It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Seattle, but after this past weekend all of that may change.
Regular readers of the RLD blog probably know that I spent this past weekend in Seattle, attending AARPEX (the Artistamp Reunion and Philatelic Expo). This was the “first time in a long time” that many of these original artistamp movers and shakers had been in the same room together. All things considered, it was a pretty historic event.
And what would a vendor expo or conference be, if I wasn’t putting things together at the last minute in the airport?
AARPEX was organized by Carl Chew (Triangle Post) and Robert Rudine (Tui Tui); special guests of honor were Anna Banana (Banana Post) and EF Higgins (Dooda Post). While I’d heard Carl’s name around the Network for a long time, I’d hadn’t had the pleasure of corresponding with him until recently (for AARPEX). With his hearty laugh and ready smile, Carl made all of the out-of-towners feel right at home.
If you’re one of those “why are things the way they are?” history nerds when it comes to mail art, you’ve probably seen the name James Felter (Postes Mraur) around the ‘Net. As one of the early advocates and creators of artistamps, his work is invaluable to anyone currently creating faux postage. Like Felter, EF Higgins (Dooda Post) has also been making artistamps since the late ‘70’s, incorporating a wide variety of techniques and processes into his work. As of 2009, he had created over 780 artistamp editions.
Dame Mailarta was in attendance, with a table full of brightly colored stamp sheets and a winning smile. It was an honor to meet one of my fellow “Women in the Artistamp Spotlight” creators! We talked millinery for a little bit, as I was entranced with her custom-created AARPEX chapeaux.
Cascadia Artpost and I have been long time correspondents; it’s always a treat to see his crisp design and tongue-in-cheek humor grace my PO box. The day-long vending session passed quickly, as Cascadia regaled me with tales of artistamp adventures and mailings-of-days-gone-by…
Bugpost gave me a lift to the event in the “purple swirl-mobile”; I was charmed from the moment I spied his yellow knit cap and lime green winklepicker shoes. With a table full of items culled from garage and basement, there was mail art treasure to discover under every scrap of paper and old envelope. Bug’s table was like Christmas to me; sifting through the bits and pieces was a great way to spend the time.
And that was just the first day! After a night of not-alot-of-sleep (I was too jacked up on amazing graphic design possibilities and a whirled brain of everybody I’d just met), I piled into a car with Sally Wurlitzer and the Fabulous K. in order to attend the grand opening of the Museum of Artistamps (MOA).
Of course there were high jinks. And stories. Lots of laughter, and a slight twinge of sadness that we would have to part ways in a few hours. But for the most part, we didn’t let that stop us. There was a ribbon cutting to celebrate the museum’s opening, chocolate cake, and binder after binder of incredible artistamps to look at.
An unbelievable weekend, spent in the presence of incredibly talented, warm hearted folks; even the Seattle weather (for the most part) cooperated. Taking part in AARPEX reminded me that some of the best people you can meet are the ones you correspond with; I was further reminded that when you meet those folks in person and everything is right, there’s nothing else like it in the world.
PS: I would like to specially thank Carl Chew, Robert Rudine, Jas Felter and Ed Varney for their generosity of spirit and unceasing graciousness. This was a magical weekend; it couldn’t have happened without you. Also: my thanks to RLD readers Lisa H., Millie, Sandi, and Debbie for coming by and saying “hello”! 🙂
PPS: a few more artistamp makers involved in the weekend (apologies to anyone who I may have missed!):