RAIJA TUUMI 100 YEARS
Ceramic artist Raija Tuumi (1923–2016) represents a generation of artists who, after the war, helped make Finland’s art industry internationally famous. The ceramic artists and their visibility at international exhibitions played a significant role in putting Finnish art on the world map. Raised in Kiukais in Satakunta, Finland, Raija Tuumi first discovered artistic expression through weaving. However local potters, raised her interest in an alternative material.
After many different phases in her life Tuumi ended up studying in Ateneum’s ceramics department between 1946 and 1949, during which she found her own strong style. The students’ training included periods in workshops in Finland, where she encountered potters’ large dough and butter milk pots and other dishes that inspired Tuumi to work on large sculptural objects.
Tuumi studied in the ceramics department along side with other ceramisist, including Ulla Procopé, Annikki Hovisaari, Dorrit Flinckenberg, Vuokko Eskolin, Francesca Mascitti, Eero Rislakki and Hilkka Nyyssönen. The Ateneum students’ pieces were sold in the Koti-Hemmet shop on Fabianinkatu and in Tyyne-Kerttu Virki’s shop on Kasarminkatu in Helsinki. After graduation, Raija Tuumi returned to practice weaving in her home farm in Kiukainen before being persuaded to join Arabia’s Art Department.
Tuumi started working at Arabia in 1950 together in the same studio as Sakari Vapaavuori and Ritva Kaukoranta. She quickly and naturally found her own style and her place in Arabia’s artist collective.
Tuumi’s simple artwork was exhibited at the Finnish stand of the Milan Triennales in the 1950’s and at Arabia’s art department’s exhibitions, in cities such as Copenhagen, Zurich, Amsterdam and Oslo. Tuumi and her artwork regularly participated in art industry’s most important co-Nordic projects and events. Design in Scandinavia exhibitions took place in Europe, Canada and the USA. In 1962, Tuumi was invited to an international exhibition in the Paris Louvre. Out of five artists, she was the only one from the Nordic countries.
Raija Tuumi’s first solo exhibition took place in 1968 in Wärtsilä-Arabia’s showroom on the Esplanade, Helsinki. The wheel thrown piece sizes varied in size from very small up to 80 cm in diametre. When Arabia and Rörstrand merged, the number of staff was cut down. Raija Tuumi was granted a disability pension due to rheumatoid arthritis. She was still able to continue working for a few years in her ceramic workshop, first in her home in Maunula, Helsinki, then in her countryside homes in Joutsa and Kalanti. After 1977, Tuumi no longer sold her pieces. She saved the most important and artistic creations for herself which are now on display in KWUM.