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shipping pottery (from europe to usa)

updated fri 8 apr 05


Lee Love on wed 6 apr 05

Wally wrote:

>Any thoughts or information very wellcome.....
>Should have some stuff in Georgia within 10 days, so things are
>getting urgent.
>Might consider to take everything in luggage and handluggage as well,
>some 15-20 small pieces in total... Anyone had any problems lately
>with customs when bags with ceramics had to be opened ?
>Would above quantity be acceptable as "private gifts" ?
>Never had any problems before, my luggage was never opened, but
>safety regulations and other burocratic mania seem to get stronger
>year after year......
Wally, I am particularly involved with shipping pottery back and
forth from Japan to America. Sometimes very expensive work. If the
work is labeled as art (I use: "art pottery"), there is not a tarrif
on art. I have nor has anybody I have shipped to been charged a
tarrif on these packages. I learned about this when packing and
shipping my teacher's work during my appenticeship, with some individual
pieces approaching $30,000.00 There was only one time while at my
teacher's work shop did I hear of any problems with customs and
eventually it was treated as art.

If something is "only" dinnerware, or is in sets it might be
more questionable. Of course, I am only speaking in refrence to
shipping work internationally, and not making a value judgment on the
work itself.. ;-)

in Mashiko, Japan Visual Bookmarks WEB LOG

Kruzewski on thu 7 apr 05

Dear Wally,

I can't answer all your questions but I send the occasional pot to
friends in USA by post and I've recently returned from NCECA - I took
pots over as gifts, and for the exchange and for the odd fundraiser.

I don't know about duties into USA. I know only about duty into UK,
which is pretty irritating as you can import very little before having
to pay duty. It's about 147 that you can actually bring in with you on
the plane, but I've paid duty on 30 worth of pottery tools sent from
Chinese Clayart! It's something that's easy to forget.

I always label ceramics that I send as exchange items as gifts with no
value because I don't want the recipient to be paying duty on an
exchange mug. When I took 6 pieces in for NCECA I put down that they
were all gifts (they were) and they had no value as I'd made them
myself. This was accepted without question. I bought other gifts in as
well and I wrote down the value of everything I'd paid for - including
the chocolate! The customs person seemed a little surprised at my
honesty. Whether they'd accept that 15 - 20 pieces are gifts with no
value is debatable. There must be someone who takes pots to USA with
them for workshops etc - Phil Rogers for instance. His change of email
address was posted not long ago - couple of weeks maybe (archives) -
perhaps he would advise you.

I wouldn't be tempted to pack any pots in your suitcase. The state mine
was in when I got back home - as well as having been opened and
inspected it was well battered and looked like someone in stillettoes
had tap danced on it. I took - and brought back - everything precious to
me and fragile in a backpack that was my carry on luggage. I packed each
pot in thick bubblewrap envelopes - the sort you mail - so that they
could be easily inspected but were protected. Inside each pot I packed
other small items in bubble wrap. I have always found that it's worth
packing the inside of ceramic items as tight as possible so there is
more resistance. No one inspected my hand luggage - I take it because I
didn't put anything in there that would upset the scanners.

A friend of mine married an American (who promptly left him with big
debts as soon as she had British citizenship - but that's another story)
and he found they could, in addition to ordinary luggage, bring one fair
sized (about 2 foot square) box each with them too. If that's the case
from USA to UK it may be so the other way round. The weight allowance
seemed quite generous -you'd need to check with your airline. If you
pack so that the contents can be inspected reasonably easily then at
least you have all your bases covered - separate easily opened box for
each pot with-in the larger carton, with packing in between boxes.

By the way, before anyone jumps - I don't mind having my case inspected,
going through the scanners, security checks - as long as they are polite
- and they were. If it weren't for the missing lock on my case
(carefully packaged inside the case!) and a note from the authorities,
I'd never have known they'd been in there. I didn't particularly want to
be blown up at 30,000 feet, and if you look at it that way, it's worth it.


North Wales

>Here's another topic on shipping ceramics...
>Question for European Members.....
>What is the actual situation for sending ceramics out of Europe to
>the States by courrier services ?
>Is there any minimal charge, under which ceramics are still regarded
>as tax-free "gifts", and when do charges begin, and how much ?
>Might consider to take everything in luggage and handluggage as well,
>some 15-20 small pieces in total... Anyone had any problems lately
>with customs when bags with ceramics had to be opened ?