Väinö Blomstedt, Painter and textile designer
Väinö Blomstedt (1871–1947) was the first artist hired by The Friends of Finnish Handicraft. As an artist, he designed tapestries, ryas and embroidery; there are a total of over a hundred models in the archive. The artist’s duties also included the entire production, e.g. controlling the use and composition of colors, and the artistic level was considered to have risen thanks to Blomstedt. He considered it important that the models were implemented professionally; Therefore, rya models could not be lent to weaving schools because their production could not be controlled. Blomstedt was a permanent artist at the Friends of Finnish Crafts from 1900 to 1903.
To honor Väinö Blomstedt’s anniversary, the Friends of Finnish Handicraft have reintroduced two of his models from the early 20th century. They are originally carpet designs, but work just as well as ryas. The Mosaiikki rya has an irregular surface pattern that spreads around a monochromatic central area, which in its organic ripple reflects the Art Nouveau style. ‘Mosaiikki’ (Mosaic) can be seen in the association’s 140th anniversary exhibition at the Ostrobothnia Museum in Vaasa until April 18, 2021. ‘Lähde’ (Spring), a bird and plant themed rya, dates from 1909. In rya, branches and leaves surround a blue central area, birds flying in the corners.