mon amie – the iconic flower of marianne westman

This is a pattern loved by generations of Swedes since it was released by Rörstrand in the 50’s! I have so many memories seeing Mon Amie (My Friend) on countless tables of family and friends from my childhood until this day. It’s a reference for everything related to outstanding pattern design in Sweden and nobody interested in this field, in my part of the world at least, would have missed it. But I doubt that so many still remember the name of the designer. She was only 22 years old when handpicked by Rörstrand, one of the two biggest manufacturers of porcelain in Sweden (the other one being Gustavsberg mentioned in THIS post). Her name is Marianne Westman.

The story tells that she created this flower on a rainy Midsummer’s day in the late 40’s (Midsummer still tends to be a rainy business in Sweden!). The original flower was a white “Skvattram” (Labrador Tea flower) but was later turned into this cobalt blue beauty that would make an outstanding success when launched as “Mon Amie” in 1952. She would stay 21 years with Rörstrand and draw many more iconic patterns like “Picknick”, “Eden”, “Anemone”, “Pomona” to name a few of my favourites. Blue and white pottery has a long tradition originating as early as in 15th century China. Since then almost every culture nurtured their own variety of the blue-and-white tradition. Cobalt was a very expensive and valuable pigment and therefore this pottery became a status marker. In Scandinavia, it developed into an artisanal signature style, easily found in many potteries. “Mon Amie” was intimately linked into this tradition and immediately got hugely popular.

During the recession of the 70’s, Rörstrand fired 200 employees, among which Marianne Westman. At this point in time her patterns accounted for almost half of Rörstrand’s production. But this didn’t end her career by far… already in 1952 she founded a Textile Atelier in Dalarna where she was born, together with her sister, Inga-Lill Westman. It still exists and I recommend a visit if you are in the region. She also did several freelance cooperations in Sweden and abroad.

In honour of Westman’s 80th Anniversary, 2008, Rörstrand launched a contemporary “remake” of “Mon Amie”. She was herself very involved in the design process and the result is stunning, even though for a vintage lover as myself, nothing compares to the original.

I hope this sparkle your inspiration as it do mine! Love this so much! Now I’m just ready to start my own blue-and-white projects!

 

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