How To Custom Crating Package and Transport Artworks

You have spent weeks, months, perhaps years creating a piece of art. You have immersed yourself in this work completely, and have finally completed it. You then receive an offer from a collector or a gallery hoping to buy or include the piece in an exhibition. So, you ship off the artwork and travel to meet it on the other side. However, when the box is opened up, your masterpiece is ruined.

How could this have happened? It doesn’t matter, it has. Get over it. No don’t get over it, grieve. Grieve for a little while, not too long but just enough to show that you really are an artist and you actually put something into the creation of that painting/sculpture/installation or whatever you want to call it.

Art is art is art. Or is it. Art can be anything and nothing. Everything and one thing. This and that. Bits and bobs. Bric a brac. Shite. Junk. Rubbish. Luxury goods and pawnshop shelf-fillers.

Anyway, the moral of the story is parcel insurance. Don’t leave home without it. It’s a great invention. You send a package, and if it breaks you get your money back. You’ll never see that parcel again but at least you didn’t lose out on the shipping costs.

For artists, dealers, and collectors, no level of compensation is going to bring back that one piece. Therefore, it’s of equal importance to ensure that the packaging and transportation of artworks is carefully considered.

Of course, it is entirely dependent upon the nature, shape and size of the piece. Some general rules to consider however, would be these:

leave no room for manouevring within the casing. Any free space is space in which the item could move around in and potentially become damaged.
Use a protective wrapping or casing such as bubble wrap or polystyrene to act as a buffer against the hardened surface of a wooden or metal crate or box.
If it is possible dismantle the component parts and wrap individually. This will reduce the risk of damage to various vulnerable sections of the piece as they will be wrapped securely on their own.

Transportation of art objects is an area over which you have less control. You cannot control the weather, traffic, or the quality of the driver. All one can do is choose a reputable parcel delivery company, buy target parcel insurance, and hope for the best.

Alternatively, transportation could be undertaken yourself, but if you do not have the means by which to travel long distances, or the space to accommodate a larger item, this may not be the best idea.

So, when shipping artworks, or any item for that matter, consider the three main points mentioned here:

1. Transportation
2. Packaging
3. Parcel Insurance

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