This article first appeared in NANthology, the NAN newsletter, in winter 1999.
- Select clean, durable packing material and containers. These items must survive a round-trip as well as unpacking and repacking.
- Address the inside flap of the box for identification in repacking.
- Prepare the needlework by wrapping it in a protective but unsealed cover.
- Make an envelope of bubble wrap large enough for a framed embroidery to be removed, and then slipped back into for the return trip.
- Taping a protective cover or bubble wrap envelope puts the contents at risk because tape must be cut, and any tape adhesive may be transferred to the needlework no matter how carefully pieces are handled.
- Label all protective material with your name for repacking.
- Special repacking instructions should be placed on the outside of the protective cover.
- If you have multiple entries in one box an inventory is particularly helpful, so the committee knows how many pieces to look for and how many pieces to repack.
- The shipping carton should be very sturdy and completely filled with padding around the needlework. Choose clean fill such as bubble wrap, clean paper, or foam rubber pads. If the carton has been previously used, double tape the bottom and be sure the carton is sturdy enough to make another round-trip.
- Carefully black out all writing and codes on the outside of the box, bottom included, with a marker. In addition to the return address, the only address on the box should be that published in The Exemplary entry form.
Styrofoam™ Peanuts and Shredded Packing Materials
Using Styrofoam™ peanuts or shredded packing materials is not a good choice. If you must use packing peanuts – the bane of every show committee’s existence – put them in Ziploc® bags and strategically place them around the framed pieces. These bags may be filled as much as is needed and use whatever size bags are on hand. This is neat and efficient — and considerate. If you consign a professional package service to pack and ship your needlework, be sure the service knows all loose material must be confined in some manner, such as sealed plastic bags.
Many people are resistant to shipping their pieces, but artists and teachers do it all the time. Yes, it brings fear and trepidation, but there are ways of ensuring a safe delivery. One is to get a tacking number from UPS; they are very good about knowing exactly when and where something was delivered. Or send your needlework by certified mail; the post office requires a signature every time the package changes hands. You must use paper tape for this service so the rubber stamps may be placed along the seams of the package. Or, to meet our deadline you could ask someone driving early to NAN to deliver your pieces to the exhibit. Remember, the airlines are only allowing one piece of carry-on luggage which may preclude carrying large, heavy, needlework pieces on board.
The Exemplary has an outstanding staff of conscientious volunteers. Everyone wants your work cared for as carefully as you would, but they need your help and cooperation by getting your needlework pieces to The Exemplary by the published deadline.
My thanks goes to each volunteer and committee person for their endless hours of preparations prior to the opening of the exhibit, then the hours of watchful security while the exhibit is open to the public, and finally repacking each and every piece for a safe return journey.