Arabia Finland Valencia, Ulla Procope
Valencia was designed by Ulla Procope in 1960 and became so popular it continued until around 2002.
It is one of the standout designs to come out from Arabia Finland in the second half of the 20th Century.
It continues to be one of the most desirable and valuable (on the resale market) Arabia Finland dinnerware designs.
The design features an intense cobalt blue oxide painted onto a white ground, with the deep cobalt blue covering almost the entire surface.
It was designed in an era when there were a large number of employees decorating products. For example In 1960 there were still 175 employees hand decorating wares. It is unfortunate this labour intensive work is no longer economical – even though the output of each painter every day was huge.
Often other Arabia Finland designs with this strong cobalt blue pattern are confused with, and sold as Valencia – for example Köökki (a design by Gunvor Olin Gronqvist) is one often mistaken as the Valencia design simply because of its bold cobalt blue design.
Like many of these highly patterned designs, it is hard to appreciate the effect of the overall look until you see a whole set of the pieces together, as in the last photo.
Arabia Finland Valencia Sugar Bowl
Arabia Finland Valencia Tea Cup
Arabia Finland Valencia Tea Cup base.
Arabia Finland, Raija Uosikkinen
Raija Uosikkinen (1923- 2004) worked as a painter and decoration designer at Arabia Finland 1947-1986. She and Esteri Tomula were pivotal to the success of Arabia Finland when the product lines were revamped in the later 1940s and 1950s. Kaj Franck was responsible for most of the forms or shapes which the designs by Raija and Esteri were added to.
The very popular design “Ali” by Raija Uosikkinen designed in 1964 was produced until 1975. It came in both Blue and Brown variations, but the blue seems to be the more popular. “Ali” was also the last design on copperplate from the Arabia Finland factory.
Arabia Finland, Ali Design – Blue, Large Jug
The large jug in Ali design above is currently for sale on Etsy HERE
Arabia Finland, Ali Design – Blue, Large Platter
Arabia Finland, Ali Design – Blue, Large Bowl
Arabia Finland, Ali Design – Brown Plate
Arabia Finland, Ali Design – Brown
One of Raija’s most coveted , and now most expensive designs to purchase on the secondary market is the beautiful “Emilia” which was produced c1957-1966. It features charming crisp black and white graphics of a whimsical nature – some purported to be about the daily life of Uosikkinen´s American aunt’s life. Other motifs feature garden scenes, market scenes, and other depictions of daily life. Read more
Arabia Ruska – Ulla Procope
Ulla (Ulrika) Procope (1921-1968) worked in Arabia’s art department at the same time as Kaj Franc, Kaarine Aho, and Goran Back. Initially she trained with Olga Osol in the hand painting department at Arabia, after graduating as a ceramicist from the Central School of Arts & Crafts in Helsinki. She worked at Arabia from 1948-1967.
Ulla was a skilled wheel thrower who understood how clay worked, and her outstanding design skills along with the ability to create production models, contributed to the success of Arabia in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Ruska range which she designed for Arabia Finland in 1960 became one of the best selling lines in their history. Its production was continued into the 1990’s it was so popular. It has become a Scandinavian design classic.
It was the first time Arabia had used a matte glaze for mass produced utilitarian ware. Ruska had a handcrafted look and feel to it, with the glaze colour and mottled appearance turning out slightly differently on each piece.
Arabia Ruska Teapot
Arabia Ruska Milk Jug Creamer
Arabia Ruska – Large Coffee Cup
Olga Osol, Arabia Finland
Olga Osol (1905-1994) is not a name that most people are familiar with, but she had an important place in the story of Arabia Finland.
She started with Arabia Finland as an assistant to artist Greta-Lisa Jäderholm-Snellman in 1926. She worked for Arabia until 1971, and for much of this time was head of the Applied Arts Department.
Her most popular design was Myrna – named after Myrna Loy, American movie star of the 1930s. This traditional floral style design with its heavily gilded rims was produced from 1937 up until 2005.
The only design from Olga I have had in hand is the lovely Botnia from 1968 pictured below. My favourite designs by Olga are those from the 1960s and 1970s like Bellis and Tunturi.
- Arabia Finland “Botnia” Trio
Some (not a complete list) of Olga Osol’s other designs are:
Arabia Finland, Esteri Tomula
This lovely design “Aamu”, Arabia Finland and was designed by Esteri (Essu) Tomula (1920-1988). It was in production 1971-1973.
Such a simple and beautiful design, and so effective in both its boldness and use of that intense blue on white.
If you look closer at the design you can see a range of blue tones and details. The flower petals as well have delicately painted veins on the petals which add to the power of the design.
Arabia Finland Aamu – Esteri Tomula
Arabia Finland Aamu – Esteri Tomula
Arabia Finland Aamu – Esteri Tomula
Essu had a long career with Arabia Finland for 40 years, and produced many designs that are now highly collectable. She started with Arabia in 1947 after graduating from the School of Applied arts (specialising in porcelain painting). She started in the hand painting department and soon moved to the department of applied arts. In the 1960s her designs were also printed on coffee and other enamel ware made my Finell Enamel.
Essu was inspired by the flora of Finland – which was a great match for the illustrational traditions and techniques of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Her technique was often to work with delicate black outlines which were made into transfer prints and then hand painted with areas of colour, easily apparent in designs such as Pastoraali. Read more
Arabia Finland – Hilkka Liisa Ahola
Arabia Finland designer HILKKA-LIISA AHOLA (born 1920 Helsinki) started with Arabia as a trainee in 1943 and went on to work in the art department there until 1974. During her trainee ship she studied both ceramics and porcelain painting with instruction from Elsa Elenius.
Characteristics of her work are her free, bold and expressive brushstrokes, and many of her designs include the use of blue hued floral motifs. She has also become known for her charming fajance painted pieces depicting romanticised female figures. In 1968 she was awarded Grand Prix, in the Faenza Ceramic Biennale.
The work Hilkka-Liisa which we probably see most often, and is most popular however is her striking sunflower or “aurinkoruusu” design which was produced on a series of dinnerware. It is the only design I have come across in person several times: Read more
Arabia Finland Soraya
This impressive design is “Soraya”, by Gunvor Olin-Gronqvist, which was produced 1969-1972 at Arabia Finland.
It has a Middle-Eastern feel to it in the subtle flourishes of the form, and the rich browns and ambers of the design. The motif also has that recognisable GOG flair about it too.