Arabia's ceramics factory closed in 2016, but ceramic art continues to be made in the premises of the former Arabia art department. The dozen or so artists of the Arabia Art Department Association cherish traditions and brilliantly renew ceramic art in their studios.
At the beginning of July, the premises of the Arabia Art Department Association are quiet. Of the ten artists, Marianne Huotari, Sakari Kannosto and Kati Tuominen-Niittylä are busy with work and are preparing their works for the association's 20th anniversary exhibition.
The art department association is located on the eighth floor of the former Arabia factory, and in its corridors you can get a glimpse of what goes on behind the green painted doors of the studio rooms.
The artists have displayed their work outside their studios.
"They are in this trial viewing, even if they are not ready yet," says Kannosto. Giving feedback and advice on other people's works is key. "There is quality control here in a certain way. The department has some of the best designers in Finland, who say and may even praise. Criticism is constructive."
Kannosto and Huotari are the newest newcomers to the Art Association. They came to work in 2019 through the Visiting Artist program, and both were accepted as permanent members of the association's artist guard.
Huotari also says that you can ask other artists for advice and feedback if something related to the work bothers you.
"It feels good to receive positive feedback, but here we dare to say if the work is going in the wrong direction, as it were. Of course, each artist himself decides what the right direction is."
In coffee table conversations, we sometimes talk about work, sometimes about family, free time and the world situation.
"It's wonderful to be able to share thoughts. Then you can close the office door and do your work in peace," says Huotari.
Fiskars closed the Arabia ceramics factory in 2016 and moved the rest of the production abroad. With the closure of the factory, a significant piece of Finnish ceramics tradition disappeared. Now, the industrial history of the area is reminded by more than 200 works of art in the neighboring residential area of Arabianranta, many of which are connected to the Arabian factory and ceramic art.
The Arabia art department association enlivens the activities of the Arabian region and is part of the Iiittala & Arabia Design Center. The area is now marketed as the Arabia 135 block of creativity, which brings together design stores, educational and cultural spaces and two museums.