Wednesday, November 26, 2014

30th Anniversary of Aland Postage stamps

The first Åland stamps were issued 1 March 1984 (please see those first issues under the Label Åland in this blog).
Approximately 15 stamps describing Åland nature, culture, history, society and autonomy are issued every year.
The Åland post office doesn’t issue large stamp editions. An edition of about 300.000-500.000 of each stamp is normal.
The themes are always chosen with great care and artistic sense.  
The Åland postal services have also attracted attention at exhibitions and contests around the world. The greatest merit so far is the first prize in the contest “The most beautiful stamp of Europe 1997.” The theme of the winning stamp was  “Ålands independence 75 years”.
The stamps on this cover have been cancelled with a special postmark marking 30 years of Åland stamps.
Thank you Ella.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Åland - Miniature sheet featuring Åland sheep.


Following an interesting co-operation between Åland Post and Postage Stamp Printing Bureau of China Post Group it is now time for the issue of the miniature sheet featuring Åland sheep. 

For several years, well-known stamp engraver Martin Mörck has instructed Chinese youth in the time-consuming craft of producing an engraved stamp. Initiated by Åland Post, the final exam for the trainees was the participation in a design competition designated to produce two hand-engraved, steel-printed stamp motifs for a miniature sheet featuring the species Åland sheep.  

The miniature sheet was issued on 5th November 2014 in both Åland and China. In addition to the miniature sheet, a first day cover and two maximum cards featuring the Åland sheep were available. In connection with the printing, a numbered edition of 5000 exquisite black prints of the engraving has also been produced. A limited 2000 black prints are sold as signed by the engravers. Since 2015 is the Year of the Sheep according to the Chinese zodiac, our choice of motif for the miniature sheet was sheep.

Ella thank you very much indeed for this wonderful FDC.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Aland Christmas Issue 2014

The 2014 Christmas stamp issued on 9.10.2014 is almost a fairy tale image of Little Christmas. The Christmas atmosphere comes to life with white snow, welcoming and warming lights and rosy cheeks.

A parent holding a child’s hand visits the Jan Karlsgården Christmas fair. Emelie Hage’s image of Little Christmas has the shimmer of nostalgia.

“I imagined a parent introducing a child to the Christmas spirit. Quite often, the Little Christmas fair is a rather slushy affair with everyone skidding around in the mud and it is always damp. I remember how my parents stopped to talk to every single person they met and it took forever to get to the toffee …But this is how it looks in my dream,” says Emelie, the artist behind the Christmas stamp as well as the Christmas seals and Christmas decorations in gold plated brass.
Emelie first drew the image and then applied watercolours. On the Christmas seals, the marketers are the central figures, whereas the decorations focus on the merchandise – a toffee, a tin of herrings, a bauble.
“I sketched all the motifs at the same time to obtain a certain amount of coherence. Even if I have previously designed stamps for Åland Post, the small format does demand a special approach; for everything to work well you must consider the smallness, a stamp motif is so tiny.”
Finding inspiration was not so easy seeing that Emelie made her research at Jan Karlsgården during high summer. ”I shot photos and gathered details, colours and patterns that might prove good to have”.
On her home turf in Stockholm, her friends know little about the Little Christmas phenomenon in Åland and Emelie acts as eager ambassador. That is what happens for someone celebrating Little Christmas abroad.
“Traditions like these become somewhat special and I like to tell my friends about our Åland Little Christmas celebrations. I particularly like the ‘little’ part. A small gift, a small tree and a little food. Unpretentious and enjoyable,” she says.
Thank you Ella for this lovely FDC.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Changes in everyday life in Finland


In November 2013, Itella Posti Oy started its series of stamps to mark the centennial year of Finnish independence to be celebrated in 2017. This year, the theme of the stamps is changes in everyday life in Finland, influenced by, for instance, developing technology and globalization. Graphic artist Sami Saramäki has designed the Changes in Everyday Finland stamp booklet containing 1st-class stamps that depict six megatrends that have changed everyday lifeinformation technology, culinary culture, domestic appliances, migration, pop culture and vehicles. 
Thank you Ella for this nice cover with the lovely stamps.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bridges in Finland


The October releases also include a 100-piece roll of stamps, and that to by popular demand, features more motifs than before: no fewer than 10 different 1st-class stamps. The stamps depict Finnish bridges and waterways in different times of the year and day, photographed by Jaakko Tähti.
The spectrum of bridges ranges from small arch bridges in parks to major traffic bridges. The bridges in the stamps have been photographed in the following locations: Jyväskylä, Punkalaidun, Pihtipudas, Tampere, Vaajakoski, Viitasaari, Porvoo, Säkylä, Raippaluoto and Kärnänkoski. The graphic design of the Bridges and Waters stamps comes from a duo of experienced designers, Ari Lakaniemiand Susanna Rumpu.
Thank you Ella for this very lovely FDC.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finland Christmas stamps 2014

This year, the Christmas stamps feature the artwork of Kristina Segercrantz, famous for several award-winning book illustrations. With these stamps executed with watercolor technique, Segercrantz wants to create a true Christmas fairy-tale atmosphere. In the blue-hued Christmas Eve Christmas-tariff stamp (0.75 Euro), an elf girl enjoys the enchanting atmosphere with a Christmas reindeer in candlelight. In the other Christmas stamp, the orange-hued Christmas Morning 1st-class stamp, an elf rings a large Christmas bell, feet off the ground. The graphic design of the Christmas stamps comes from Olavi Hankimo

Thank you Ella for this nice FDC.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bellflower

It took him several weeks to find the perfect nettle-leaved bellflower to photograph for this year’s SEPAC stamps. 
Photographer Andy Horner spent quite some time in a ditch before he could catch it in ultimate lighting.
 
Finding the perfect nettle-leaved bellflower was not so easy. This type of bellflower is not very common in Åland and it grows in shady deciduous forests, not exactly the ideal environment to shoot this towering flower without any shadows and against a clean background. Nature photographer Andy Horner was on the lookout for weeks. 

Nettle-leaved bellflower belongs to the family Campanulaceae. In Åland, we find some 15 species. Its square stem and serrated leaves resemble those of the nettle, hence the name. The Latin name Campanula trachelium derives from campa meaning bell and trachelium meaning throat. The herb was formerly used to treat sore throat. 

Thank you Dear Ella for this lovely FDC with the bellflower stamp.