Sunday, 15 January 2017

Winter Sports

1997: Nordic World Skiing Championships, Trondheim
Norway won the most medals at the 1997 Skiing Championships but lagged behind by one in the gold medal count coming second overall due to the one women phenomenon that was the Russian Yelena Välbe who won gold in all five cross country events.  I like the perspective of these stamps, the 3.70 is of course ski jumping and the 5.00 cross country skiing.  The stamp designer is Sarah Rosenbaum, who was born in Michigan, USA but on inheriting $1000 from an aunt she took the opportunity to travel to Norway, and stayed.  Her other connection with Trondheim is she also designed the stamps for the celebration of its millennium where you can see the same design sensibilities here.  Her other experience with winter sports was as one of the designers who created the pictograms for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
1962: Nordic World Ski Championships, Zakopane (Design: S. Toepfer)
The Women's ski jumping and 5K Cross Country made their event debut at the 1962 World Ski Championships so it is appropriate the stamp shows two women on a cross country course. I think you can see from the scan that the two figures are slightly raised from the surface, an attractive effect, unfortunately this is the only stamp I have from the set.   The host of the championships, Zakopane, is called the winter capital of Poland.
1962: 1st Winter Military Spartakiad (Design: J. Grabiańksi)
Lets move indoors for a game of ice hockey or fly through the air in a ski jump with all the appropriate apparel.
1957: Outdoor Recreation
This stamp features more informal clothing and reflects its theme of outdoor recreation and the purity of just enjoying the great outdoors. The stamp is the work of Canada's most prolific engraver, Yves Baril, whose skill was recognised when he was chosen to engrave his first stamp in 1955 when he hadn't even completed his training.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II - Winter Sports - slide over to See It On A Postcard

Friday, 13 January 2017

Fly Away

"One Hour Before Departure"
The Polish painter, graphic artist and book illustrator Wiktor Najbor has a love of aviation and also likes to tell a story of the world he sees around him.
"Special Needs Passenger"
but sometimes with a twist.  I like aeroplanes but I'm not a great fan of travelling by air although I always enjoy the raw power of the actual take off.  In contrast I know someone who loves the whole experience and always arrives at the airport hours before the required check in time so he can watch all the planes coming and going.       

Postcards for the Weekend theme - transportation - be transported at Connections to the World

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Snow White

1977: Europa - Landscapes
Snow swirls through a Swedish forest, this atmospheric scene is based on a photograph by the author and photographer Svante Hedin (1928-2011). The forest is in the Hamra National Park, they say if one hikes among the trees it is a trip back in time to the forest as it once was before humans.  The Hamra National Park is a mix of forest, boglands and streams.  So what time of year to visit? In winter the snow will be a metre deep and "the landscape softened by a glistening blanket". Few people visit during the winter months but for those that do there are ski and dog-sled trails. I'm thinking either spring or autumn when it said of the latter "the buzz of mosquitoes has quieted"

 The theme of the next set of stamps is 'Winter Trees':-

These look like silver birch and are from a photograph by Gustaf Emanuelsson, a lover of trees as can be seen on his Flickr site and his project to document all the ancient trees in Sweden which he discusses with the Oak Society( illustrated with two beautiful photographs).  The stamp engraver is Piotr Naszarkowski, considered  the inheritor of Czeslaw Slania's technique for who he worked at Swedish Post.
2015: Winter Trees
The stamps are self adhesives from a internal post booklet and they glisten like a frosty morning however this means that a true reproduction is not spot on, the birches are black and white with just a hint of colour but of course when you scan in colour they come out as blue. No such problems with the snow laden trees because that is a blue stamp.  This is one of the three trees of the set photographed by Tore Hagman, the engraver is Lars Sjööblom who specializes in animals and nature. 

 The two stamps on the left and right are by Tore Hagman, a nature photographer since 1982, who said in an interview with PostNord  "In southern Sweden there are a few days a year when conditions are perfect.  The ash tree photograph was taken on New Year's Day on the southern part of the island of Ölond, snow storms had raged on New Year's Eve but then the wind disappeared and a fantastic light appeared", the other photos were taken in the forests of the mountains of Dalarna (central Sweden), and he says of these early days of the year "the days are short but the light is soft and beautiful". Both stamps are engraved by Piotr Naszarkowski. 

as is this one which is the other  blue one of the set. It is by yet another photographer, Johan Alp, who surprising specialises in portraiture and the urban area which may have been easier to get around in under snow than out in the countryside.
1984: Bicentenary of First Mail Coach Run
as the Edinburgh Mail experienced in 1831.  The stamp has a Scandinavian connection (a place where they know all about hard winters), in that it was engraved by the legendary Czeslaw Slania who worked for Swedish Post and one of the designers of the stamp set, Keith Bassford, moved to Denmark and has produced stamps for both the postal systems of Britain and Denmark. In 2009 Sweden and Denmark's postal services merged as PostNord.  The other designer associated with the set is Stanley Paine who I think is probably the designer of this stamp because he produced a first day cover to go with it.  The tragedy of this February day in 1831 with another picture of the stagecoach is told here

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Winter White - for all the white stuff visit See It On A Postcard

Friday, 6 January 2017

Flying Scotsman

LNER Poster "A smart turn out"
An icon of British locomotives and one of the best known names in the country is the Flying Scotsman. It returned to main line running only last year after a ten year restoration project and the crowds came out to see the first long journey, thousands lining the tracks and stations on its route from Kings Cross to York.  The above card takes us back to the romantic age of travel in the 1930s and the reason for its name and the route name, the nonstop journey from London's Kings Cross up the east coast line to Waverley Station , Edinburgh. The original publicity poster was by Curtis Moffat, photographer and artist.  I can't make my mind up whether the women is supposed to be a stewardess or passenger but she is welcoming us aboard. Flying Scotsman broke speed records and also appeared in the classic Hitchcock film, 'The 39 Steps' when Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) journeys on the train and escapes pursuers by clambering off it onto the Forth Railway Bridge.   
Not as glamorous as the first postcard as the crew have just arrived at Kings Cross in 1930 after the long miles from Edinburgh and pose on the buffer beam with the locomotive engineer Sir Nigel Gresley on the left.  Gresley a designer of powerful and elegant engines not only produced the Flying Scotsman record breaker but also the A4 Mallard with its streamline design which still holds the world speed record for a steam engine at 126mph.  The Flying Scot, an engine built in 1923 and almost scrapped in 1963 when diesel was replacing steam, is still thundering along the tracks and delighting steam enthusiasts everywhere, including me.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Trains/Trams - travel in style to the Linky Party at Connections to the World.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Dog Hill

1994: Letter Writing
This stamp sheet is called 'Dog Hill Kids at the Post Office' and shows postmen, the post office, a post-horn and of course a letter box.  The fact that the postman is carrying a sword intrigued me but beyond the interesting fact that when one receives a PhD in Finland you wear a silk top hat and a sword for the ceremony I could find no information.  The stamp sheet scene is from the imagination of Mauri Kunnas, graphic designer, political cartoonist and children's author whose books have been translated into many languages, his Santa Claus books being especially popular.  He mostly sets his stories in Finland's past and the Dog Hill Kids series is no exception being set in the early 1800s based on the Yli-Kirra Peasant Museum in Punkalaidun which is near his hometown.  For the Dog Hill enthusiast there is even a Dog Hill section in Tampare's Adventure Park.  His anthropomorphic dogs have also appeared in a retelling of the Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala, whereas his King Arthur's Round Table feature cats.  Some more of his illustrations can be seen in the article 'Lovable, Instructive Canines' here.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year filled with postal delight.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II - more favourite stamps at See It On A Postcard      

Friday, 30 December 2016

Cleaning Time

Last week I showed Inge Löök's fun loving elves so this week its the fun loving aunties turn although things don't seem to be going too well.  One turns to look at the clock, yikes look at the time!  Are they cleaning ready for Christmas; the Finnish tradition is  that the 9th December (St Anne's Day) is when baking, cleaning and brewing starts. The aunties will have left it until the last minute and everything has to be finished by 21st December (St Thomas's Day) but the clock is ticking the minutes away, will they be ready?  The auntie on the left looks fed up with it all, she has had enough.  The big feast of the year in Finland is on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is for relaxation and simpler meals. But for 'Postcards for the Weekend' purposes lets imagine it is New Year's Eve, another big celebration, and as the clock says 10 it means they have only a little time left to be ready for their visitors and wish them Hyvää uutta vuotta - Happy New Year.  Wishing you all health and happiness in 2017.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Time/Clock -  check what time it is at Connections to the World  Linky Party.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Christmas Story

1960: Christmas (Designer K. McKay; Engraver: Bruce Stewart)
Australia chose a biblical quotation for the Christmas of 1960 taken from the Gospel of Luke 2:10 ... "Behold I bring you good tidings of joy", the words of the angel to the shepherds watching their flocks by night.
The Christmas story was GB's choice for the 2015 issue and the stamps were painted by David Holmes who has also painted the image on this First Day Cover envelope.
2nd class and 2nd Large - The Journey to Bethlehem; 1st class and 1st Large - The Nativity
£1.00 - Animals of the Nativity; £1.33 - The Shepherds; £1.52 - The Three Wise Men or Magi
£2.25 - The Annunciation

Art Direction and design of the stamps was by Studio David Hillman whose says on his company website "My philosophy is that pictures are not employed to fill space but tell a story". 

 Wishing you all a Happy Christmas

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Religious Christmas - celebrate at See It On A Postcard