17 Apr 2013


Last month I had a lovely visit back in Finland. On my return trip back home to England, I ran into a familiar face at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The encounter happened in front of a shop called Stockmann, her name was Ulla and she was actually a plate.

Finnish Arabia has had impressive 140 years in pottery business and they are celebrating this with 12 new, blue and white plate designs, each one of them different from another and named after women who have worked in Arabia factory. The illustrations on these plates are designed by Johanna Kunelius and the inspiration for her work came from the decorations on old Arabia plates.

This is the reason why it felt like a reunion, that day at the airport. I had a plate very much like Ulla back home. Naturally, I couldn't just leave her behind but she came home with me. The picture furthest on top shows Daisy, illustrated by Esteri Tomula in the mid sixties. I bought it few years ago with a very reasonable price tag from Ebay. And underneath Daisy is a picture of Ulla. Like two peas in a pod I'd say.

15 Apr 2013


Handicrafts have always been a huge attraction for me. Already as a little girl I was making clothes for my teddy bears, for example a quilted jacket with cotton wool stuffed inside and finished with rather large and uneven stitching. My maternal grandparents had a big influence on me, my grandmother made beautiful embroideries and my grandfather knitted striped woollen socks faster than anyone I know.

This knitted hat in the picture, above, I bought for my daughter from Cos, a Swedish clothing brand that sells quite charming and timeless children's wear, among other things. It reminded me of a bobble hat my grandfather made me when I was little. I couldn't find a matching coat for it so decided that I needed to make one myself. Perfectly matching blue woollen material I found from Fabworks in Dewsbury. The plaid lining is flannel and the detailing, zippers, buttons and piping on the back are red to match the bobble. I also added a Mickey Mouse patch to make the coat more attractive in my daughter's eyes, but I did sew it inside the coat to keep the style as I wanted. It won't be forever that I am able to unanimously decide her fashion statements, so I may as well enjoy as long as it lasts.

7 Apr 2013


As a collector I have learnt to master the skill of good excuses. Obviously there comes a point when you no longer need that extra plate or two, but you learn to find other plausible reasons why you need to get them. Another valuable asset that I have is a patient and understanding spouse, as getting something out of our ever so crowded cupboards can get frustrating.

These wall plaques above are from Danish company Nymølle and they were designed by Bjørn Wiinblad in the mid 20th century. The complete set has 12 plaques, one for each month. They tell a love story from the couple's first shy looks to them starting a family. Amongst the first two that I found from The Great Wetherby Racecourse Antiques Fair, was the December plaque which features the couple's first baby being born. And as it happens our daughter was born in December which naturally gave me an excellent excuse to start collecting them. They are now decorating the wall above her bed.

Another valid reason for this purchase was that these plaques would not take any space from the cupboards since they can be hang on the wall. It was a rather enlightening moment when I realised how much more space the walls offer for storing things.

Wiinblad's designs have the similar allure to me as Pastoraali by Esteri Tomula and Emilia by Raija Uosikkinen, both designed for Finnish Arabia. These very stylized, whimsical characters come to life with a simple use of black line (or red, as is the case above). And I can see the referencing of this style in the modern pottery decorations in Siirtolapuutarha by Maija Louekari for Finnish Marimekko and Piilopaikka by Piia Keto for Arabia.