This is my experience of the XPF weekend.
I do believe my attendance was kismet, as I was one of the lucky people who snagged "Delta Glitch" tickets for my flight to San Francisco. From SF, I was flying out to Portland, OR, to visit my best friend from high school, then from Portland back to Jacksonville, FL. My ticket to SF cost me $25 and my ticket from Portland to Jax cost me $27. o.O I know!! There was only a two hour window where one could score those ticket prices before Delta fixed their software mistake. Lucky me.
XPF was my valentine this year.
Had a cool apartment through Airbnb.com all booked and I was going to be on the 27th floor with an awesome view of the city and right across the street from the SF Library, where the lectures on Sunday were taking place. Unfortunately, my Airbnb host cancelled on me 2 weeks before my trip. I had all of my transportation mapped out, etc. I was sorta disheartened and thinking maybe I should forgo the trip.
I have never traveled to the West Coast, nor have I traveled by myself. Admittedly, I was intimidated, yet excited about stretching my wings.
Scrambled to find another place to stay and lucked out with a nice apartment for the same price as the first, though I was near the Ferry Building and not in the center of the city as was originally planned. But, when I received the address for where I was staying and the address number was "88" I felt satisfied that I was on the right path once again and was a bit more confident to take this journey.
Side note: I live my life by "8"s. I got married on August 8th, 2002. If I could have waited until 2008 to marry my hubby, I would have, but that would have been too long!
If two roads diverged in the wood and one marker said "Path 2" and another marker said "Path 8", I would take 8 every time. No questions asked, even if it looked spookier or was full of spiderwebs...I'm a bit obsessive about it really, sometimes. But it is a symbol (infinity) that I put my faith into and I follow it when it comes in front of my path. I would rather pay $8 for something than $6.97. I put :28 seconds on the microwave instead of :30. I pay $40.80 to fill my tank instead of $40.00. Ok, you get the point - I'm done now...Back to XPF: I flew in on the 14th. In hindsight, I should have flown out on Thursday the 13th, but in the end it didn't matter because I was flying through Atlanta and they had cancelled the majority of flights on TUE/WED/THUR because of the snow. So, I landed at 4:30pm. I had all intentions of going to the "meet & greet" at Arch Draft prior to the mail/art/book reception, but as I sat in the Super Shuttle during rush hour and watched the clock tick to 6pm, I knew that wasn't going to happen.
I checked into my apartment real quick then rushed to get a cab where my Airbnb host said would be my best bet. Get to that place, and no cab stand. I've never hailed a taxi in my life, so I walked around the streets of San Francisco trying to orient myself in the direction I need to go to get to the San Francisco Center for the Book. Found my eyes leaking uncontrollably, feeling lost and overwhelmed in the biggest city I've ever stepped foot in. I remembered someone mentioning Uber, so I downloaded the app and after a few tries, finally got a ride to the SF Center for the Book for the opening night of XPF. I think I was in such a panic mode for the fact that I had 5% battery left on my phone and I probably couldn't have found my way back to my apartment without a map. After flying ALL DAY and quickly stopping to drop off my bags, totally forgot about charging my phone. My bad.
I made it to where I needed to be at about 7:30pm, with the event only going until 9pm.
Great crowd at the mail/art/book exhibit opening reception!
I was determined not to let the beginning of my arrival in SF bring me down and I immediately jumped into the glorious fray that was XPF! I met sooooo many penfriends that I knew from Twitter, Instagram, my mail network & legends from the Eternal Network.
There was a room where you could create your own valentines. The room was jam packed, but I braved the swarm of people and created a few stamped cards.
I am a planner and list-maker. I had a huge stack of mail that I was going to send from the event to my mail art pals that were not in attendance (and some who were). But, yeah. I left that stack of mail back at the apartment in my LWA bag that I was tired of toting around airports all day. I kept kicking my self all week about this. I only managed to turn in one piece of mail to the XPF Postmaster, and it was to my daughter, Nova. I scribbled my address down sloppily (ick) and sent it to my home address. At least I managed that!
Soon after my arrival and greeting numerous people that I knew, but never met in person, Jennie Hinchcliff of Red Letter Day and Head Postmistress and Visionary of the whole XPF shabang took the stage to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the event.
I have been a huge fan of Jennie (and her penmanship) ever since Good Mail Day was published in 2009.
We've exchanged mail art pieces and every time I receive mail from her in my mailbox, I gush and make my husband and family look at it. "Look, see, I got mail from Jennie!!! Isn't it awesome!!?!" She doesn't know this, but a couple of her postcards are framed and hanging on the walls of my airmail-themed kitchen...
While we didn't have a chance to chat long at XPF, I did get a quick selfie with her and she graciously signed my copy of Good Mail Day. Next time I'm in SF, I will get in touch and we can have a "civilized conversation" that would, of course, be on the topics of paper, postal ephemera and pens - I'm sure!
XPF weekend also marked the first art exhibit where I had a piece of my art in a show that I physically attended -- all official behind the glass and shtuff! I create stuff ALL of the time, but I rarely show it to the world. I think that's what drew me to mail art. I can create and create and send it to someone that I think might appreciate it. And if they don't, I don't have to hear about it. Sometimes I make strange and weird things and I don't want to have to explain it to anyone. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I may have made it, but once it's out there, it's up to the viewer to determine what it means to them.
The esoteric and the ephemeral combined is what really attracts me to mail as an art form. Anything goes.
Stan Askew's contribution to mail/art/book. Totally didn't even know he was there that weekend until I was back home. I would have sought him out and told him how much I admire his mail art. Ya know, infinity symbol usage and whatnot!!
The whole evening at the gallery, I just could not believe that I was finally there. All of the months of anticipation had culminated to that moment in time and I am so grateful that I can look back and say "I Attended Ex Postal Facto"!!
Most long-winded post ever here on this blog. I will leave you with the tease that tomorrow, I'm posting about all of the fun ephemeral goodies I was able to get my hands on. Plus, I still have Saturday and Sunday to tell you about!
Tomorrow, I'll show you the inside of my XPF Passport, which is the BEST souvenir ever.
'Til next time...