Taalari: vase 5736 by Tamara Aladin
Taalari: vase 5736 by Tamara Aladin
Taalari: vase 5736 by Tamara Aladin

Taalari: vase 5736 by Tamara Aladin

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Tamara Aladin is well known as a prolific designer for Finnish glass company Riihimaki Lasi. She spent her whole career with the company from the 1950s until it closed in the 1970s. She is one of a triumvirate of woman designing for the company at the time. Alongside Tamara was Nancy Still, and Helena Tynell. Although there is little evidence that they were close, or supportive of each other’s endeavours. Tamara sent her designs in from her home in Helsinki. <span> </span>She was a prolific designer with over 150 designs credited to her career with Riihimaki. This is reflected in the exhibition of her designs, and life, at the Finnish Glass Museum in 2010. The exhibition celebrated the centenary of Riihimaki Lasi Company opening.

So much of Finnish glass design is influenced by the Scandinavian landscape and skyscapes. The 'Taalari' vase designed in the 1960s takes its influence not from the landscape, but the culture of Finland. It is named after an ancient currency from the region, and the pattern is influenced by Karelian tapestry. Tamara, a Russian speaker would have been well aware of the culture of Karelia. A group of people who lived in Northern Europe and have struggled for identity with the formations of Finland and Russia.

Why is it modern? The glass design is solemn, the heavy moulded glass gives it a gravitas and presence. It receives light into its structure, rather than reflecting it. Like unglazed Japanese ceramics, it absorbs light. At art school Tamara trained as a ceramicist and would be aware of these tendencies in materials.

Her work was popular in Germany at the time and she would go on department store tours to promote her work. But the designs reflection of culture is the antithesis of the mass consumption of the 1960s. It is a very beautiful piece of design and glass production.