More Mail Artistry from Ex Postal Facto

I couldn’t fit all the excitement into my first post about Ex Postal Facto 2014the amazing mail and correspondence art gathering held in San Francisco February 14 to 16. XPF was jam-packed with events and lively happenings, so here’s XPF part II. On Sunday, the  Special Collections Department of the San Francisco Public Library hosted two fascinating and often hilarious panel discussions. “A Brief History of West Coast Mail Art” was moderated by writer and visual artist John Held Jr., and featured visual/conceptual artist Lowell Darling, correspondence artist Leslie Caldera of Los Angeles, artistamp maker Carl Chew of Seattle, and artistamp maker Anna Banana of Canada. XPF organizer Jennie Hinchcliff opened the proceedings and introduced moderator John Held Jr.

Jennie Hinchcliff and John Held, Jr.

Carl Chew generously gave out large posters he created: “An Evolutionary Baobab of Artistamp Correspondents,” a dazzling graphic history of artiststampery from the ’80s to the present.

Carl Chew at XPF 2014

Next up, “Artistamps and Their Makers: Seeing the World in Miniature.”

XPF artistamp panel discussion

Jennie moderated the panel, which featured James Felter of Postes Mraur, Harley of Terra Candella, founding Postmaster of the Black Rock City Post Office (at Burning Man) James Cline, and towering above them all via Skype, Ginny Lloyd of Gina Lotta Artistamp Museum.

While my head was still buzzing with all of the fantastic stories, the milestones and personalities of the history of mail and correspondence art, I finally got to meet in person Correspondence Co-op member Sally Wassink, and swooned over her XPF commemorative issue artistamps.

S. Wurlitzer 2014 XPF artistamps

S. Wurlitzer 2014 XPF artistamps

And last but not least, a glimpse at some pages from my XPF passport, designed by Maureen Forys of Happenstance Type-O-Rama, and assembled by the Correspondence Coop team. It’s full of stickers and original artistamps and rubber stampings, to remind me of the fabulous mail art extravaganza that was XPF 2014!

XPF passport

I’d love to hear – have you had a good mail day lately?

Ex Postal Facto 2014

I’ve been designing artistamps or faux postage stamps for years, and even valid postage as soon as the USPS allowed it, and I also design greeting cards and fabric postcards.

But I only recently dived into the social whirl of mail art: exchanging postcards through Postcrossing, sending and receiving handmade artful mail with like-minded new friends, and joining the Correspondence Co-op, a group based in San Francisco for mail artists, letter writers, and people who love the United States Postal Service.

My timing was great, because this past weekend there was a mind-blowing series of events by, for, and about mail artists! The book that drew me into the mail art world is Good Mail Dayco-written by powerhouse Jennie Hinchcliff, aka Red Letter Day. Jennie dreamed up and organized (with lots of help from Correspondence Co-op members and others) Ex Postal Facto 2014, “A Celebration of Correspondence Art, Faux Philatelics, and Postal Modernism.” The first event I made it to was the Vendor Exposition, where over 25 artistamp makers, mail artists and postal moderns showed, sold, and shared their amazing work.

Ta-daa! The Queen of XPF 2014, Jennie Hinchcliff, holding forth at her crowded booth:

Jennie Hinchcliff

Niko Courtelis of Philatelic Atrocities gave a lecture hosted by Chronicle Books on Thursday in conjunction with XPF. Titled “A New Look at Postage Stamp Design,” Niko discussed postage stamp aesthetics and design fundamentals for stamp graphics. Here at the Vendor Expo he’s putting the commemorative XPF stamp he designed in another mail artist’s souvenir passport.

Niko Courtelis, Philatelic Atrocities

Dame Mailarta, Queen of Poste, down from Victoria, BC, had an amazingly colorful booth.

Dame Mailarta, Queen of Poste

I was thrilled to swap some of my own artistamps for a precious sheet of original commemorative Ex Postal Facto stamps designed by noted mailartist John Held Jr.:

John Held Jr

These are the artistamps I designed to give away and swap at Ex Postal Facto:


There’s much more to tell, so stay tuned for more wonderful mail artistry!

This is a list of my mail-related blog posts:

Passion for Postcards 

Mail Art pen pal

Stamp News

Handmade Fabric Postcards

Printing on Wood Veneer

New greeting cards

Vintage Valentine’s Day Greetings

Happy Halloween vintage postcards

Happy Peeps-Day!

A Token of Love

Happy New Year!

My Christmas Greeting

Happy Thanksgiving: Some Vintage Greetings

Mad Hens

Woman Vacations on Santa Catalina Island

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Stamp news

There’s still time to buy Forever stamps at 2013 prices. USPS has announced new postage prices going into effect January 26, 2014. Sending a first class letter (to 3.5 oz) will cost you 49 cents.

Upcycled handmade envelope

To mail a postcard within the US, a one-cent increase brings the rate to 34 cents. The maximum size for the domestic postcard rate is 6 by 4.2 5 inches. Any larger and you have to use the letter rate.

Postcard back

For my friends on Postcrossing, international stamps are jumping from $1.10 to $1.15. Unlike domestic postcard rates, the international price for a postcard and the lowest-priced letter size and weight is the same – so I use my large postcards on Postcrossers overseas.

Postcrossing map

Can’t get out to the post office for stamps, or want to browse the entire current selection? You can order stamps online, and they’ll be delivered for $1.25 per order.

Did you know that you can design your own legal postage? Unfortunately, you can’t have your own postage printed on Forever stamps, so as the prices hike you’ll need to add makeup stamps, but it’s incredibly cool to use your own designs and images on postage!

Zazzle stamp hen

I design my stamps through Zazzle.

zazzle stamps

Other options include PictureItPostage and PhotoStamps. I haven’t compared the pricing among the three, but for any self-design options you pay more than face value for the stamps. The printer will also evaluate your designs to make sure they comport with USPS regulations.

Are you a stamp addict like me? What’s your favorite stamp these days?