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Author Topic: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?  (Read 7392 times)

VulpesRex

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Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« on: 02.06.2013, 23:45:53 »

   Is there a DHL or UPS store within convenient distance of the Maritim Hotel?

   One of the major things which I do at Furry Conventions is acquire art.  Sometimes a lot.  In the USA, I've either been able to drive to and from, with lots of space in my car for careful packing; or by carrying a large, bubble-pack filled, double-walled and reinforced cardboard shipping box, checked as baggage on domestic flights.  That was (semi-) practical, when the airport was just a taxi- or shuttle-ride away from the convention site, and when I was just travelling between the convention city and my home.

   But last year - despite my best efforts to pad and protectively wrap and pack my acquisitions in my large, dolly-wheeled soft-sided luggage, along with my clothes and other purchases - I suffered a major "FAIL".  Everything survived the train trip to Suhl for the after-con "Ringberg Revival", and survived the train trip back to Frankfurt-am-Main, the stampede of strike-stranded LuftHansa travellers bundled off to the Steigenberger Hotel in Langen, and the shuttle trip the next morning back to the flughaven for the flight home; was still intact when I passed through Customs...only to have the glazing in Pan Hesekiel Shiroi's "Sacred Grounds" (remember the centerfold art from last year's Con Book?) fracture rather spectacularly, somewhere between Charlotte and Sacramento - probably in the process of "baggage handling".  This resulted in glass shards throughout the luggage, and damage to TaniDaReal's 3-D "The Other Side".

   Fortunately, no other artwork was damaged; the Tani piece was repaired with some cyanoacrylic ester, and after careful disassembly of the artwork "sandwich" in-place, "Sacred Grounds" was saved without gashes or gouges - but there are a few "sparkly" spots in the star field in the sky, which the artist hadn't intended, and I'm not about to try any more efforts to remove them, lest I cause actual detectable damage.  As for myself, the cuts and punctures in my fingers healed up quickly.

   ...AND I intend to actually see some of Germany this trip - my father, who was based near Oberammargau in the mid-50's, keeps urging me to see the southern part of the nation, and I do wish to see Munich, and perhaps the resort town of Garmisch, or Lindau on Lake Constance the Bodensee; and any of this would be so much easier If I am not lugging a large, heavy suitcase full of fragile artwork, on and off trains across Germany.

  Can anyone give advice or relate the experiences which they have had, shipping artwork to the USA?
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Riox

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #1 on: 03.06.2013, 17:39:33 »

DHL offers a pickup service for a small extra fee. (4 Euro per 4 packages).
http://www.dhl.de/en/paket/information/privatkunden/abholung.html

DHL hands the packages over to USPS as far as I know.

---

Southern parts of Germany... our little Texas :)
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Cairyn

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #2 on: 04.06.2013, 00:52:05 »

Hmm, this is an issue I had in the other direction - buying art at US conventions (and elsewhere) and getting it safely back to Germany. But I must admit I ultimately never sent it by mail - which is costly and potentially dangerous to the art, not to speak of the customs issues. I limited myself mostly to items I could actually put in my luggage. Small format matted originals fit into the side pocket of my pilot case (hand luggage), where they are quite safe. With one framed item, I had to take it out of the frame, discard the glass, and put the frame and the art into separate luggage pieces.

Fortunately I never had the money for anything really large...

Also, in the US I always had a rental, so hauling around a number of heavy luggage pieces was not that difficult. Using the train will make it a chore.

You can certainly send it by mail; properly packaged any sufficiently flexible item should survive. I can only point out the obvious... remove glass, disassemble large frames if possible, bolster with bubble wrap, keep it watertight, mark properly for customs, but that's self-explanatory. Postage may be expensive.

DHL/Deutsche Post: it's a major town so there are sufficient sales points around, at least open on Mondays:
http://standorte.deutschepost.de/Standortsuche?standorttyp=filialen_verkaufspunkte&ort=Magdeburg
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Mystifur

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #3 on: 08.06.2013, 05:55:01 »

And of course
FedEx (no store, order online) and
UPS (store 2 miles away, or online)
will also be happy to sell you packing material, then pick up your stuff at the hotel and bring it to any place on the planet. (No
Their shipping cost is of course among the highest, but knowing Rex, he might put rank convenience over discount. :-)
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Pan Hesekiel Shiroi

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #4 on: 08.06.2013, 10:58:03 »

Well, Cairyn already said it ... your best bet would be to remove the glass.
Also, you can get some acrylic glass/plexiglass at a do-it-yourself store (the employees will even cut it to the right measurements if you ask them) and use it to replace the real glass. It doesn't look as nice, but it's perfect for traveling and shipping: it's sturdier and lighter than normal glass. I myself always use it for shipping overseas. :)

Aside from that it doesn't make that much of a difference whether you ship it with a service or put it in your luggage - most airlines and shipping services don't treat their items carefully anyway. :/

(Oh, and thank you for purchasing Sacred Grounds, I'm glad to hear the original seems to be fine even though the glass broke.)
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VulpesRex

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #5 on: 13.06.2013, 05:13:51 »

DHL offers a pickup service for a small extra fee. (4 Euro per 4 packages).
...
DHL hands the packages over to USPS as far as I know.
...
Southern parts of Germany... our little Texas :)

   Thank you, Riox, for the link!  DHL does seem the more efficient (and cheaper) way to go - once I figured all the options/possibilities/calculations/fees.  I remember that DHL was once a player in the USA, but was a distant third behind the two "biggies"...and then they pulled out.

   ...And Yet!  Just yesterday, in this rather small town in the Sacramento Valley, I saw a DHL deliver van, in the current livery, driving about (rather than through) town.  They had the name of a carrier service from Sacramento in small type on the driver's door, but still - it was a new truck, so there is still some sort of presence here!

   I didn't realise, until looking at their rates, that I lived in one of those backwards and primitive "Third Zone" Countries...

**********

   Southern Germany equals Germanic Texas?!?  That could be either good OR bad.  All of the other states here have an odd love/hate thing over Texas; it just wouldn't be the USA without it,...but there are times when the rest of us wouldn't mind the opportunity to see how that would work.

FACT:  Both before and after the Mexican-American War, there was a small but steady and significant immigrant movement of germanic peoples into the northern region of Mexico, including the the part which became Texas.  It is not that rare to meet mexican nationals from the region with spanish christian names, and german surnames - like Ygnacio Schmidt.  There is a subtle germanic influence on northern mexican culture, for example the genre of music known as "Banda", which is heavy on brass - and requires a Tuba, to anchor it.
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VulpesRex

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #6 on: 13.06.2013, 05:51:20 »

Hmm, this is an issue I had in the other direction...Small format matted originals fit into the side pocket of my pilot case (hand luggage), where they are quite safe. With one framed item, I had to take it out of the frame, discard the glass, and put the frame and the art into separate luggage pieces.

...

You can certainly send it by mail;...remove glass, disassemble large frames if possible, bolster with bubble wrap, keep it watertight, mark properly for customs...Postage may be expensive.

DHL/Deutsche Post: it's a major town so there are sufficient sales points around, at least open on Mondays:
http://standorte.deutschepost.de/Standortsuche?standorttyp=filialen_verkaufspunkte&ort=Magdeburg


   Thank you, Cairyn!  I knew that someone had to have had a similar problem with intercontinental travel!
For some reason, the link would not properly open on my home PC - however, I will add the link to my tablet, and along with GoogleMaps, find these locations when I get to Magdeburg.

   Mike Russel, the man who runs the "World of Vicky Fox" comic website, used to carry around an artists' portfolio case (which resembles a large briefcase - after being run over by a steamroller!), and his advice was just to remove the artwork from the frames, and discard them completely - the frame, the glazing, the backing and any mounting...and often, even the matting material - and just transport the artwork itself.  This struck me as rather expensive, but as I had discovered, many of the american artists - both amateur and professional - had little knowledge or training in how to properly mount and preserve artwork, and so would use cheap materials (cheap paper mattes and backing boards with high acid content, tapes with nasty adhesives), and I was forced to deconstruct any artwork not professionally framed, carefully remove tapes and backing, and remount the stuff with acid-free materials or with highly-buffered barriers (if there were specially-cut and fancy mattes, for example), so it made a certain sense.

   My dilemma was in trying to preserve the way the artist originally displayed the work, as much as possible - specific colors chosen for the matte, or a specific frame meant to highlight the whole, for example.
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VulpesRex

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #7 on: 13.06.2013, 06:41:54 »

And of course
FedEx (no store, order online) and
UPS (store 2 miles away, or online)
will also be happy to sell you packing material, then pick up your stuff at the hotel and bring it to any place on the planet. (No
Their shipping cost is of course among the highest, but knowing Rex, he might put rank convenience over discount. :-)

   Thank you, Mystifur, for that information; I will in fact likely need to buy the packing material from UPS (unless DHL can sell me the same materials).  Here in the USA many of the UPS storefront operations are run by people who Will actually package it all for you, and then ship it (but you have to bring it all to them, first).  This is of course the most convenient - but certainly expensive.

   In 2001 I attended AnthoCon with a California friend; our plan was to rent a car after the convention, spend a day seeing the sights of Philadelphia and then drive to Gettysburgh, to tour the battlefeild there; finally driving back to "Philly" for the flight back to California.

   The previous year, I had the good fortune to persuade the Art Show Director to ship my acquired art across the country for me; he charged me $35 for this service, since I had bought a lot of art, which he didn't have to ship back to individual artists.  But when I tried that gambit in 2001, I was referred to Uncle Kage- who politely but firmly took me to a mapboard, pointed out the nearest storefront packaging and shipping store, and said that they would be up to the task of handling my needs.

   So on Monday morning, a Pennsylvania fan and friend drove us first to this shipping store, and then waited in the car for what he thought would be a few moments.  I had my California friend help me carry in all the artwork - framed and unframed, along with loose pieces from which I had first removed the mattes and backings as recomended by someone else, but had thought better of it - and explained that I wished all of this expensive and unique artwork securely packaged, insured, and shipped via UPS (yes, ground-rates were fine, in fact ship it in care of my apartment landlord, who could receive it and sign for it), to go out that day, if possible.

   The counter person cheerfully inventoried my artwork; had three assistants cheerfully take measurements and weights, and calculate the size of the container needed and the amounts of insulation and shock-absrobing batting; then took it all away into "the Back Room", so as to pack it up.  I had naively thought that they would do it then and there, in front of me, like they would for a book or for other sundry items - perhaps a matter of 10 minutes to do, a quarter-hour at the outside.  Oh, no, said the counter person, this had to be done JUST RIGHT - and would probably take two people about an hour or so.  And that sounded...expensive.

   Our local friend and driver was starting to get restless - came in to see what was holding us up.  The counter person said that there was really no need for us to linger, they had my name and address and the delivery address, all that was necessary was to pay them for the service (at which point one of the three cheerful attendants came up from "The Back" with a clipboard and some documents).

   The Cheerful Counter Person then made the calculator work, itemised and totalled up the bill - two bills, in fact, for this was going to require two separate packages (Expense Sense Tingling...), with two separate UPS tracking numbers, which he pasted onto the receipts.

   Remember, the friendly Art Show director had charged me $35 the previous year.  And everything had arrived safe and well-packed.  The cheerful bill from the cheerful counter person was for...$174.37.

   ...Which I paid.  I wish I could say that I cheerfully paid, but I wasn't fooling anybody.  I was in shock over the amount.  It was just a bit over half the cost of my round-trip airfare between Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

   Looking back at it - particularly when I saw just how well everything was packed when it arrived in Burbank - it wasn't in any way excessive; I just hadn't been prepared for that size of an expense, and I kept muttering "One hundred seventy four dollars and thirty seven cents" at odd, idle moments all during the next three days, which I am sure got on the nerves of my travelling companion.

   Now - would paying 150, or even 200 euros to have artwork packed and shipped (insured) be worth it?  If I wish to enjoy an extra 3 or 4 days visiting Bavaria or the Bodensee, without the worries (and being able to use smaller, lighter luggage while travelling by train), it very well might.  But I'm not opposed to saving a euro or two, if I can.

   "It's not how much you make that's important; it's how much you can keep."
« Last Edit: 13.06.2013, 06:55:55 by VulpesRex »
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VulpesRex

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #8 on: 13.06.2013, 07:36:31 »

Well, Cairyn already said it ... your best bet would be to remove the glass.
Also, you can get some acrylic glass/plexiglass at a do-it-yourself store (the employees will even cut it to the right measurements if you ask them) and use it to replace the real glass. It doesn't look as nice, but it's perfect for traveling and shipping: it's sturdier and lighter than normal glass. I myself always use it for shipping overseas. :)
...

(Oh, and thank you for purchasing Sacred Grounds, I'm glad to hear the original seems to be fine even though the glass broke.)

   Thank you, Fraulein Shiroi, for that advice!  After reading it, I went to the local hardware store to price it out, and I think that I will go with this to replace the lost glass.  In fact, this is probably a wise thing to do for any of my larger glazed pieces; California is Earthquake Country, after all, and the lighter weight will help art stay hanging on the wall - and if it falls, it will survive without being damaged by shattered glass.

   I was unable to remove a few glass "chips", but they are as small (or smaller) then grains of sand, and only noticable if the light strikes them, because they sparkle - which is coincidentally provident, as they wound up in the starfield background!

   I see that you were a Charity Coordinator; The Conbook artwork submitted by "Titash" - along with the framed and colored print - arrived totally undamaged, and look quite nice, as I'm sure that "Sacred Grounds" will, once I have it re-glazed.

   Frankly - I would encourage more support of those charities which confront Intentional Cruelty to domestic animals and pets - particularly as the subject seems to be taboo to even speak about in Europe.  I was shocked by the presentation made by the representatives of Far From Fear e.V. and glad to contribute to their cause, as well as to the folks from Gnadenhof Emmrich, at EF16.  Because the subject is rarely discussed, it gets far too little support - and Furry Fans are the type of people most likely to aid such groups, once we are aware of them.
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Riox

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #9 on: 17.06.2013, 10:53:01 »

Quote
   Southern Germany equals Germanic Texas?!?  That could be either good OR bad.  All of the other states here have an odd love/hate thing over Texas; it just wouldn't be the USA without it,...but there are times when the rest of us wouldn't mind the opportunity to see how that would work.

It's complicated but quite similar. The southern region has the lowest unemployment rate, a right(centered) political party in power, is a Christian stronghold, some of them talk funny and the police is renown for overreacting. The South gives money to the northern states in a tax scheme and occasionally threatens to close it's borders and form it's own state... allegedly together with Austria  :)

On the other hand is very clean, safe and integration seems to be more successful. Mind it is a lot easier with all the major company's around.

There is a lot going on... Gun control, Speed limit on the Autobahn,  subsidies for solar power and farming and the ongoing search for a nuclear wast repository.
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o'wolf

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #10 on: 17.06.2013, 13:54:10 »

Can we keep this at least somewhat on-topic, please?
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Cairyn

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Re: Shipping Artwork Home - Possible Options?
« Reply #11 on: 19.06.2013, 00:29:05 »

  Remember, the friendly Art Show director had charged me $35 the previous year.  And everything had arrived safe and well-packed.  The cheerful bill from the cheerful counter person was for...$174.37. (...)

   Now - would paying 150, or even 200 euros to have artwork packed and shipped (insured) be worth it?  If I wish to enjoy an extra 3 or 4 days visiting Bavaria or the Bodensee, without the worries (and being able to use smaller, lighter luggage while travelling by train), it very well might.  But I'm not opposed to saving a euro or two, if I can.

   "It's not how much you make that's important; it's how much you can keep."

That is, indeed, a good question. I must admit that I had an eye on transportability all the time when purchasing stuff -- the most difficult one was not at a furry con but a related item, a polystone cheetah statue from Vegas, with long legs and a thin tail... the employees put it in so much bubble wrap though that it actually arrived home safely despite being in the normal luggage.

The same normal luggage that got its steel frame bent on one trip...

As such, I would probably not buy a two meter wide image in the first place while travelling. A shame it may be to pass on items that find my liking, but there will always be that other opportunity for likewise great stuff later on, under more beneficial circumstances. I can hardly imagine going by train and schlepping along twenty kilos of furry art in heavy frames, or hauling it up and down a Bavarian mountain path. Plus, traveling by train means either taking a taxi to the hotel, or public transportation, the latter being not too luggage friendly. (Cost considerations should also include the recently lowered maximum weight allowances and additional fees with many airlines.)

Still, the postage is going to cost you an arm and a leg.
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