Designer Desire: Björn Weckström

Mosaic of Björn Weckström designs | H is for Home

I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.

Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.

He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.

A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.

Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:

A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.

Björn Weckströmcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet

Designer Desire: Laila Zink

Mosaic of Laila Zink designs | H is for Home

Earlier this week, we discovered the designs of Laila Zink (1915-1999) whilst researching the identity of the designer who created a large pottery charger that we’d bought at the flea market. She worked for pottery manufacturers Kupittaan Savi based in Finland. Her work is very distinctive – stylised folk art figures, flowers and landscapes. The elongated facial features and almond shaped eyes of the ladies (and it does usually seem to be ladies) are instantly recognisable. Her pieces are all hand painted and very individual.

We couldn’t find out much information about either her or Kupittaan Savi. A book has been written about the company… however it’s in Finnish. Her work isn’t very commonplace however, there are currently a few examples available on Etsy and eBay.

Portrait of Laila Zinkcredit

Image credits:

Bukowskis | Pinterest

A mysterious gentlewoman

Vintage platter with hand-painted gentlewoman illustration by Laila Zink for Finnish manufacturer Kupittaan Savi | H is for Home

This lovely large pottery charger was one of our more interesting finds last week.

Vintage platter with hand-painted gentlewoman illustration | H is for Home

We were wondering how to describe the subject matter. An elegantly dressed gentlewoman we figured – contemplating the day at the tea table with her cut flower and songbird.

Detail of a vintage platter with hand-painted gentlewoman illustration | H is for Home

It’s beautifully hand-painted and despite the piece being signed front and back, the artist was initially a mystery. But after some research, we’ve solved it! It’s the work of Laila Zink (1915-1999) for Finnish manufacturer Kupittaan Savi and dates from the 1950s/60s. It’s always good to keep learning!

Signature on a vintage platter with hand-painted gentlewoman illustration | H is for Home

It measures 36cm x 30cm and has holes to the reverse for hanging. It certainly makes for a very striking piece of midcentury modern wall art. She’ll be coming to our web shop very soon, but first dibs to our blog readers – priced at £175.

Designer Desire: Alvar Aalto

Mosaic of Alvar Aalto designs | H is for Home

We think this might be the first time we’ve featured a designer who is also an accomplished architect. Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a Finnish product designer who worked in furniture, textiles, glass and lighting.

He designed many buildings that are located all over the world  and include churches, museums, hospitals, private homes, a sanatorium, a library and an event venue.

Many of his products are still in production today. We’ve linked to a couple of the places you can find them below.

Alvar Aaltocredit

Image credits:

Aram | Arch Daily | Finnish Design Shop

Forthcoming Attractions: End February 2016

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collection of vintage homewares

Here are some of our recent purchases and forthcoming attractions.

vintage brass horse and wooden printers letters

We’ll start with our little equine friend. Mid century brass horses – they’re like buses – we don’t pick one up for years then four come at once! We’ve just sold a lovely pair of similar horses in the web shop this week. This one’s equally stylish. Frederick Weinberg is a name often mentioned in connection with this kind of piece. As with the previous pair, this horse dates from the 1960s era and has a classic Etruscan like form. You’ll also notice some of those lovely vintage wooden printer’s blocks lurking there. We’ve just got hold of another small quantity of letters & numbers. They’ll be heading to our antiques centre space as it’s not really practical to list them all individually on the website… but if you’re after a particular letter or number, drop us a line and we’ll let you know what we have.

Vintage Wiktor Berndt face vase and Riihimaki vase

Next we have a couple of lovely Scandinavian glass vases. The green hooped example is known as a ‘tulppaani’ or tulip vase and was designed by Tamara Aladin for Riihimaki of Finland – and the amber ‘face’ vase was designed by Wiktor Berndt for Flygsfors of Sweden. Both date from the 1960s and the latter is signed to the base.

Antique earthenware cup Antique earthenware cup

We’ll head back a couple of hundred years with the next piece. It’s a small transfer printed cup featuring the tale of Cock Robin. It’s got chips, cracks and the handle’s missing – but it’s such a charming little object. Perfect with a few fresh flowers on a small table, tray or windowsill.

Vintage Rorstrand 'Party' teapot

This vintage tin is really lovely and the condition is remarkable considering it dates from the late 1950s/early 60s. It has a ski and winter sports theme with fabulous illustrations to the lid and sides. It still retains the original label to the underside for a ‘mallow selection’ produced by Elkes Biscuits. It’s the ideal container for cakes or home-made cookies. And if any of our readers out there do happen to own a mid century modern ski chalet… well it’s just perfection!!

Detail from vintage biscuit tin with alpine illustrations

And finally, we have to give a mention to this gorgeous teapot by Rorstrand. It’s not actually a recent purchase, but it feels like a new item to us. We misplaced the lid about 5 years ago. We’d given it up for sure – and it really irked us every time we came across the lidless pot in a storage box. Someone recently ordered a coffee set and as we unwrapped the various cups and plates from their newspaper wrapping, there it was! The little lid with its distinctive pattern peeking out of a piece of paper at the bottom of the box. How it got in there we don’t know – but what a great feeling! Anyway, we thought we’d give it a mention in our recent finds post! We’re always happy to share pictures of this wonderfully designed teapot anyway.

Kaipiainen cup & saucer

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Vintage Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer

We’ve nominated this cup & saucer as the week’s favourite buy. It wasn’t particularly cheap so it didn’t get the nomination because it was a great bargain. Just simply because we absolutely love the pattern… and its extra large size which makes it perfect for a café latte or hot chocolate.

Vintage Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer showing women's faces

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce who designed it, as the name is clearly incorporated into the pattern of stylised figures on the side.

Vintage Arabia cup & saucer showing Birger Kaipiainen's name on the bottom rim

It’s the work of Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) who worked at Arabia Pottery of Finland for nearly 50 years.

Arabia pottery stamp

He became an honorary professor in 1977 and was referred to as both the King of Decorators and Prince of Ceramics by contemporaries.

Detail view of Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer

Despite stretching the budget for a cup & saucer, we certainly weren’t going to leave this fabulous example of vintage Scandinavian ceramics behind!