Åland 2023, Part 4 (June 2023)

Åland Post starts off the summer on 9 June with two issues that will serve to evoke memories of happy times — of childhood toys and summers by the seashore. The first of these is a single stamp called “Bark Boat in a Jar”, the result of a new concept at Åland Post — assigning an artist to design a stamp but then letting them choose the subject matter:

June 9 is the first time Åland Post issues a stamp where an artist has been given free rein to create a stamp motif. The “Open Edition” assignment went to Finnish art photographer Christoffer Relander, who decided to portray a personal memory from his childhood summers. “I have roots in Åland and knew that I wanted to create something personal with a link to Åland when planning the stamp issue Bark boat in a jar”, Christoffer explains.

Christoffer has been a photographer since 2009 and is an award-winning and internationally renowned art photographer. In 2020, he and his family moved to Åland from Tammisaari, Finland.

“When planning the issue Bark boat in a jar, I thought about keywords like childhood, nostalgia, summer, and archipelago. I remembered this type of wooden boat that I made as a child with my father at our summer place in Finland. I decided to recreate the boat, but this time with my grandfather who used to make them with his father as well. To involve yet another generation in the process, I asked my seven-year-old daughter to sketch the illustration for the postmark.”

“The glass jar is a recycled jam jar that I photographed in my studio. The concept is recognizable from my series of photos Jarred & Displaced, in which I ‘filled’ glass jars with a variety of environments. To me, the stamp is a preserved childhood memory. Hopefully, other people will also identify with it and feel a sense of nostalgia when they see the stamp.”

Christoffer Relander is known for his multi-exposed photographs that have gained attention around the world. In early 2022, he represented Finland at the Beijing International Art Biennale. He also did the photography for Åland Post’s stamp book ‘A story through Åland stamps 2022’.

Åland Post

The story is so interesting that the postal administration produced a short video in which the artists tells about the idea for the stamp and explains the photographic process:

Technical Information

Date of Issue:9 June 2023
Number of Stamps:One (1) gummed stamp
Denomination:Världen (€3.00)
Designer:Christoffer Relander (artist); Christoffer Relander & Johanna Finne (design)
Printer and Process:Cartor Security Printers, Meaucé, France by 4-color offset lithography on 110 g/m² paper
Perforations:13 per 2 cm
Stamp Size:30mm x 40mm
Sheet Layout:2 x 12 stamps
Quantity Printed:45,000

Sheet of 24 Stamps (2 x 12 with Center Gutter)

First Day Cover

On the first day cover, all the different pieces used to build the wooden boat are on display. Christoffer’s seven-year-old daughter has drawn the picture of the bark boat for the first day cancel.

Maximum Card

The maximum card celebrates going barefoot and playing outdoors in the summer. The drawing of the jarred boat on the special cancel was made by Christoffer’s seven-year-old daughter.

The postage paid symbol on the address side of the card shows the wooden boat in the water. The postage paid symbol indicates that postage from Åland to any destination in the world is included in the price of the card.

Åland Post’s second stamp issue of 9 June is a booklet of six stamps featuring the three summer cottages that won the postal service’s photo competition in the summer of 2022.

9 June sees the issue of a stamp booklet featuring the three winning summer cottages from the Åland Post’s photo competition in the summer 2022. Swedish artist Lasse Sjööblom has provided the illustrations paying tribute to Åland cottage life. “I was very honoured to be asked to do the entire issue. It was fun to create a coherent theme from postmark to postage stamps that would work both together and individually,” Lasse says.

Summer cottages and cottage life are clearly a much-loved tradition among Ålanders, as demonstrated by the many entries for Åland Post’s summer 2022 photo competition, with summer idylls from across Åland. A common factor proved to be seclusion and the proximity to nature and the water. Cottage life is lived outdoors! Also, summer cottages provide a gathering place for friends and family and somewhere to relax.

The stamps show three variants of the Åland summer cottage:

  1. Torpet, a tailor’s croft from 1854 in Eckerö.
  2. Finngrundet, an islet in the Föglö archipelago. Two bath cabins and a sauna were shipped to the islet in the 1950s.
  3. Strandskatan, a modern summer residence in Eckerö. Consists of a sauna, a sauna chamber, and an outdoor kitchen under cover on the jetty.

Stamp artist Lars Sjööblom was commissioned to illustrate the stamp issue:

“Once the competition had concluded, I had a short space of time to present the initial sketches. As soon as they were approved, I started working on incorporating various summer activities such as bathing, fishing, and gardening around the cottages into each stamp image, based on pictures I had received from the owners. My style has a feel of engraving technique. In other words, I first create a layer of fine lines using a felt-tip pen and then add colour to the motif using coloured pencils. This makes the lines in the drawing sharper, and they appear more distinct in the final print on the stamps,” Lasse says.

Åland Post

Technical Information

Date of Issue:9 June 2023
Number of Stamps:Three (3) gummed stamps
Denomination:3 x Inrikes (€2.50)
Designer:Lars Sjööblom; Johanna Finne (design)
Printer and Process:Cartor Security Printers, Meaucé, France by 4-color offset lithography on 110 g/m² paper
Perforations:13 per 2 cm
Stamp Size:35mm x 35mm
Layout:6 stamps in booklet (2 x 3 designs)
Quantity Printed:25,000 booklets

Booklet Pane of 6 Stamps

First Day Cover

The first day cover shows one of the summer cottages that won Åland Post’s photo competition in the summer of 2022. The cottage called ’Strandskatan’ is a combination of a flat-pack house and self-build, made up of a sauna, sauna chamber and an undercover outdoor kitchen on the jetty.

One of the cottages on the island of Finngrundet in the Föglö archipelago adorns the first day cancel.

In mid- or late June each year, a Postal Boat race is held in the waters off Åland commemorating the hazardous journeys of the postmen who conveyed the mail between Sweden and Åland for nearly 400 years. The first race was held in 1974. Åland Post offers a special postmark and “over the seas” cancellation as well as a pre-paid postal card (good worldwide). This year, orders must be received by 8 June for the 17 June race.

Order the lovely commemorative card of the Postal Boat Race with this year’s special cancel and “over-the-sea” cancel in the webshop and send your mail across the Sea of Åland the old-fashioned way. This year’s race sets off from Eckerö in Åland to Grisslehamn in Sweden on Saturday 17 June. The last day for submitting your order and mail items is 8 June.

All mail boats taking part in the race carry a mail bag in commemoration of the peasants in Swedish Väddö and Åland Eckerö who were obliged to convey mail as well as passengers across the Sea of Åland, an ongoing obligation lasting for almost 400 years and ending in the early 1900s.

Approximately 30 boats take part every year, and the crews of four are required to wear contemporary clothing and the boat must also be true to the period. The goal is to cross the Sea of Åland, a distance of 44 km, as quickly as possible. Depending on the wind and weather conditions, the crossing takes anywhere between 3½ and 6 hours. The boat and team acquiring the highest total score for clothing, boat, and speed wins.

The commemorative card of the Postal Boat Race is cancelled with the special cancellation and also acquires a special commemorative cancel, which serves to certify that the mail item has, in fact, been carried across the Sea of Åland by a mail boat. 

How to order the Postal Boat Race special and commemorative cancellations for your collection:

  1. Order the commemorative card with the special and commemorative cancels in the webshop. Price: €4.00/card.*
  2. Send your pre-franked and self-addressed letters and cards to us to obtain the special cancel free of charges.
  3. Send your pre-franked and self-addressed letters and cards to us to obtain the special and commemorative cancels. Price €2.00/item. *

* Shipping and handling is additional

Last day of submission!
Your self-addressed and pre-franked covers and postcards for special and commemorative cancellations must arrive at Åland Post Stamps no later than June. Send your covers to Åland Post Stamps, PO Box 1100, AX-22111 Mariehamn, Åland.

NOTE! When sending your covers and cards to us for cancellation, please remember to affix a CN22 customs label to your letter, marking it “Letters for cancellation”. This will expedite and facilitate the clearing process.  

Since 1974, the Postal Boat Race is organized by Roslagen Marine History Society and Eckerö Local History Society in cooperation with Swedish PostNord and Åland Post.

Åland Post

© 2023 by Mark Joseph Jochim
©2023 by Mark Joseph Jochim, All Rights Reserved

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