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
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, 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