Flockdown: The Story of the Lockdown Birds and Jersey stamps

Flockdown Birds_Mint Set

Eight colourful ‘lockdown birds’ will feature on a set of self-adhesive stamps to be issued by Jersey Post on 1 March 2021. The birds are the creations of Islander Berni Martin, who set herself a project to paint a bird every day during Jersey’s first COVID-19 lockdown.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, people found different ways of coping, be it baking, gardening, writing or creating. Berni Martin was no exception. Every day during Jersey’s first lockdown, Berni took out a box of paints gifted to her by a friend and spent a few minutes creating, sketching, and painting a bird. She did this for 100 consecutive days, numbering each one as she went. The result is a collection of 100 wonderfully colourful birds, each with its own special character and each a symbol of hope and freedom, indicative of everyone’s ambition to remain optimistic throughout the pandemic.

Almost a year since the start of Jersey’s first COVID-19 lockdown, Jersey Post will issue a set of Flockdown stamps featuring a selection of eight paintings from Berni’s collection of 100 birds.

Berni Martin lives in a first floor flat in the parish of St Brelade in the west of Jersey. Whilst she wouldn’t describe herself as an artist, she spends a lot of time crafting, making and taking photographs. Outside Berni’s window is a huge tree alongside which she likes to hang bird feeders. She enjoys watching the birds who come to eat the seed, each with their own personality and trademark song.

She says of the Flockdown project: “It just kind of evolved as it went along. I love birds and they’re quite quick to paint. As I was doing one every day, I needed something easy to commit to. They all have personalities of their own and mostly they reflected the mood on the day they were painted…happy, sad, colourful, crazy, fat, sleepy, flyaway! It was so quiet in the first lockdown and the weather was so lovely, we had an abundance of birdy visitors outside our windows…they were the perfect subject.

“I had no idea when I created the birds that they would one day be featured on Jersey stamps, it was just a project I set myself and people seemed to enjoy them on social media so I kept it going. I think not knowing they would be stamps one day was good, there was no pressure to try and make them perfect. The original paintings have splashes of paint and some little imperfections here and there. I’m over the moon that they are now stamps and I hope they make people smile and encourage people to send a postcard or letter to a loved one. It’s such a joy to receive a handwritten note in the post.” 

Jersey Post’s Flockdown stamps will be available to buy from all branches of Jersey Post from 1 March 2021. Philatelic stamp products such as First Day Covers and Presentation Packs will be available from the Jersey post offices at Broad Street, St Helier and Rue Des Pres, St Saviour on issue day and can be ordered now at www.jerseystamps.com or by telephoning the Jersey Philatelic Bureau on: 00 44 (0)1534 616717.

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