During the SNAG Professional Development Seminar about shipping several of the speakers gave excellent tips for making and using a crate to ship their art or craft. In this post, I am digesting these great crate tips into one post.
CRATE TIP #1 Screws holding on the lid need to be long enough to screw into the solid wood of the body of the crate. I'd say at least 1/2" to 1" deep. Keep in mind that the lid may be used as a handle, or pushed one way or another as a crate is moved around. The crate may be shipped sideways or upside down. Will the lid stay on?
CRATE TIP #2 Leila Hamdan recommended marking the screws on the crate to indicate which screws should be unscrewed in order to remove the lid. Pure genius, maybe even obvious, but I never thought about it before. You don't want the exhibition sponsor to disassemble the entire crate when they only need to remove the lid.
CRATE TIP #3 Leila Hamdan recommended ADDING HANDLES to your crate to facilitate handling. Great idea! Even a small crate can be heavy or hard to carry. Handles could definitely help the shippers and handlers if the crate is in that middle ground where the crate is heavy but not so large that a forklift is needed.
CRATE TIP #4 Secure work inside the crate so it can't move. This was mentioned by Kim Cridler, Leila Hamdan, and Brigitte Martin. Movement inside a crate (or a box) is a recipe for disaster. Give the box or crate a shake. There should be no rattle sounds. Assume that the box will be turned on its side or upside down regardless of the UP arrows. Securing the work one way or another is a shipping necessity.
CRATE TIP #5 Do not enclose oil, liquids, or non-essential items in a crate with the artwork. In Leila Hamdan's lecture HORROR STORIES: Packing and Shipping Recommendations for Artists she showed a crate where a container of oil was shipped inside the crate with the artwork. This is a recipe for disaster if the oil container leaked or broke free and rolled around inside the crate hitting the artwork. Either ship the oil separately or perhaps it could be purchased locally by the exhibition sponsor. This approach also saves on shipping weight and shipping dollars.
CRATE TIP #6 Small items or individual parts should be self-contained in their own interior shipping box inside the crate. This prevents damage or possible loss. Examples of contained small parts within the box can be seen in Kim Cridler's lecture Shipping Large Sculpture. An example of a shipping disaster as a result of loose items within a crate is discussed in Brigitte Martin's lecture If Shipping Goes Wrong.
Throughout the summer the PDS Committee (Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin, and myself, Harriete Estel Berman) discuss, debate, stew, and brew about the PDS topics for the next year. I am wondering...do the readers of ASK Harriete have issues that they think would make a good program topic? What are the pressing issues for artists and makers? What kind of professional information is needed, wanted, or desired? I am waiting to hear from you privately or publicly in the comments.
This post was updated on June 11, 2022, to provide current links.