When I heard about Ex Postal Facto, I knew I had to go. Not only was it the mail art event of the year, but it was in San Francisco, which I had made a goal of visiting before my 26th birthday. It was perfect! Have a fabulous time with people while crossing off a goal? Yes please!

Over time, more and more people decided they were going. The mail art community is a beautiful thing, and I was so glad to hang out with people who I already correspond with, as well as tons of others who have a delightful shared interest.

The event was organized by Jennie Hinchcliff and her team (Maureen Forys, Angelique Evans, Jennifer Utter, Kate Kaminski, Sally Wurlitzer, & John Held). I seriously can’t thank these guys enough for the great events they planned for us on Valentine’s Day weekend. Part of which was asking for submissions (a long time ago) for a mail art book. People from all over the world contributed their work, and on Friday night, after a meet and greet at a fabulous art supply store called Arch, we gathered to see their work. Not only was it on display, but you could also purchase a book with great photos of everyone’s work. Thanks to the San Francisco Center For The Book for hosting us.

art by: Busy Weekends

We also got to pick up our XPF passports, which was the best idea possible. Lots of us brought artistamps and stickers to add to others’ passports. It was like we were the countries other people were visiting! Throughout the course of the weekend, we filled up our passports with some incredible art. If you want to see an elaborate showcase of the inside of a passport, check out Pamela’s post.

Besides checking out the exhibit and stamping passports like crazy, there were also refreshments, a room for making valentines, and a place to send your mail! It was so fun to meet people that I knew through the mail.

Pamela, Bonnie Jeanne, Kimberly, April, Me, Mandy, Bethany, Melissa, Anne Elizabeth, and Karen

Ryan, Me, & Mailarta *

The next day, we met at the Elks Lodge for a giant vendor expo. If you like mail at all this was the place to be. Not only could you purchase some phenomenal rubber stamps, postcards, and stationery, but people were also giving out lots of freebies. It was intense and overwhelming, and I actually took a break to write some mail in the lounge area next door. One of my favorite vendors was Philip Carey, who creates the most beautiful mail art while he attends dialysis three times a week. I actually heard him say “I look forward to going now”, which is really remarkable. Way to turn a potentially miserable situation into a beautiful and positive opportunity!

Among tons of other vendors, there was Mailarta. If you are looking for a more fabulous person, you’re going to be searching for a while. The hats, gowns, and jewelry were enough to keep me occupied for hours!

The last day of Ex Postal Facto, we all met at the San Francisco Library, for two panels. These panels consisted of some of the original mail artists from the late 60’s Fluxus/artistamp movement. It was amazing to hear each of these individuals talk. Thanks to Jennie and John for moderating the talks of mail art rock stars Anna Banana, Leslie Caldera, Carl Chew, James Cline, Ginny Lloyd, James Felter, Terra Candella, and my favorite, Lowell Darling. I honestly didn’t anticipate these talks being as fascinating as they were, but I was hooked. The information they shared about the origins of this fabulous network were totally worth the trip, in my opinion.

If you were worried that mail artists are boring, or something, don’t worry! In between the panels, they were setting up the webcam to video conference with Ginny. Skooter saw an opportunity to talk to his old friend and ran on the stage. But without any segue, he had stripped down to his underwear!

He stood there and chatted with Ginny, and eventually put his clothes back on. And then promptly auctioned off his socks for $20 to Cascadia!

I’m so grateful for all the people I met at this event. Demonstrating my fan-girl-ness, I was actually embarrassed when I said to Carl Chew, “I’m so glad I got to meet you and touch you“.

As fabulous as XPF was, it was only a part of my trip to San Francisco. Stay tuned this week to see more fun from my now second favorite city.

Me & Jennie: * photo credit – Pamela G.