Yes, my bears have left home and are off into the Big Wide World.
I spent yesterday mounting everything up, which takes ages.
Each piece of artwork first needs to be trimmed (I cut my pastel paper 10mm wider than I need all round, so I can trim it back to a nice, crisp edge). The ruler has to be wiped with a bit of loo-roll after every single cut, as it picks up chalk from the illustration.
Here comes a quite unnecessary, arty shot of my waste bin full of trimmings...
I lay the trimmed artwork face down on the overlay paper (cut by my dear hubby) to stick masking tape loops on the back, then flip it over and position it on the mount card.
I wipe any blotted-off chalk from the overlay with more loo-roll (so handy), then position the overlay paper on top of the illustration, to press the artwork in place, so I never touch the surface of the chalk.
The overlay is secured with magic-tape along the top edge:
I've learned to use a steel rule to weight the overlay paper down at this point, or the tape's static sucks the paper up and makes a right old mess (requiring much swearing, scrunching up, binning and re-cutting).
Once mounted, I give each illustration a last once-over, a final check for missing buttons, whiskers, teeth etc. In this case it was missing pussy-cat eyebrow hairs:
I label each mount with the project info and my details, but also with a BIG RED WARNING for printers to alert them to the perils of pastels!
Then it's all sandwiched between two huge and very stiff sheets of cardboard, before being wrapped in brown paper and lots of sellotape for good measure. It ended up over 2.5 feet long:
I struggled with it to my local post office: it weighed a ton and cost £21 to post, but you should have seen the wide grin on my face as I walked back home.
I do have mixed feelings about this bit though: huge relief that it's all done, but vague terror in case it gets damaged or lost in transit. And I still can't quite believe it's gone. You can tell I'm over-excited by the length of this post! A glass of wine (or two) tonight I think...