World Stamps

Two firsts for Aland Post include temporary tattoo

Aug 15, 2023, 8 AM

By Dingguo Dai

A new stamp issued June 9 by Aland Post introduced two firsts in Aland’s stamp history.

It was the first time an artist was given free rein to create a stamp motif for Aland. Also, it was the first time Aland Post created a temporary stick-on tattoo of a first-day cancel design.

The assignment went to Finnish art photographer Christoffer Relander, who decided to portray a memory from his childhood summers.

“I have roots in Aland and knew that I wanted to create something personal with a link to Aland when planning the stamp issue Bark boat in a jar,” Relander said.

“… 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.”

Figure 1 shows the resulting stamp, Bark Boat in a Jar, with the first-day cancellation.

A photo from Relander’s childhood summer was his inspiration for the stamp. In the photo from 1994, Relander, age 7, is launching a bark boat that he built with his father at their summer resort.

Relander is known for his multiple-exposure 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 Aland Post’s stamp book A story through Aland stamps 2022.

Aland Post created the temporary stick-on tattoos as a gift for customers at a stamp event. The temporary tattoos were sealed in small, transparent plastic bags.

Figure 2 shows both sides of the tattoo sticker for the Bark Boat in a Jar stamp. The design on the front is a reverse image of the first-day postmark for the stamp, just like the reverse image we see when we pick up any postmark tool.

The back of the sticker gives instructions in English for applying the tattoo. It also includes illustrations showing a tattoo being applied to an arm.

The temporary tattoo is equivalent to a one-time-use postmark. Once you put it on your arm, you look like you have been postmarked.

The four-part instructions read: “1. Carefully remove the top foil. 2. Place the tattoo face down on dry, non greasy, hairless skin. 3. Wet the tattoo generously with water. 4. Wait for at least 45 to 60 seconds and gently peel off the paper.”

Text below the instructions says that the tattoos can be easily removed anytime by using oil or washing with soap.

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