Friday, March 7, 2014

Ex Postal Facto - part 1

Ex Postal Facto (and my entire San Francisco trip) was amazing.


Four action packed days of people and art and food and sunshine.
It was exhilarating and overwhelming and joyous.
There's no way I can cover all of this in a single post, so I'll start with the beginning.

I escaped from Boston on Thursday February 13th, just as a massive winter storm was blowing into the state.  We got the "no school" call as we were driving to the airport in the pre-dawn hours, even though there was not yet a flake in sight.
Mandy was already there at the airport waiting for me.  It started to snow as we were boarding, and there was the last minute de-icing of the plane before take off, but we made it!
Our friend Tina was not so lucky.  Her flight out of Minneapolis was cancelled, and she ended up missing the entire weekend.  
(We missed you Tina!)

While the snow piled up past the 12 inch mark at home, the sun was shining in San Francisco.  Gina picked us up at the airport (wearing a giant eyeball mask, and carrying postal treasures for us!) and whisked us to our rented apartment.  It took me no time at all to strip off my woolen layers and bask in the 60 degree sunshine on our little patio.  Bare feet in February?  Heaven!

In spite of a full day of travel on very little sleep, Mandy and I were only just starting our San Francisco adventure.
Gina picked us up around 4PM with a surprise for us in the car - the one and only Pamela (aka Cappuccino and Art Journal) hopped out to greet us.  Pamela was one of the first people I started corresponding with when I started this art adventure 3 years ago and it was so wonderful to finally meet her.

We headed off to Chronicle books for our first schmoozing opportunity of the weekend and for a lecture on stamp design, given by the delightful Niko Courtelis.  In spite of his engaging slide presentation, I found myself struggling to stay awake in the dark quiet room.  My east coast body was begging for sleep, but I didn't want to cut our evening short.  There was still amazing sushi to be eaten, and loads more talking before we finally collapsed into our beds.  It wasn't even 10PM San Francisco time, but I'd been up for 21 hours.  Time to call it a night.

Friday, February 14th
Thanks to my natural early-bird tendencies (and my east-coast body clock) I was up before the sun.  Gina had promised to take me for an early morning walk on the beach.  We were in the car by 7AM, headed to Fort Funston (Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory).

It was foggy, but still breathtakingly beautiful.  See that little black speck on the brown path?  A person.  It's a long hike down to the beach (and an even longer hike up)

But oh, was it ever worth it.
It was all I could do to not jump in with all my clothes on.

A Valentine picture, texted to my far-away sweetie.

our new friend

We walked and talked and talked and walked and only turned around when it became clear the tide was coming in. What a delight to find Gina both walks and talks as fast as I do! (not many people do)
I think we may have been separated at birth.

I got back to the apartment and literally hosed all the sand and salt off my jeans and geared up for the next adventure.
The day had turned sunny and warm, so Mandy and I decided to take a leisurely walk through the city, poking into shops (and getting ice cream) before meeting back up with Gina and Pamela for some delicious Vietnamese food for lunch.

I'm not sure what Pamela is holding - perhaps it is a picture of her lunch?  (we are not generally this fuzzy)

and THEN...we went to Scrap.
Oh, there are not enough words in the English language to describe the wonder that is Scrap.  Scrap is actually an acronym for "Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts."  All of you delightful mixed-media kindred spirits who scavenge through recycling bins, frequent junk shops, and pick stuff off the ground to use in your art would LOVE Scrap.  Mandy and I got lost in there for several hours.  It's probably a good thing I had limited space in my suitcase or I would have hauled home much much more junk than my modest little bag's worth.
It felt like a pilgrimage.

As hard as it is to believe, all of the above activities were just a warm up for the BIG event - the kick-off of the whole Ex Postal Facto weekend - the opening of the "Mail/Art/Book" exhibit.

Way back in the fall, Jennie Hinchcliff, the coordinator extraordinaire of this entire weekend, put out a call for submissions for this show.
I created this piece:

(you can see more pictures of it and even a video of it here.)

And here it is, on display at the San Francisco Center for the Book:

My big surprise for the evening, after buying the beautifully designed catalog of all the art in the exhibit, was finding an entire page dedicated to my piece

AND, a second (prominently placed) photo at the end.
What a thrill!

The opening reception was packed.  It was wonderful to meet so many of my mail friends in person that night, and fun to walk through the exhibit and see so many familiar names. 

We picked up our specially designed passports that evening, and after getting our first official XPF stamp, we began trading the Artistamps we'd brought with us with others who'd also come prepared. 

Pamela took this wonderful picture of my stamp assortment spilling all over the table:

Pamela also wrote a great blog post about the passports and gives us a peek at all the gorgeous stamps inside hers. Check it out.

At the end of the night, Mary England (who is every bit as marvelous in person as you would expect her to be) gathered a bunch of us together for a group photo.

Thanks for coordinating this picture, Mary (and for sending it to me!)
Read Mary's great account of the weekend here.

So there you have it.
The first 24  hours.

Are you exhausted?

There are more stories to share, but I'll save them for another day.

(and if you live in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend stopping by the San Francisco Center for the Book to see the exhibit.  It will be there through April 6th.)


  1. What a wonderful post! I didn't get to SCRAP but I will next time. I have a ton of "next time" plans on my list. When I met Pamela, I think I said something like "No you are not!" I get a bit tongue-tied when I'm overwhelmed :)

    I'm working on my Part 1 blog post right now so I can post it tomorrow. So great to relive it all.

    1. PostMuse--haha I don't recall you saying that! It was lovely meeting you -- and Karen -- and everyone else. What an amazing event. Hope you all visit again.

  2. Yay! Your first 24 hours sounds like great fun -- oh yeah -- I was there for some of it! Meeting you was absolutely delightful and I hope you will return. There's lots more to do in SF -- trust me.(I like the blurry "us" at lunch).

  3. I'm so glad that I can "live it" vicariously through you! I was worried about you getting there in the impending snow; I am SO glad your flight didn't get canceled. Your piece looks amazing in the book...congratulations!...and on display. And how fun to see all these people we know from Blogland...maybe someday I'll get to join you all!

  4. I didn't know about the SCRAP in SF, but a kind gal siting in front of me at the lectures on Sunday told me about the SCRAP in Portland as I was flying there after XPF. I LOVED it. So much so, that I am inspired to start one here in Jax, Fl. Thanks for sharing your bird's eye view of the weekend. I still have Sat & Sun to post about!

  5. Yay!! Thanks for your words <3 I'm jealous you made it to the Pacific! That was something on my to do list that I didn't get to check off. It was so great to meet you.

  6. Woohoo!! An absolutely amazing trip! I'm still reeling....We WILL play again soon!!!

  7. Oh my...what a wonderful, if exhausting, experience. LOVE your Mail/Art Book. It deserves such coverage in the catalogue.

  8. **so jealous**

    Looks like you had an absolute ball and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.


  9. It sounds like a wonderful time! I am glad to finally see your face! I also see those wondrous San Francisco only spring rolls on your plate. No one can make them here. All the local Vietnamese places have short little blah ones. I tried so hard to find one like that here. No luck. I'll have to go back soon to get another.

  10. Love your "new friend":

    "Quote the raven, 'Nevermore.'"

  11. Oh, wow. wow wow wow!
    This is so great! How fun. Thanks for sharing about it!
    I miss doing things!! And this isn't about me!


  12. Fantastic part 1, what a trip.....You were in heaven with that group, that's for sure! xox

  13. amazing is right! thanks for sharing with us. xx