Packing our handmade sculptures for safe shipping often requires as much ingenuity and creativity from our artists as the making! Over the years they have acquired the art of wrapping all sorts of weird shapes - animal heads with twisting horns, standing rhinos, fierce lions, all are well wrapped and boxed to travel the world safely. We thought you might like a peek behind the scenes.
One of our first commissions since we launched CraftArt.Africa in August was an almost life-size sheep in beaded wirework by George Dokora. A special request for a well-known breeder of champion Dorper sheep in South Africa, George adapted his usual all-white sheep design to reflect the distinctive black head of the breed.
An important part of creating a lifelike animal is building the initial wire frame – unseen in the final piece, it is here that the shape of body and limb and the curve of muscle are defined. The frame is then covered with beads woven securely on to the frame in a variety of styles, textures and finishes to complete the animal and bring it to life.
Once our hero sheep was made and the photos approved by the client, it was time to prepare it for the journey to its new home. Boxes don’t usually come in standard sheep sizes, so we ordered a custom built double walled cardboard box which George and David tweaked to be the perfect fit, then reinforced it with extra tape inside.
Taping the box inside can be a hazardous business as there is a danger of being swallowed up and lost forever, but George and David made it through in good shape! Plenty of padding keeps the sheep from shifting around and when the box is securely sealed large, brightly coloured ‘Fragile’ and ‘This way Up’ stickers make sure it is handled with care. There were a few anxious moments squeezing the box into the car – it only just fit! - but we managed and it was off to the courier offices for despatch.
Heavier pieces may require extra layers of cardboard or may have special crates built for them, depending on the piece and the destination. We use courier companies within South Africa, and a specialist air freight shipping service for international door to door deliveries.