Maija Isola (1927–2001) was the first full-time designer hired by Printex, the company that eventually spawned Marimekko. Her most famous print, Unikko, has become the most recognizable icon of the Marimekko Company.
Maija Isola was a tremendously versatile and bold artist. She interpreted the events of her era from her own unique perspective and foresaw future trends. Her vast body of work includes over 500 prints. Her early work was inspired by nature, and her first prints were created through a photographic process whereby actual plants were projected onto a screen. As she matured, her designs became bolder and less detailed, containing large areas of color. Her travels also played a role in her designs; she spent time in Yugoslavia, Italy and Algeria, incorporating stylistic elements from these varied cultures. These experiences gave her a vast palette from which to draw, and this range is clearly evident in her far-ranging designs.
In the 1980s, she began designing fabrics with her daughter, Kristina. Together they produced fresh floral fabrics, bold abstract patterns and ornamental designs that became Marimekko staples. When Maija passed away in 2001, Kristina carried on her mother’s tradition, producing new color waves of Maija’s classic designs.
Source: Marimekko: Fabrics, Fashion, Architecture and Marimekko.com
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