Monday, March 4, 2013

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Not yet, anyway... but soon, I hope.  At least for a couple of my tapestries.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon and most of this morning and early afternoon getting the two tapestries that were accepted into the 2013 National Fiber Directions Exhibition ready to ship to Wichita, Kansas.  Preparations for shipping work to exhibits is one of my least favorite parts of the whole process of weaving and exhibiting works.  Why?  Well, for one thing, when I can drive to the exhibit site to deliver the work I don't have to fool with finding the right box for the piece or pieces, as in this case.  Also, the amount of wrapping and packaging can be much less when hand delivering.  I can also usually talk to someone in person about the installation methods I use.

This time around, however, it didn't seem feasible that I could drive from Dahlonega, Georgia to Wichita, Kansas to take my pieces in person.  So, problem solving for shipping began in earnest.

First, I made a trip to the local UPS store to search for boxes that would accommodate the pieces.  I found a 10 X 10 X 48" box that I thought would fit both since one tapestry is 42" x 42" and when rolled and packed with bubble wrap it would fit, along with its hanging bar.  The other one is 24" x 60" so I could roll it horizontally and it also would fit.  But its hanging bar wouldn't.

So off to the hardware stores to figure out a solution to the hanging bar problem.  I solved it by buying new wood for the bar and a hinge to put to shorter pieces together to equal the length I needed.  Sounds simple now but when I was standing in the aisles of the hardware store thinking about the way to solve the problem it didn't seem clear at all.  At one time, in fact, I thought I'd just send two separate pieces that could be put up for the tapestry to be attached to... that would have worked, I guess.  Then I also thought I could latch the pieces together with a small hook and latch.  But that didn't seem like a good idea.  Finally I decided that I would hinge the two pieces together.

Once the hinge was bought and the wood cut, then came the task of attaching the two together.  Sounds simple but for me, holding tiny screws in place while getting them started turned out to be an adventure that involved much cursing, or cussin' as we say here in the mountains.

Velcro was attached to the hinged pieces, then on the back I put triangle hangers, the kind that will fold back.  That way the hanging part was out of the way for the bar to be wrapped for shipping.

Here's the bar, folded and with the triangle hanging tabs folded flat:

Next, the tapestries were rolled around a fabric covered cardboard tube and then covered with fabric.  They were then covered again with bubble wrap with extra padding around the ends of the rolls.

Both tapestries were then tied together and covered with a large plastic bag.

The bundle was then placed shoved into the box.  It was a tight fit but that's probably a good thing rather than having them shift around inside during transport.

The whole thing weighed a bit over 13 lbs. and cost around $33 to ship via UPS.  I also purchased pre-paid return shipping for the tapestries that cost a bit more on the return trip.  So add the $71+ for the trip to Kansas and back for the works, then the entry fee of $30 = over $100 for this exhibit.  Part of the price I pay to have my work seen and I accept it as that.  I wish folks were beating my studio door down to see and exhibit my work.  But they're not.  I do what I can anyway.


  1. What a great idea! Those long bars are a problem to ship as the shipping increases drastically when the boxes get longer. I love your solution Tommye!

  2. This is a very helpful and informative post Tommye. Thanks!

  3. Thanks Rebecca and Janette!

    Yes, shipping larger pieces is always challenging and that's why I try to drive things to exhibits when I can.