Ruska or Kaarna? An Arabia clarification

Dinnerware by Arabia is wildly popular. This comes as no surprise as it is the perfect example of mid century design ideas applied very well to dinnerware. It is very strong, well made and perhaps most importantly, very informal.

We have been expanding our range of Arabia recently and I made a misattribution that I would like to clarify.

Arabia’s most ubiquitous range is called Ruska. This is the Finnish word for the colours of Autumn. Yes, it is very very brown, with hints of black and gold. I assumed that some new, very brown, items coming in were Ruska, I was however mistaken. There is another brown series of Arabia called ‘Kaarna’, Finnish for tree bark. A quick google search pointed out that I was not the only one to make this mistake.

I’m going to go through some differences to make it easier to distinguish between the two.


A Ruska Coffee Cup
A Kaarna Teapot


It is immediately obvious that the design is quite different. Ruska has very minimal lines whilst Kaarna has a more handmade look.

The minimal form in Ruska is counteracted by the irregular glazing. The technique used is derived from Japanese pottery and used a combination of matte glazing and ironoxide. The results are unpredictable and two Ruska pieces can be very different in colour, adding to the confusion off course. This method of glazing makes the surface slightly gritty.

Kaarna is a bit heavier in execution, the glaze is very different. It is applied in a way that makes the contours and horizontal lines stand out by making them lighter and the surface is very smooth.


There is some debate on whether Ulla Procope, who in 1960 designed Ruska, was also the designer of Kaarna. I think this is very unlikely. I would attribute the design to Goran Back, who is known to have made a few very similar designs for Arabia (like Korpi and Mahonki). Kaarna was first made in 1968, the year Procope passed away. Also if you look at her other designs (for example Anemone, Rosmarin, and Meri) Kaarna would surely stand out as unusual.

As most Arabia is not marked with the name of the pattern I hope the above will make it somewhat easier to distinguish.


You can find all of our ‘Ruska’ here: link.


You can find all of our ‘Kaarna’ here: link.



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