Finding Posio on the map
His finger slid slowly but surely from side to side up the map until it stopped near the Arctic Circle. The village of Posio peeked out from under his finger. And it was there that the recently matriculated gymnastics teacher, Topi Pentikäinen, decided to send his application, even though Anu had never been that far north either. Once the children and moving boxes had been packed into the Volvo’s back seat, they set off on an adventure that would take them far from the hustle and bustle of the city, all the way to the boundless beauty of northern nature. In the end, they found everything and nothing in Posio – the true magic of Lapland. Anu had space to think and be herself, and an artist’s soul was born. One by one, they found the people with whom even the wildest dreams began to come true. In the middle of it all rose the northernmost ceramics factory in the world. And so much more.
The brutally beautiful Kaamoskivi
Nature’s shape, autumn’s colors, rugged sand, Kaamoskivi. If the slogan was unique, so too was the product. A rough and beautiful clump that was so special that no one had certainly ever made anything like it. After managing to get a few Kaamoskivis onto the sales shelf at Posio’s local petrol station, Anu decided to sell some to a real gift shop, all the way in Rovaniemi. The lady who owned the shop happened to be on holiday, but the saleslady who was on duty at the time said they would take six. The next morning the phone rang. The owner wasn’t exactly thrilled with the shop’s newest novelties. “They’re horrible, you’re going to have to come and pick them up,” she said. Anu agreed she would come and collect them up the next day. But the next morning the phone rang again. “They’re beautiful, they’ve all sold, and oh please make more,” the owner gushed. So Anu made more.
From clay to gold
”Is this just the principal’s wife tinkering around or is this going to actually be a business,” the bank manager asked, but still agreed to give the loan. It was the early 1970s. While everyone else was moving out of Posio, the Pentikäinens had moved in. The log cabin that connected the ceramics workshop to the café quickly became such a popular shopping and tourist destination that the only place the family could get a good night’s sleep was under the benches in the sauna. Word of mouth spread and the press gushed and glowed over the self-taught beauty who was boldly living her dream in the heart of Lapland. They sold everything they had time to make. And soon enough she opened a store on Helsinki’s Esplanade and packed a dictionary in her purse and flew all the way to America. Fifty years and many more stories later, Pentik from Posio has grown into one of Finland’s most successful design companies.
One firm handshake and suddenly the factory felt so big that she almost couldn’t find her way out. It was 1986 and she had a baby in her arms and a brand new job at Pentik. Almost three decades of hard work have gone by since then and the factory has expanded many times. Outi Mursu’s career path has progressed from attaching handles to glazing and eventually to studio decorator. When morning comes, Outi flips on the radio and dives deep into the world of colors and patterns. The table is covered with stencils and decorating colors, and her experienced hands are making beautiful things even more beautiful. After all the steps and stages, it’s finally the moment of truth. The oven door opens and the colors have come to life in all their splendor.
You can always use a carpenter
Based on his last name, it’s not hard to guess where Pekka is from. Strictly speaking, however, Pekka is a returnee who moved back to his home village from Rovaniemi in 2006 to build the Pentikäinens’ new home. The house was such a success that Pekka was wooed into working at the Pentik wood workshop, right next to the factory. It’s that he builds furniture for the stores – everything from cabinets and tables to wood shingled walls. Pekka is particularly good at mixing old and new. In his hands, a window frame painted by time turns into the perfect room divider and old floorboards find themselves reborn into a sturdy table for the store. When new and old get together, something real and really unique is born.
The fisherman's eureka
After the senior model master had taught Jani Kämäräinen just about everything he knew, he gave him one more piece of advice. Even with the keenest sense of design and technical prowess, every model master finds himself at a dead end from time to time. A designer’s wild idea seems to go against the laws of nature and feels impossible to implement. When this happens, all you can do is put the problem to the back of your mind and wait patiently for your subconscious to stumble on the solution. For Jani, the eureka usually comes while fishing and enjoying Lapland’s nature. And so the masterful model master has also become a fierce fisherman, or perhaps the other way around. And once the puzzle is finally solved, Jani turns the designer’s vision into a plaster model, a ceramic prototype, and ultimately the mother mold, the mold of all molds.
Ready for anything
At five in the morning, when the village of Posio is still asleep, the lights at the factory flicker on. Purposeful steps take her towards the room-sized oven. Anu is nervous. There’s no window in the oven door to peek through. Once you’ve gotten something done and into the oven, all you can do is wait until the morning to see how the previous day’s work has worked out. The shout of joy that echoes through the factory means Anu is happy with what she sees. But shouts like this don’t happen every day, because failure is a big part of renewal and creating something new. And that’s why Anu is always ready for anything. That’s why she works directly with the material, without sketching too much or deliberating for days. When you work and work and constantly create, intuition begins to guide your hands as they bring beauty to life. And that’s why, even after 50 years, she’s the first one up in the morning and the last one there in the evening, pushing her hands into the clay for just one more moment.
What is your Pentik-story?
Share us your Pentik story in the form of a picture and/or story and you will participate into a monthly drawing for a Pentik gift card worth 100 €.