Posted by Steve Hilton

The challenge of packing and shipping work is one that all artists artists face, but none more than ceramic artists.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf the fragile fired pieces don’t arrive at their destination in the same number of pieces as they left their origin, it can be a very costly process to replace the work, not to mention the expense of your time to deal with a shipping damage claim.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEqually as costly can be the packing materials needed to ensure safety.   Further, the way an artist packages their works of art for shipping can directly represent how their art is received professionally at multiple levels. Join Mike Rand,  Jill Foote-Hutton and Noah Hylek at this joint lecture, which will present different packaging and crating systems from museum standard methods of thinking for all levels of ceramic artists.

From 2010-14 Jill Foote-Hutton was the Curator of Exhibitions at Red Lodge Clay Center. She coordinated a large commercial gallery and presented twelve annual exhibitions. Now she is engulfed in a world called Whistlepig Studio, crafting narratives and creatures to populate them, chronicling contemporary craft, and facilitating interactive creative experiences.

Noah Hyleck is an artist living in Brooklyn, New York. The past ten years he has supported his drawing and painting by working in the art industry as a freelance installer, packer and driver. Currently he is building and packing crates for Workshop Fine Art.

Mike Rand (seen in the video below) is a Ceramic/Mixed Media artist from Carbondale, Colorado. He has worked with ceramics his entire life primarily in sculptural wood fired ceramics and exhibits national. Mike is museum standard trained in fine arts installation, packaging, and crating. His company Hanging Lake Fine Art in Glenwood Springs, Colorado provides services for Western Colorado.

Categories: 2015 Conference, Featured

3 Responses so far.

  1. K Wilks says:

    This has been a concern of mine and after having 2 works destroid this past year, I have basicly stopped entering my work in shows that I cannot drive to easily.

    One I packed with ample packaging and double boxed with 4 in around it but FedEx ground (which are subcontractors of FedEx) totally destroy the box then place it 3 times back on the customers front porch after she declined it. She said it looked like they drove over the box the size of a dishwasher multiple times. Needless to say, she did not want me to remake the custom vessel sink because she was so miffed by the experience.

    The second was one I shipped to a gallery all fine but they ONLY placed it in the inner box with the packing materials in the bottom of the box, then wrapped it in the bubbles and put the custom vessel sink in the top of the inside box and left the metal drain (used for display purposed – I had shipped it to them taped to the outside of the inner box) just loose in the middle of the sink. Well, I felt leary about my contacts with the gallery so had a friend pick up the sink rather than having it shipped. Good instincts but might could have gotten the insurance money if had had it shipped, because It was in multiple pieces when she drove it down to me (she did not check it at the gallery because they rushed her out the door. I know how to pack and do a good job but it is very disconcerting when a gallery does not and frankly really sad!

    I will also say that when soneone is paying $1200 – $1500 for a work of art they still balk at paying $200-$300 for shipping but it is so worth it.

  2. Mike Rand says:

    Hello K. Wilks,

    If you are not heading to Rhode Island for the conference, drop me an email with more specifics and I will see what I can suggest.

    Few thoughts on the matter.
    1. I dont know if you are cavity packing the sink forms and filling the void and not just straight wrapping forms.
    2. Do you use a layer of soft 1/4 foam first then the bubble. Bubble for heavier pieces is best used in both (first) small bubble then the large bubble. Plus with the large bubble, one one cell pops there is a major “hole” in the protection layer, especially on corners of pieces.
    3. Did you use styro peanuts between your inner and outer box? Styro peanuts with larger and heavier items can pack into place and act as a more rigid foam that begins to crumble as the outer box takes hits. Any Styro material is really a “once” impact material. (think of you bicycle helmets, you have a crash it is recommended to get a new helmet)

    A thing with delivery companies like UPS or Fedex. This comes straight from a UPS accounts manager, and no doubt they have made the packing requirements even more stern. A package needs to be able to hand 14 minimum 1 foot drops and one 6 ft drop each shipment. IT is also in the companies benefit to deny as many claims as possible. If packing minimums are not followed they will deny a claim without a second thought… even if you supplied the proper packing materials, if the item is not properly repacked (ie from the gallery) then the shipping company will deny claim.

    Drop me an email if you are interesting possibilties to correcting the issues you are now finding. I am myself always improving my packing techniques not just for my own work but also my clients.