Always when I find designed enameled items, I buy them . There used to be a large production of enamel in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark but no more. Finnish Finel, Swedish Kockums and Catrineholm , Norwegian Emalox and Danish Torben Ørskov all made beautiful objects that are sought after today. Especially enameled signs are valued among collectors.

Enamel is created by applying glass in powder form to a metal, ceramic or glass surface and heating it at high temperatures. This creates a hard, durable surface which can stand most outside stress. These abilities made it popular in kitchenware, outdoor surfaces and other objects that had to stand e.g. heat and strong weather. The practice of making enamel has been known for thousands of years.

It was only later in the mid 20th century that enamel started to be used on other objects as well. Artists found that one could use enamel to create beautiful jewellery, table tops and household objects. The furniture section at the great department store NK in Stockholm sold great tables in enamel by artists such as Algot Törneman and Stig Lindberg. See an example by Lindberg here.

In Finland designers such as Antti Nurmesniemi and Kaj Franck used enamel as a way of creating new modern objects that gave a splash of colour to the perhaps grey existence. Later Heikki Orvola and Bertel Gardberg also used enamel for kitchen objects. Franck won the Grand Prix at the Triennale in Milano in 1957 for his colourful bowls in five different sizes.

Let’s hope there will be a new wave of enamel sweeping over us soon.

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