Ode to Ruska

Mary/ January 24, 2015/ Culinary, Decorative/Domestic, Interiors

Hard to believe one could write a few paragraphs about one’s dishes! My dishes have an interesting story.

Arabia of Finland’s “Ruska” pattern was designed by Ulla Procope in the early 1960’s. My big sister worked in an independent kitchen boutique in the late 70’s where they sold these dishes, and she fell in love with them and bought a half dozen place settings. While she moved back home, I was getting married and in gathering mode so we made a deal. Now they were my dishes. They were pretty cool, and very Scandinavian: which was both exotic and cool.

The coolest thing is that they were designed in 1960’s, and then apparently won a design award in 1989, which is a testament to their classic style. In fact, years ago at the Canadian Craft Museum, here in Vancouver, there was a display of 5 decades of housewares and furnishings and two of my types of dishes were in the museum display: Ruska, and Russell Wright’s Iroquois stoneware (but that’s another blog post!).

The most fortunate thing was one day a designer friend of mine (who notices things like this, naturally, she’s a designer!) stumbled upon a box of dishes at a garage sale. She called me up: “Uh…Mary….I think this is a box of your dishes…for $10….shall I buy them?” “Yes!” I responded enthusiastically over the phone. In the box was a coffee pot, some soufflé dishes, more bowls and cups and saucers – worth over $300.

Over time, I’ve needed more when ones have broken or when I wanted to expand place settings, but they’ve gotten hard to get, and expensive: $30 per piece or so….so I’ve supplemented with another pattern from IKEA that is super reasonable and blends quite seamlessly.

I see them occasionally in print advertising, usually in soup ads…the chocolate brown colour is rich and warm. Their provenance is rich and warm too…and cool.