July Link List 2016

Colorado 2016

I just got back from a trip to California.  Without my camera!  How's that for a real vacation?  The beach, the lake, the river... all those touchstones that make me come alive.  To mark the occasion I revived an old California image I had taken and put it in my shop.  With that, I shall start this month's link list.

My newest print in the shop: Palm

Recent Photo Inspiration:
Rudolf Koppitz
Viki Kollerov√° 
Lola Alvarez Bravo

Recent Books I've read:
Wilderness (Rockwell Kent's Alaskan journal)
Rosalie Lightning (the Graphic Memoir that made me cry)
Anthem (quick and interesting read)
The City of Ember (reading this series with my 9 year old)

Currently reading/drawing through: One Zentangle a Day

Online Reading: Adventure Journal

Favorite new Photoshop Feature: Content Aware Crop
*turn off 'classic mode' or it won't work

Gift to myself this week.  Her Instagram has a 40% off code if you are fast.


April Link List 2016

Maryanne Gobble Photography
St. Mary's Glacier, Colorado - April 2016

Have you guys noticed I've slowed down taking photos?  For whatever reason, I don't connect well with my surroundings in Colorado.  We are going to tough it out for one more year and I'm set on filling my creative well one way or another.

I'm currently reading through The Artist's Way again.  Last week one of my exercises was to write down 20 things I enjoy doing.  I had a hard time coming up with 20 off the top of my head, but one on the list was cloud watching.  The next day we drove up to St. Mary's Glacier and did just that.  Which hit a couple other things on my list:  hiking and photography.

Reading is on the list.  I read a quirky juvenile fiction book, Counting by 7's, and now I'm reading, The Soul of an Octopus.  Fascinating creatures.

Octopus is what I think when I see this fashion clip.

I have a thing for sea creatures.
This movie
This artist book
This print

Favorite photographer find this month is Petros Koublis Photography

Favorite painters I've discovered are Danna Ray and Yelena Brykenkova

This poem

This short film/poem

Interviews I'll be watching next month

Worthy cause


Eco-Friendly Packaging and Shipping for Art Prints

This is the sixth installment of my Print to Ship Series. In this section I want to discuss how I chose my packing and shipping resources.

Over the past year I have ordered prints from a huge variety of photo labs and other artists. Everything from flimsy envelopes that arrived bent to large boxes with bubble wrap for a little 8x10 print.  From the person who spends $80 per shipping box to the 'all green' printing lab who ships in enough plastic to suffocate a small whale.  

None of that would do.  I made a list of what I wanted for my packaging and then spent weeks figuring out how to make it happen. 

So what do I want for my own prints?
  • Sturdy material that does not easily bend
  • Lightweight material to cut down on shipping costs
  • Plastic free
  • Minimal Waste
  • Recycled Cardboard
  • Affordability
  • Simplicity
The combination of all these things is easier said than done. I'm mostly there but still fine tuning some odds and ends.  Responsible shipping on my part means I can offer affordable art that arrives in one piece without totally destroying the planet in the process.

Packing Prints

I have a few packaging options I'm experimenting with right now. All my cardboard is sourced from a company called EcoEnclose. They make 100% recycled packaging that I can buy in low volume and affordable prices.  I took advantage of their samples so I could try different size envelopes and boxes.

Rigid Mailers

This is the most common packaging I see when I buy prints from other artists. Finding rigid mailers that are a good fit for my non-standard sized prints can be a struggle. I currently use them for my small prints.

The most common inner packaging I see for prints are clear plastic sleeves, but I want to ditch plastic. I wrap mine in archival tissue paper and then place them in a paper envelope with folded cardstock. The envelope and cardstock alone would probably be fine, but for now I'm using the rigid mailer for extra protection.

One Panel Folder

I love the folder method. Of all the prints I've received in the mail, I have never had a damaged print if it was shipped in this kind of box.   I currently use this for my letter size prints. I use two cardboard pads inside of the folder to sandwich the print, along with an archival tissue on the print surface and a compostable print sleeve. I tape the print sleeve to the cardboard to prevent it slipping around and bending the print corners during shipping.

If I have time, I sometimes wrap the the package in kraft paper and tie it with twine before slipping it in the folder.

Kraft Mailer

I use kraft mailers for my larger prints. I'm dead set on shipping flat rather than in a tube. I support the print between two panels of cardboard, protect the print surface with archival tissue, and wrap it in recycled kraft paper. I may switch most my print sizes to this packaging when I have to replenish my supplies next.

A note about kraft paper:

The roll of paper I have is huge. I experimented with smaller rolls of kraft paper found at office supply or craft stores and they were all too thick, or not recycled, or not cost efficient. I finally settle on a roll of  30# paper. This is for wrapping inner packages and not the thick stuff that is used to wrap outer packages for mailing. Because I couldn't find any eco-friendly print sleeve options for my 11x17 prints, I also use this paper to wrap the print in and then secure it to the cardboard pads with tape. I discovered this method when I ordered from Fine Print Imaging and they shipped me a fine art print like this. As a consumer, it was my favorite print to open.  There is something delicate and earthy about it.

Other Supplies

Tape: I'm still working on finding a tape I love. There are a variety of paper or plant based tapes out there. I currently use this tape but it annoys me how shiny it is. I'll probably order some from EcoEnclose with my next order.

Branding: I'm all about simplicity but you could really spice these packages up. Sometimes I attach my business card to the outside of my packages but recently I ordered a custom stamp and eliminated one more piece of paper. I'm sure the little details may morph as time goes on.


Choosing a carrier:

I ship via USPS because it's familiar and affordable. I have not run into any major problems with them yet.  Also, I am able to ship to and from PO Box addresses unlike some other carriers. 

Shipping discounts:

I get discounted shipping via Etsy. If I'm not selling a print through Etsy, I use Paypal for shipping. Both companies include tracking numbers for free. I purchased this postal scale from Amazon so I can enter an accurate weight and then I print my postage on 100% recycled labels. This is a huge time saver. All my packages usually fall under 13 ounces which means I can drop my mail into the USPS parcel slot without standing in line.  If you ship USPS priority mail you can request a free pickup from your house.

More in this series

Part 1: C-Prints and Silver Gelatin Lab Review
Part 2: Press Prints Lab Review
Part 3: Fine Art Prints Lab Review
Part 4: Printer Review - Epson p600 
Part 5: Choosing a Storefront - Etsy vs Tictail