My first purchase in about 3 weeks I think, and what a stunning vintage piece it is. This beautiful and now iconic design is part of the Pastoraali line (1965-1969) which was designed by Esteru (Essu) Tomula (1920-1998) for Arabia Finland.
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.
When Arabia got its own facility for screen printing onto ceramics in the early 1960s Essu moved to the product development department and became a pattern designer there. Her style became more colourful and open with the freedom this technique enabled.
Tomula’s output at Arabia was vast, and she produced over 150 designs including:
The Botanica-series (1978-89), Primavera (1970-74), Sinilehti (1970-74), Elsa (1971-72), Irina (1971-72), Mira (1971-72), Ansa (1971-72), Vanamo (1973-74), Aurinko (1973-74), Gardenia (1973-74), Varpu (1971-73), Helluntai (1971-73), Aprilli (1971-73), Marja (1973), Vegeta (1966-early 70's), Rosette (1983), Sinikello (1984-87), Raita (1971-73), Katrilli (1975-77), Kartano (1973-76), Krokus (1978-79), Flora (1979-81), Polar (1978-85).
Her collaboration and work with other the other 2 powerhouse designers at Arabia - Kaj Franck and Raija Uosikkinen - went a long way in developing what we now recognise as an “Arabia Style” and made Arabia Finland one of the most popular and collectable brands of domestic ceramics.
The online Finnish specialist Laatutavara, (where the vase image above is from) has a large selection of this design HERE