the need to properly prepare artwork for shipping and discussed issues specific to wrapping these types of artworks. In this post, I will offer options and suggestions for wrapping unframed works on paper. Following this, my final post on this topic will cover notes on shipping and shipping options. These posts are written with a “do-it-yourself” agenda, endeavoring to offer tips for those who would prefer to do it themselves rather than hire professionals. However, remember: when in doubt, call a professional! (A few professional art wrappers listed at the end of this post).

How to prepare un-framed works on paper for shipping

  1. If possible, the best way to ship (or store) an unframed work on paper is to have the work matted between an archival mat-board backing and mat-board window. This way, the work is safe from shifting, as works are hinged to the mat window with archival tape or tissue. For more information on what makes a mat-board archival, read this. For more information on the anatomy of matting and what it looks like, read this.
  2. If you are unable to mat the work you are shipping, you should wrap the work in glassine. To do this, cut a piece of glassine slightly more Continue reading
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An open letter to all artists not selected for The Cheaper Show

In the last decade, The Cheaper Show has grown from a small, hand-made art show into a sensational one-night event.  The formula is tantalizing in every way: the exhibition is popular with artists as submission is straightforward and open to anyone, and acceptance now means massive exposure. It is popular with Vancouver because people get the chance to see and buy an amazing array of local and international artwork, most at a fraction of its value. The frenzy that now characterizes The Cheaper Show is no surprise, neither are the line-ups to get in, the quality art that is hung in the show, the press coverage, the crowds, or the red dots.

The announcement of artists for The Cheaper Show is equally sensational. Instead of corresponding individually to artists who submit, the reveal is starkly public. Yesterday, a video was released on The Cheaper Show website listing the artists who will be included. That means that the majority of artists who submitted (as The Cheaper Show only selects 200 out of approximately 1200 submissions) learned of their rejection by Continue reading

Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 2: Paintings on Canvas or Panel

In the first post of this series, Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 1: Works Framed with Glass, I emphasized the need to properly prepare artwork for shipping and discussed issues specific to wrapping framed artworks. In this second installment, I will offer suggestions, options, and materials for wrapping paintings on canvas or panel. In my final two posts on this topic, I will cover methods for wrapping unframed prints, and then shipping options themselves. These posts are written with a “do-it-yourself” agenda, endeavoring to offer tips for those who would prefer to do it themselves rather than hire professionals. However, remember: when in doubt, call a professional! (A few professional art shippers listed at the end of this post).

How to prepare paintings for shipping

  1. It seems like an obvious point to make, but paintings should be dry before you ship them (you’d be surprised!). Keep in mind, oil paintings need at least six months to fully “cure” before they are 100% fixed. If possible, you shouldn’t ship before this point. If the work is not fully cured and you have to ship it, be sure to wrap the work in glassine to prevent packing materials from sticking to the surface. It is a good idea to wrap even fully dry work in glassine to protect the surface.
  2. If you have not used glassine, wrap your work in clear poly or plastic, sealing the seams.
  3. Wrap your painting in bubble wrap, Continue reading

Wrapping Artwork for Shipping Part 1: Works Framed with Glass

Wrapping artwork for shipping is an essential skill for artists who sell or exhibit their work abroad. Since artwork is literally “out of your hands” once you send it, the best thing you can do is prepare it properly to protect it from any potential environmental or handling trauma. Below are suggestions, options, and materials for wrapping artwork framed with glass. In my next two posts, I will cover methods for wrapping and shipping paintings on canvas and unframed prints. These posts are written with a “do-it-yourself” agenda, endeavoring to offer tips for those who would prefer to do it themselves rather than hire professionals. However, remember: when in doubt, call a professional! (A few professional art shippers listed at the end of this post).

How to prepare framed artworks with glass for shipping

  1. If your artwork is framed with Plexiglas, you can skip this step. If your artwork is framed with glass, an important step towards protecting your work is to lay tape across the face. This is a preventative measure in case your glass breaks during shipment—the broken shards will stick to the tape instead of cutting or damaging your work. Some sources recommend masking tape, but this can leave a film across the surface. Painters tape, a low-tack alternative to masking tape, sticks well and removes easily from glass. This is the most effective and economical tape I have found for taping glass. There also exists high-end alternative tapes or films specifically for this purpose. The tape should be applied in an over-lapping line or grid pattern, being careful not to tape the frame itself. There exists an extremely thorough article on the Tate Museum’s website called Glazing Over: A Review of Glazing Options for Works of Art on Paper that explores all aspects of shipping artworks which are framed in glass.
  2. Once your glass is taped, you should cover your work in bubble wrap. The bubble wrap should have bubbles facing “out”, so that the flat side of the wrap is touching your work. Wrap your artwork like you would a gift: entirely covered, but with not too much excess material. Tape all seams so that the work is sealed.
  3. As an alternative to bubble wrap, you could instead seal your work in clear poly or plastic. If you do this, you should attach corner protectors (template to make your own here!) to the frame to minimize potential frame damage. This method is only recommended if you have adequate foam reinforcement and a perfectly fitted crate. Wrapping works this way is usually done by professional art shippers, where they build custom-fitted crates for each piece.
  4. If your artwork is small, you could consider shipping it in a cardboard box. If you decide to ship this way, make sure that the box is large enough to allow for adequate cushioning between the work and the inside of the box (1″ or more, depending on the size and weight of your work). For cushioning, you can use any kind of foam. For extra protection, you can also put this cushioned box inside a larger box, padding the space with either foam or crumpled paper. If you decide to ship with a cardboard box, you should insert a piece of doorskin or other thin wood on either side of the work to protect from puncturing. Custom-cut thin wood can be bought very inexpensively at most hardware stores.
  5. If you decide to ship your artwork in a crate, call around and request quotes before placing an order. In Vancouver, Windsor Plywood builds custom crates for very reasonable prices. You can also try professional art handlers, though their crate building fees are usually higher (see list at bottom of post).
  6. Label your wrapped work clearly. You should include:
  • Return address, contact name and phone number
  • Shipping address, contact name and phone number
  • Receiver’s hours of operation (if sending to a business)
  • Any other shipping specifications you think will protect your work, such as: “fragile”, “glass”, “do not stack”, “this way up”, etc.

In upcoming posts, I will discuss how to wrap paintings on canvas and unframed prints for shipping, as well as shipping itself.

A list of resources for wrapping and crating in Vancouver:

Windsor Plywood (builds custom crates)

Vevex (builds custom crates)

Denbigh Fine Art Services (custom crates, wrapping, shipping, storage, and more)

Fine Art Framing (custom framing, wrapping, crates, shipping, and more)

Hambleton Fine Art Services (wrapping, crating, shipping, and more)

Thiessen Art Services (custom crates, wrapping, shipping, and more)

PacArt (CANADA-WIDE) (custom crates, wrapping, transportation, and more)

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Attention: Vancouver Artists! Upcoming Talks, Lectures and Seminars

SUSTAIN: Vancouver | Conference

Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC
Saturday April 9th, 9:30am to 5:30pm

In conjunction with the exhibition WE: Vancouver, guest speakers such as Arthur Kroker (Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory, UVic) and Ian Campbell (Hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation) will discuss:

How might current models of culture, ecology and economics shape the future of urban living? How can we re-imagine the place we live?

A full list of speakers and further information is available at the SUSTAIN: Vancouver microsite
Tickets: $65 adults; $55 members; $30 students (with valid ID) Continue reading

Art Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send

So, you’ve decided that you want to submit your artwork to a gallery. Fantastic! Although it can seem like a daunting task, creating a professional and complete submission to send to galleries is a huge step in getting your artwork “out there” and progressing your artistic career.

Before you even begin gathering and preparing your materials for submission, you should make a decisive plan to streamline your effort and decide which galleries you want to submit to. I have written a post to help you with just that– please read Which Gallery Should I Submit To?

Once you have decided which galleries you want to submit to, take this most important step for each: Continue reading