Adapting compact shelving for storing 2-D artworks (RE-ORG Canada)
Articles Blog

Adapting compact shelving for storing 2-D artworks (RE-ORG Canada)

March 7, 2020


Hi there, I’m Mary Bradshaw Gallery Director
and Curator of the Yukon Arts Centre, and I’m Garnet Muething, Art Curator for the
Department of Tourism and Culture with Government of Yukon. So the Yukon Arts Centre and Government of
Yukon worked together this past year on Re-Org West. So we are here in our shared art vault storage. So this houses the collections, as the Yukon
permanent collection and the Yukon Art Centre collection. Our 2D storage was really hitting capacity,
so as you can imagine, between these two art collections we have a great deal of 2D artwork
which lives on our racks and they were really at the point of full capacity. Each year we bring in new acquisitions, so
the Re-Org was able to eke us out a little more space. My name is Erin Corbett, I work with the art
section at Yukon Government, and my title is the official Virtual Arts Project Coordinator. Our collection kind of was hitting 90% full
and we had about a few hundred square feet worth of artwork that we didn’t have room
for and so we were looking for options of what to do with 2D artwork. We kind of got the idea to do something like
this with dividers where artwork could lean against it and yes, we could be putting smaller
works in, and what this basically became was more of a compact shelving within our 3D compact shelves. These are the basic components, the basic,
there is some other stuff, but the basic elements of what we used to create the dividers. This is ready-rod, it comes in eight foot
lengths, it’s threaded all the way along, and what we used was a quarter inch, it’s
a little bit thinner and has some flexibility so that we could feed it underneath the bottom shelf. This is the shelf, we figured out how many
we needed, we created a template, and measured out where the holes needed to go; one for
each rod. Then we used the template and put it on top
and drilled through the other shelves so that they were all the same. And then we have plastic tubing and what this
did was, we would thread it over the ready-rod so that it protected frames from getting scratched
from the threads. It was pretty easy in some ways, what we did
was started with having a bolt at the very bottom of the ready-rod and then threading
it through the bottom, all the way up, all eight feet and then putting the tubing on
and then we would lower the shelves down and then keep going until we got to the top. Once we got to the top, we secured the ready-rod
with another bolt. So what we did once we had the dividers installed
into the shelves, we wanted to line the bottoms with carpet so that the frames again are sliding
against something that’s soft but also inert. So the carpet we pre-cut it so that there
are slits where the dividers are, but then connected at the back so that when we are
pulling the artwork in and out it doesn’t slide out with it. We designed it so that it has the three supports
so that they were somewhat close together so that regardless of whether it was a wider
piece or shorter width, it would always have two supports to lean against. So the challenges that we faced; we thought
carpet was a great idea considering we saw it elsewhere but it sheds, it collects dust,
and it frays, so an alternative would be to use coroplast on the bottoms instead of using carpet. The other trouble that we ran into was that
when we got to the top after all the shelves were in, the ready rods stuck out about six
inches, so putting the nut on and trying to thread it all the way down would have taken
way too long and was getting way too finicky, so what we did was cut it with the hack saw
but then the threads were gummed up a bit from the hacksaw, so we had to run out and
buy a file to bring it back down to the manufactured threads and then we could get the nut on.

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