Wärtsilä (The owning company of Arabia Finland at the time) produced domestic enamel metal items starting in the early 1950s after their earlier takeover of company Kone-ja Siltarakennus in 1938. By by the 1950s the popularity of their enamel ware meant they were producing over 500,000 items per year.
In the early 1960s Wärtsilä rebranded their enamel ware division as Finel, and form designer Kaj Franck along with several of the Arabia pattern designers took their enamel ware in a new and very popular direction. The enamel ware out of Finel/Arabia from this era is now highly collectable and valued, by lovers of Scandinavian 20th Century Design.
Raija Uosikkinen and Esteri Tomula were two of these Wartsila/Arabia/Finel designers.
Recently I came across this stunning large enamel ware bowl with the “Knights” (Fi: Ritari) pattern by Raija Uosikkinen
Finel “Knights” Raija Uosikkinen
Because this ware was enamel on steel, it is now hard to find a piece without some level of chipping or wear to the enamel – but on bowls like the one above I think this light wear just adds to the charm of the design.
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This is a piece I haven’t come across before.
The design of course is “Ali”, from Arabia Finland. The decor by Raija Uosikkinen and form by Kaj Franck. This is a large teapot, at least 4-6 cup capacity.
I love the gently tapering form and the overall balance of the design – made doubly impressive by the blue “Ali” variation by Raija c1960s for Arabia.
See my previous post on the work of Raija Uosikkinen HERE
Arabia Finland, Ali Blue Teapot
Anja Jaatinen-Winquist (b 1934 – ) started with Arabia Finland in the late 1960s while the company was going through a rapid period of change and expansion, and she continued working at Arabia in the product design department until 1974.
She designed several tableware services for Arabia including the M model “Karelia” with its iron oxide decoration, “Saara” (in production 1971-1976), and also Kalevala, and Paju (which came in both blue and yellow variations)
Anja was also a very skilled wheel thrower and made one-off items for the art department…although these works are very hard to find now.
Arabia Finland Saara
Arabia Finland Saara
This series of designs from Arabia Finland were designed by Raija Uosikkinen to celebrate the 10oth Anniversary of Arabia Finland in 1975. As far as I know there are three designs in the series – 100, 101, and 102, and they were produced during 1971-1975 in limited numbers.
Each scene features a bucolic rural village drawing in cobalt blue, on a greyish white stoneware clay. The plates are dinner plate size – about 26cm diameter. The blue designs also have beautiful line patterns and decorative textures.
The plates don’t seem to be as well known as Raija’s “Kalevala” annual plates starting 1976 and her Christmas plates starting in 1978. This is possibly due to their more limited production.
On the back some designs just have the design number and the Arabia backstamp – i.e. 100, 101 etc, and some have in addition the number of the edition.
Arabia 100th Anniversary Plate 102
Arabia 100th Anniversary Plate 101
A superb recent find. At first glance I thought this was a variation of the iconic “Emilia” series by Raija Uosikkinen, but it turns out to be from a series of designs called “Kauppatori”, in the same drawn style as Emilia but quite different when you look at it more closely.
The design seems to be very rare, and from what I can see only on 2 forms – both deep serving plates.
It is named after the famous Market Square in Helsinki, Finland….one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city.
The design features similar charming characters to those in “Emilia” but the townscape, market characters, the use of green, as well as black line drawing set the design apart.
There is a fantastic Finnish website HERE where a lot of research as gone into the history of “Emilia” and all the designs like this one, related to it. I often refer to it
Arabia Finland Kauppatori
Arabia Finland, Esteri Tomula – Fennica
Often you will come across designs from different eras being given the same name…even though by the same manufacturer.
This is the case here with Arabia Finland “Fennica”. This beautifully intricate and delicate floral design featured is one by Esteri Tomula for Arabia Finland on forms by Brita Heilimo.
This Fennica design was in production 1953-1974, and very different from the later “Fennica” c 1970s which had the same forms as Arabia Ruska in a plain cream colour. ( I have seen slightly different dates for production – but I think the one above is most accurate).
On some of the designs of Fennica, the colour scheme is blue/green/grey as in the first photograph. On other variations of the design the colour scheme is blue, pink and grey as seen in the 3rd. photograph. There may be some other variations which I haven’t come across.
In a previous post on the work of Esteri Tomula for Arabia I wrote about how she was inspired by the flora of Finland which is certainly evident in this design, with its beautifully hand painted flowers and leaves, and delicate white “pearls” of enamel on some of the flowers.
This series seems to have consisted of decor items such as vases, boxes, decorative plates etc.
Inkeri Leivo – Arabia Finland – Pudas Arctica
The design featured here is “Pudas Arctica” by Inkeri Leivo (1944-2010), which is a variation of her now 20th Century design classic “Arctica” – which is still in production today.
The design for Arctica began in 1975 and was in production by 1979. Pudas Arctica was in production up until c1981.
Arctica has continued to evolve, with new variations even now still being added by current designers.
Arctica was designed as a large dinner service including baking dishes, tureen etc. The design featured a slimmer and more elegant profile than previous Arabia designs due to new technologies.
The roundness of the design while being very contemporary, also alludes to the elegant forms of the 1930’s Art Deco era.
Inkeri had began her career in Arabia in 1971, and her clean, light and graceful designs were a change from the heavier forms coming out of Arabia Finland in the 1970s. Amongst others, Inkeri also designed the popular “Saaristo”, “Kombi” “Harlekiini” & “Uhtua” lines.
Arabia Finland “Venus”, Hilkka Liisa Ahola
What a stunning design. This is “Venus”, designed by Hillka Liisa Ahola for Arabia Finland c1965.
The design features a mandala like motif in deep blues and aquamarine, resembling batik patterns which were hugely popular at the time. It is very similar to a design Hilkka created for a series of wall tiles 1967-1973.
From what I can find out the series consisted of lidded jars and canisters, and flat cheese boards or trivets. I love the shape of the domed lids with their round handles in this series, which remind me of the forms of Midwinter Stonehenge which came a bit later.
It was in production from 1965 to 1976 and seems to be quite a rare design these days.
Arabia Finland Venus – Hilkka Liisa Ahola