Sunday, 25 January 2015

How to wrap a painting for an aeroplane...

So the time has come where the London Plane Tree needs to get to England from Spain via Monarch Airways. This is the day I have been dreading. I hate to even think about the journey it's got to go on, and yet top-end galleries are always shuttling paintings around the world. I was going to courier the piece to London, but with return flights priced at 50 euros on Boxing Day I decided that at that price I could do the couriering myself. I am now wondering if that was such a bright idea...!

Wrapping up Russell in cellophane
So last night (and I am so glad I started this last night as it's taken forever to do) this is how I packed the painting:

Step 1: Choose your portfolio and buy some skinny plywood and get it cut to the right size

Step 2: Wrap the painting in cellophane being careful to make sure no dust gets in the first layer (I use a feather for this)

Step 3: Wrap the painting in cellophane twice again sealing all of the holes

Step 4: Stick the painting to one side of the plywood

Step 5: Offer the other bit of Plywood up to make sandwich and stick together

Step 6: Wrap the plywood sandwich in cellophane (can you tell I am nervous of condensation?!)

Step 7: Put the sandwich inside the portfolio

Step 8: Don't do what I did and sell a print that's bigger than the board the day before...!

Step 9: Because I sold a print that is bigger than the board, I had to wrap this in three layers of cellophane

Step 10: I then had to line my portfolio in bubble wrap and Bristol board and make a bubblewrap 'wedge' to prevent any bending over the smaller piece of plywood

Step 11: Zip up the portfolio and wrap it in clingfilm (mum's idea in case of rain)

Step 12: Label the portfolio in English and Spanish 'Muy Fragil' etc...

Step 13: Pray it gets there in one piece.

Step 14: Have a meltdown when you have to unwrap it all and actually take the art works out. Maybe invent a pass-the-parcel game?

Sticking the painting onto the plywood
After all of this and with the residue of almost an entire roll of transparent parcel tape behind my front teeth, I am now as ready as I will ever be.  I am slightly worried that this adventure is happening during a mercury retrograde cycle, but can't be helped. I am just focusing on the fact that by doing it this way I can at least bring back some sheets of my favourite paper. 

Dusting my cellophane. This job is an OCD sufferer's nightmare. Cellophane attracts EVERYTHING!
I am guessing that a  lot of you might think that the whole cellophane thing might be a bit overkill, but I can explain my logic... When I worked at Plymouth City Museum we'd often freeze our natural history specimens to prevent pest outbreaks in the stores. It's an essential part of curating any historical collection really. One of the things that happens once the specimen is inside the freezer is that condensation would collect on the specimens. This would damage the collection if we didn't do something to prevent this from happening. What we would do is double wrap every item in plastic sheeting and seal all of the holes using a piece of equipment that would melt the plastic together. I remember it was a tedious job - often given to volunteers - but it was essential. So this is why I am concerned about condensation... We are, after all, going a long way up in the atmosphere.

Portfolio fully 'clingfilmed'

With labels....

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