Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tom of Finland gets global stamp of approval, with success of Finnish stamp set.

A set of homoerotic Finnish stamps featuring images by gay icon and artist Tom of Finland have become a worldwide success, Finland's postal service company said. During the six months that preceded the launch, buyers placed pre-orders from 178 countries, Posti said in a statement. The stamps feature partial nudity and muscular moustachioed men in uniforms.

"It's great that these images, which in the past had to be sold under the table, can now be openly stuck on an envelope or a postcard," Timo Berry, the graphic artist who designed the stamps, told Finnish public broadcaster YLE. Posti said the stamp set got "the largest global media attention" ever. "Our aim is to keep printing stamps which are in line with our time," Posti spokesman Markku Penttinen said in a statement. After Finland, the highest number of orders came from Sweden, Britain, the United States and France.

Ever been tempted to lick a Tom of Finland artwork? A new stamp series may present just that opportunity. Susanna Luoto, the European liaison for the Tom of Finland, and graphic artist Timo Berry selected two drawings from the oeuvre of Tom of Finland, who produced more than 3,500 works in his career, to be included on the three-stamp sheet. The first-class stamps showcase images typical of Tom of Finland art: a mustachioed, wide-framed, and uniformed man with a seductive stare and a cigarette dangling from his mouth, as well as the curves of the male derriere. "The sheet portrays a sensual life force and being proud of oneself. There is never too much of that in this northern country," Berry said.

To coincide with the stamp sheet’s release, Finland’s Postal Museum will also debut an exhibition on Touko Laaksonen, more popularly known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland, titled “Sealed with a Secret: Correspondence of Tom of Finland.” The show, which runs from September 6 through March 29 at the Museum Centre Vapriikki, will feature letters and exchanges from the late Finnish artist throughout the course of his career.

Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), is venerated internationally in gay circles for his explicit sexual drawings, created at a time when homosexuality was still taboo in the West. The Itella Corp. describes Tom of Finland as one of the “most well-known Finnish artists around the world. His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humour typical of subcultures.”

Thank you very much Ella for this FDC which puts a new dimension in philately.

Friday, October 3, 2014

150th Anniversary of Western Australia

This stamp commemorates the 150th year since Captain James Sterling arrived at mouth of the Swan River aboard the "Parmelia" with a party of settlers, the design on the stamp shows the states "Official" anniversary symbol, the symbol was designed by Norman Wilson of Perth, Western Australia.

The cover depicts The Old Mill (Shenton’s Mill) which is a restored tower mill located on Mill Point in South Perth, Western Australia. Today, restored to its original 1830s condition, it is one of Perth's best known historic landmarks and serves as a sightseeing attraction.

Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi), and the second-largest country subdivision in the world – however, a significant part of it is sparsely populated. The state has about 2.5 million inhabitants (around 11% of the national total), and 92% of the state's population lives in the south-west corner of the state.

The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616. The first European inhabitants were the crew of the British East Indiaman Tryall, who were wrecked on Tryal Rocks in May 1622. They spent a week camped on the Montebello Islands before sailing on to Batavia. The New South Wales colonial government established a convict-supported military garrison at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, in 1826, which was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831.

Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890, and later federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today Western Australia's economy mainly relies on mining, agriculture and tourism. The state produces 46% of Australia's exports. Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world.

Thank you Dear Maria for this nice FDC.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Four nostalgic yard and garden scenes from Finland

This year, the traditional fall stamps will depict nostalgic Finnish yards and gardens. The stamps are the work of Urpo Martikainen, who many know as an anchorman and whose watercolors are the basis of the stamps. The handy self-adhesive booklet called Autumnal yards and gardens, only the size of a credit card, contains four 1st class stamps.

Urpo Martikainen painted ten drafts, of which two scenes from Mikkeli, one from Helsinki and one from Kristiinankaupunki were selected for the booklet. Martikainen took into account the small size of the stamps by eliminating small details from the paintings and by sharpening the colors.

Urpo Martikainen has painted watercolors since the 1960s. When he retired in May 2010 from his 28-year-long post as an anchorman, there was suddenly more time left for painting. He has had various exhibitions and organized watercolor courses in Finland and Italy, among other places.

On the cover of the stamp booklet, Martikainen painted a small tractor, a traditional milk platform and mailboxes. "The image contains all the distinctive characteristics of countryside life in the 1950s. Many have nostalgic memories about fetching the mail in the countryside."

Thank you Ella for this FDC with the lovely stamps.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Signs of the sky

Stamps do not necessarily need to be boring and official. Nina Rintala's Signs of the sky stamp booklet is proof of this with its eight 1st class stamps each with a different form. Rintala's designs portray, for instance, planets, a shooting star, the sun, clouds and a rainbow.
In addition to the stamps, the booklet includes small stickers. "Everyone can modify the familiar signs of sky and space to their liking with eyes, mouths and other additional parts. You can add a bow on the planet Earth, a beard on a cloud or make a rainbow wink at Saturn wearing cat's ears. You can forget about the laws of astrophysics when modifying these stamps," says Nina Rintala. 
Thank you Dear Ella for this lovely FDC.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Barcelona Olympic Games 1992

These three nice stamps were issued by Liechtenstein to commemorate the Barcelona Summer Olympic Games.

The stamps depict a relay race, a cycling event and a judo match.

Thank you Merja.

Monday, September 29, 2014

First Aerial Postal Flight

This Liechtenstein stamp on the FDC was issued on 8.3.1979 to commemorate its first aerial postal flight from St. Gallen in 1930.

Thank you Dear Merja.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Dudesons' anti-bullying campaign

The Dudesons stamps were issued on 1.9.2014 to fight school bullying and they also feature practical jokes
The cartoon-like stamps are part of the Dudesons' anti-bullying campaign. Since it's the Dudesons, the stamps also feature practical jokes.
The look of the Dudesons stamps has been created by graphic designer Janne Korsumäki in collaboration with Rabbit Merchandising Oy. In line with the theme of the stamps, the Dudesons are depicted as schoolchildren in full swing at school. Typical humor of South Ostrobothnia, the Dudesons' home province, is also showcased in the Priority labels, for instance.
Four golden rules for practical jokes. On the basis of their personal experiences, the Dudesons have concentrated their energy on fighting school bullying. Jukka was a bully himself, a fact that he now says he is deeply ashamed of. "I was a lively boy and did not understand that I was bullying others. Luckily, I was given a talking-to and I understood enough myself to stop bullying," Jukka says. For his part, Jarno has been bullied and knows what kind of wounds bullying leaves in one's soul for a long time. 
To brighten schooldays, the Dudesons recommend practical jokes instead of bullying. Daily practical jokes are all very well for keeping up good spirits as long as one remembers not to take the jokes too far. In fact, on the reverse side of the miniature sheet, there are four golden rules for practical jokes as a reminder for everyone:
Never play a joke on a kid weaker than you.
It's not a joke if you're not all laughing when it's done.
Don't play jokes on the same people all the time.
Never turn a blind eye to bullying.
The Dudesons have noticed that they clearly have enough credibility to talk about school bullying to young people. "It surely seems that they all, even the toughest cases, are listening to us," Jukka says. 
Jarppi points out that bullying also occurs in other places than just school. "Bullying generates negative energy and torpedoes good things at workplaces, for instance. People need to identify cases of bullying in their own life in order to be able to intervene.
Thank you Ella for this lovely FDC.