Ugly Parcels – a Messy Tuesdays special

For today’s (late) Messy Tuesdays post I wish to dwell momentarily on the mess associated with my packaging skills, or – put more bluntly – my inclination towards making parcels which have been strengthened with sellotape and gaffer tape to the point that they have become unsightly.

Ugly Parcels, if you will.

Let us dwell on this deeply furrowed brown wrapping paper crease, in the acreage of which small colonies of packaging-dwellers might happily establish themselves.

And let us reflect for a second on the mesh of interwoven tapes of different strengths and densities which have been used here to make sure that the poor ebay buyer for whom this packet is destined will not be able to access the contents without at least a free half an hour and a very fine pair of steel scissors.

Please note that the lack of consideration I give to the aesthetics of my ugly parcels must not be confused with a lack of care about the recipient or the contents. Rather, my approach to wrapping up parcels is driven by a deep suspicion that some terrible calamity will befall the items in transit. I feel responsible to ensure to the best of my abilities that – should any disaster strike – my parcel should be excellently prepared to cope. This sense of responsibility provokes me to enwrap, encircle, tape up, enmesh, reinforce and doublewrap things so that they are able to face most eventualities and – to more critical eyes – somewhat over-engineered.*

However it is not for the Messy Tuesdays posts to criticise the shortcomings of one’s domestic creativity; in Messy Tuesdays we instead revel in the richness of our practices and materials; in the joys of life as it is.

I am not my bonny, neatly beribboned parcel.

I am an admirer of the exuberance of a good old Ugly Parcel. I like to see traces of the wrapper’s impatience and energy in the wrinkles of the sellotape, and to happily observe the earnest, well-intentioned desire to protect the contents which inhabits an excess of paper or a non-judicious placement of gaffer tape. I like the weighty heft of a parcel which has employed newspaper and brown paper in its construction. And I approve of the the unashamed temerity of a resolutely utilitarian packaging aesthetic in a world full of surface desires and useless prettiness.

Since my gifts and parcels must always be lumpen, porridgy efforts wound in duct tape, I have decided to embrace my inner ugly-parcel-maker. She is a fine creature; a restless wrapper with a lack of patience and a lengthy to-do list which will not allow her to indulge in the vanities of Perfect Sellotape Placement. To her credit, no parcels I have ever sent have fallen apart in transit, and my Ugly Parcels are cheap and environmentally friendly to produce, since they invariably entail the re-use of old jiffy bags and sometimes the re-use of old installation materials.**

This post is dedicated to all the Ugly Parcels and their noble makers!

*That said, I would like very much to invent a concrete-enrobing device with which to thoroughly ensure the preservation of anything I might send by Royal Mail. The parcel weight costs could pose a problem, but then they would probably not be a great deal more than our monthly sellotape bill.
**I am still using brown paper left over from The Sonic Tuck Shop installation in Reading last year to wrap parcels!

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