Must See: Arabia Artists' Studios + Art Department In Helsinki

Hello again friends! After sharing the museum tour from the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre yesterday here, I want to know show you glimpses of my private tour of the Arabia artists' studios located in the Arabia building on the 9th floor. I am proud to say that I took all of these photos myself and I really love how they came out!

My idea of heaven.

My idea of heaven.

If you missed my post from yesterday, Arabia is one of Finland's most respected and beloved tableware brands and has held this position for nearly 150 years. Finland has a very strong design legacy and Arabia is part of that, as a true pioneer of Finnish design. You can't walk into a Finnish home and not find something from Arabia there.

A wall covered in ceramic tiles made by the artists.

A wall covered in ceramic tiles made by the artists.

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The Arabia Artists' Studios and Art Department was established nearly 15 years ago by Arabia artists and founders in order to uphold its traditions and ensure the continuation of the cultural heritage of ceramic art. Their goal is to promote Finnish and international talent with all who visit, including children who are invited to create in the studio space from time to time and workshops for adults are held regularly.

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Work in progress.

Work in progress.

Today the Arabia art society includes artists Fujiwo Ishimoto, Heljä Liukko-Sundström, Heikki Orvola, Pekka Paikkari, Heini Riitahuhta, Kristina Riska, Kim Simonsson, Kati Tuominen-Niittylä, Jasmin Anoschkin and visiting artist Veera Kulju, who all have private studios along the long corridor shown below.

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Touring the art department was awesome. In fact, when I was allowed into the locked studio of their current visiting artist, Veera Kulju, tears streamed down my cheeks immediately. I wasn't allowed to take a single photo in her space, but it was the hardest thing in the world to NOT take at least one. Out of respect, I didn't. But Kulju's work resonated with me on a very deep level and it felt so spiritual to connect to work like that. I will never forget when the door opened and I glanced at her gorgeous ceramic pieces in process, it was surreal and sublime. She is definitely now one of my favorite ceramicists and I am dying to know more about her and her work.

The work of Veera Kulju.

The work of Veera Kulju.

More work from Veera Kulju.

More work from Veera Kulju.

Another artist that I enjoyed very much is Heini Riitahuhta. In fact, I saw her work at the Habitare Fair and during our panel, when we each had to nominate two favorite things from the fair, I nominated her wall ceramics. It was strange how the next day, I found myself in the Arabia studios and saw Riitahuhta's work again and learned for the first time that she works with Arabia and has her studio there. What a small world!

Heini Riitahuhta's work in progress.

Heini Riitahuhta's work in progress.

Completed pieces by Heini Riitahuhta.

Completed pieces by Heini Riitahuhta.

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I truly loved being enveloped in this creative environment and now, I want to take a ceramics class and try my hand at making a few pieces as a relaxing hobby. The smell of this space made me so happy, it brought back my favorite classes from school - art classes - and how deeply I wanted to paint and work with clay and make things with my hands back then... But my eye and my writing was always stronger than what I could physically create with clay and paint.

I enjoyed art so much though I never saw myself as that "good". Today, I am very open and willing to try again. Perhaps from my years of experience around art and design, I may have a deeper passion for handmade work than I did as a young girl and this could result in being a bit more talented with my hands.

In any case, I have resolved to find a class and start creating little ceramic items for my cabinet. I'm so happy that my trip to Arabia inspired me to pursue something I've kept on the back burner for so many years...

Do you dabble in ceramics? Do you like it?

Have a lovely day!

(Photography + Text: Holly Becker for decor8)


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