Monday, October 14, 2013

Done and done

It's official:
I'm going to San Francisco

February 13th I fly out with Mandy, to spend the weekend at the Ex Postal Facto conference.
The flight is booked, and so are the accommodations.
(and let's give a shout out to my mom for making that awesome airplane card pictured above and for slipping me some financial assistance toward the whole extravaganza)

I'm out of my mind excited that I'm finally going to meet Gina and Pamela, who live in San Francisco, and rumor has it, other mail art buddies are flying in from far flung places.  Tina is coming from Minneapolis and staying in the apartment Mandy and I are renting.
Who else?  Will it be you?

It's also official that I've submitted a piece for the mail art exhibit that weekend.
The theme is "mail/art/book" -
"Artists are invited to submit work exploring the intersection between mail art and artists’ books, in whatever way, shape, or form that may take. Mail art, artistamps, artists’ books, and other artworks that can be mailed and relate to the theme of mail/art/books are encouraged."

I've known about the October 15th submission deadline for well over a month.  Maybe two months.
At first I was simply procrastinating because I had plenty of time.  Then, as the date drew closer, all semblance of inspiration dried up and blew away.
I had ZERO ideas.
Until Saturday night.
Less than 72 before the post-mark deadline, I had a freaking brilliant idea.

Here's how I spent my weekend:
 Yup, it's a book/postcard in the shape of a vintage Post Office Box.
It opens to reveal an accordion book:


It was designed to have a fully functional lock.  Turn the knob on the front and the lever in the back locks the door.  Sadly, once the book was inside it was too fat to properly lock.  The box needed to be deeper.  Too late to fix it since it has to be in tomorrow's mail.
If only inspiration had struck a few weeks ago....
It has to be sent naked, with the postage affixed directly to the art.
I'm going to have to wrap the whole thing in twine before I mail it, in order to keep the door shut.
So it goes.

Here are some close ups of the pages of the book.
The entire piece is called "Letters never sent."
The handwriting is taken from pages of my journals.  I go through periods of writing "morning pages" (as recommended in Julia Cameron's book "the Artist's Way")
Three stream-of-consciousness pages every day, never to be read again.
I was getting ready to burn some of these old pages, but I found a better use for them.

This project also motivated me to make some artistamps (faux postage using my original art)

Here's a little video showing you how the whole piece works:

If I had more time, there are some things I'd do differently, but overall, I'm really, really happy with the way this came out.
I will bring it to the post office first thing in the morning.  I'm nervous that it will not arrive intact.  Assuming it does, it will be part of the exhibit at the San Francisco Center for the Book - opening reception February 14, 2014.
Will you be there?
I will!


  1. Ok- I seriously never swear- especially on line...but this is F#*@ing Brilliant! Brilliant. I am sitting here in awe. Did you have to send it Naked? Is that part of the rules? I would wrap that puppy in so much egg-foam that even MY 380 lb UPS guy could break it. It's that Good! Let me know Absolutely the very minute you find out what they say!!

  2. I'm so glad you're doing this!! I've gotten so much out of going to things like this for myself. Good on you, and can't wait to hear all about it! Plus, getting out of New England in February? Wicked bonus right theyah.

  3. Yippee!! OMG this post is fabulous for so many reasons:
    1. You are coming to SF (yes, I know this, but it is nice to see it confirmed again :D)
    2. Your Mom's awesome airplane card and SF-assistance fund (how do I thank her for being so fantastic myself? :D)
    3. Seeing your final piece - WOW!!!!! Amazing.... Nailed it!
    4. Seeing your arti-stamps! Yahoo! Congrats :) (?Share :D?)
    .... I could go on and on and on and on....

  4. Awesome! Have fun in San Francisco.

  5. All I can Say is,,,,WOW. I love it, Karen. I sure would like to go to that exhibit- FUN! (Pamela is a wonderful're gonna like her).

  6. Definitely awesome and brilliant! I couldn't for the life of me think of anything to I didn't. Have a terrific time at the event. Although I'm only 250 miles away, I'm going to SF in January instead, for the Vintage Paper Fair. But also planning to meet Pamela then.

  7. Karen--SF!! YAY What neighborhood are you staying in? How wonderful to meet up. The event should be really wonderful. And your book --- that is just too cool. See you opening night at Center for the Book!

  8. Can I just say.....a-MA-zing!!!! I love, LOVE this book concept and your 'letters never sent' theme is inspired. Hooray for moms that help us reach our dreams and lucky you to go to this event!! All this goodness in one post. Smiles all around. And your artistamps are so very cool....

  9. Wow- I thought October 15 was DAYSSSS away! Thanks for the reminder - managed to make it just in time to the post office today. And I had to tie mine in twine, too. The guys at the post office were entertained.

  10. Okay, yes, it is now official, you ARE a genius! Congrats on your wonderful creation, and I'm so excited for you about your trip!

  11. Your piece is sooo inspiring and waaaayy better than the piece of crap I sent! It encouraged me to make another and send it QUICK. I can't wait for our fabulous trip!

  12. Brilliant, Karen!! I'm so happy for you all the way around. And how wonderful you have a mom who "gets it".

  13. So excited for you, you will have a blast. Bet Dori Singh will be there you fold out book. Mail from you that I will open tomorrow when my eyes aren't blurred and I can appreciate the goodness contained within. xox

  14. Oh my goodness Karen! I am absolutely blown away by this. It's gorgeous, it's so darn clever. Wow, you do amazing work under pressure. I know you'll have an amazing time in Feb. Congratulations on going, can't wait to hear all about it!! xoxox

  15. Karen, this is brilliant.I love that not only is your book shaped like an old school post box, but that it is functional too. ( Interactive = cool). I would love to see it in person. Enjoy SF. I'm a teensy bit jealous of all the fun you'll be having...

  16. Oh-la-laaa, what a very cool postcard-mail box-artist book-locker that is! I hope it gets to the exhibition safely and without too much distress. And planning a trip, that sounds like heaven to me! :-)