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Mystique Series - Shipping Day!

Posted by Dave Bull at 7:48 AM, April 23, 2010

With the first batch of 100 or so prints now printed (and dried), and the cases all 'prepped' and ready, there are only a 'few' things left to do before I can get these out the door ...

First step is to get them 'separated at birth'! The border embossing pattern is carved right across the 'joint', so a single cut will do it:

Those actor prints will now go into a drawer to await their turn. (Actually, they aren't finished yet ... we'll read more about that later ...)

My embosser for my 'studio mark' doesn't function well when used too close to the edge of a sheet, so I do that step now, before any further trimming.

And my name goes on ...

With those steps done, the print now gets trimmed to final size. I have guide marks taped to the base of my trimmer, and simply run each sheet through the sequence. Trim to width:

Then the top edge:

And finally the bottom edge:

This is their last chance to spend time 'together' before they are scattered all over the planet!

This next job is one of the more tiresome parts of the packaging procedure - printing the title on the mat boards (with an Epson ink jet). I really had to hunt around before I could find a printer with a rear-entry slot (necessary because stiff mat boards won't go through the roller system of most modern desktop printers.) But it means of course that I have to sit there and feed them one by one ... and this is one sl ooooo ww printer!

With the mats ready, the prints get mounted by transparent photo corners. To help me get everything lined up the mat boards are printed with a very faint marking showing the location of the two top corners:

Next step ... print the 'wrapper' that contains the explanatory little story. The stack of fresh paper goes through the big Epson laser printer once with no problem, but the reverse side does not - I have to feed those one by one. At the same time, the little Canon laser next to it is spitting out the letters and invoices that will also be included in the package.

Once the story sheets are all printed, it's time to fold them. Each sheet goes into place in a jig, and a sheet of acrylic comes down and is pressed into place:

This leaves the center section properly recessed to receive the mat board.

The mat goes into place, and the two flaps are folder over:

Quick and easy!

The flap that touches the surface of the print has nothing printed on it, to avoid any possibility of toner transfer in subsequent years ...

OK, time to get this stuff shipped! You know how you can see sequences of 'unboxing' photographs on the 'net whenever some new Apple product is available? Well, let's do it backwards ... here's how the Mystique prints get 'boxed'!

Scene of the crime ... yet again on the top of my table saw!

Into the drawer of one case goes the print pack:

Followed by a pristine acrylic sheet (with paper cover)

A small roll of bubble-wrap goes on top, to stop the stuff from rattling around during shipment:

The wooden stand then goes on top, and the drawer slips into the case.

When I was doing an 'unboxing' test earlier, I found that there was a good possibility that people will drop the drawer when unwrapping the packaging, so I tape it closed with a strip of offcut washi:

The case then gets a triple roll of bubble wrap. I'm not so excited about using so much plastic like this, but I don't really have any alternative - I need good protection, yet can't use anything heavy, or I just get killed on the postage ...

And then it all goes into the box perfectly snugly. The letter/invoice/etc. go on top, and the box is sealed.

Shipping label goes on, and all done!

After I got the 30 odd packages for domestic delivery done this afternoon, I called the parcel delivery man, and he came over to get them. These guys are great; they show up just a few minutes after I call (even for just one package), take the stuff away, and send me the bill more than a month later ...

Tomorrow morning I'll get busy with the first batch of the overseas orders. They will have to go to the post office on Monday morning, and I'm not quite sure just how I'm going to get them all down there ... I don't mind balancing three or four packages on the back of my bike, but I don't think I can manage 64 of them!

And I'm also not quite sure just how I am going to pay for this! The overseas collectors all paid in advance for this first print and case, but that money (and more!) all went straight out to the case makers a couple of weeks ago. It's going to run about $800 to get these sent off. There is almost that much in my post office account, but we're only one week away from the month-end mortgage payment ...

But Ichikawa-san tells me that she sent the final batch of the last 'My Solitudes' prints out during the past week, so that revenue should be starting to come in soon! Will it get here in time? Cross your fingers, Dave!


Following comment posted by: Peter on April 24, 2010 10:41 PM

Looks like a labor of love!! I cant wait to receive the first print.
Congratulation on another successful venture!!
Best, PD

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