When in Helsinki in Finland a while back I came across the fantastic EMMA museum of modern art in nearby Espoo and loved stumbling upon an exhibition by Finnish ceramicist Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988)
Birger Johannes Kaipiainen was one of the best known ceramicists in Finland, producing work for over 50 years after joining Arabia Studios in Helsinki, a pioneering studio of applied art, ceramics and design. His creations are well known for bridging the gap between ceramics and sculpture
Lots of these pieces dated from the 1950s and 60s
Kaipiainen trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Helsinki. In 1954 he spent some time in the employ of Rörstrand in Sweden, and growing further in recognition, secured an exhibition in New York in 1955.
Beautiful book cover illustration from 1970 ‘Gaelic without Groans’ by John Mackechnie. Love these strong purples, magenta and turquoise, the late 60s / early 70s had the best colour schemes.
Found in a second hand bookshop in Edinburgh, visiting lovely friend, erstwhile collaborator and one of my favourite artists Rachael Macarthur
Published by Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh
Happy new year! In the post Christmas pre new year no man’s land I went in search of sea air to blast away the cheeseboard cobwebs and ended up in Norman’s Bay, a slightly bleak yet atmospheric looking East Sussex coastal outpost I’d often seen from the train and been intrigued by.
A small collection of houses and a Martello tower was all it seemed to offer, but after meandering along the coastal road towards Pevensey Bay with my architecture obsessed companion Alex, to our joy we stumbled upon a hidden wonder – a beautiful estate of charming modernist bungalows from the 1930’s named Beachlands.
Most the the bungalows were built between 1937 – 1939 with plans for a cinema, shops and a whole modernist seaside ‘village’ before work was abandoned in the face of the Second World War. There were some very clear Art Deco motifs whilst the bright colours and kitsch unusual decor on some of them reminded felt like we might be somewhere like California or Florida. Some of the grand street names “Marine Drive” and “The Boulevard” somehow evoked ideas of these places too.
Picked up these superb and wonderfully Eastern Bloc Christmas postcards in Romania a while back, all dating back to the 1970s.
This festive Brutalist block one is particularly spectacular
A sweet 70s look to these characters below, quite like this 1970’s Czech collage I found a while back. I like the slightly flared trousers and big heels.
All picked up at an antique market in Cluj-Napoca, an attractive university town in Transylvania. A few more posts on my travels in Romania and Hungary on oddball vintage Romanian ceramics and here on Hungarian book covers and Romanian rural interiors
More curious vintage festive posts in our archive – Christmas postcards from the Soviet Union, surreal baby fishing Christmas postcards from 1905 and New Year pig riding postcards from Czech republic in 1915.
Seasons Greetings from Kuriosas! Thanks for reading and see you in 2019!
Am (almost) final installment about my travels around Finland. After my time in Helsinki and at Haihatus art residency featured earlier on Kuriosas, I spent the last part of my trip in Tampere, Finland’s second largest city around 100 miles north of Helsinki, visiting a Finnish artist I’d met called Leena
Despite only meeting her once at the art residency, Leena kindly offered me a place to stay with her partner and two blonde tots in a leafy suburb of Tampere, and I found myself with amazingly warm, generous, creative and like minded tour guides for a couple of days.
Upon my arrival, I was given ‘arctic circle mushroom tea’ which apparently was just a health tonic and wasn’t going to make me see elves. I loved some of the vintage Finnish ceramics on offer and enjoyed the relaxed bohemian feel to their airy apartment, with impossibly good design everywhere I looked.
On a mission to find the Perala museum full of Finnish product design in my recent post, I accidentally but happily stumbled upon the 1952 ‘summer cottage’ of seminal Finnish architect Alvar Aalto called the Experimental House, on the sleepy island of Muuratsalo nestled in forest next to the epic and dreamy Lake Päijänne, the second biggest lake in Finland.