Nanny Still

Nanny Still (1926-2009), also known by her married name, Still-McKinney, is one of the important modern Finnish designers of glass and ceramics. The body of work she created, mainly during the 1950s and 1960s, serves as a reflection of the period’s style as well as being a harbinger of the coming innovations in structure, color and functionality. She worked with lighting–designing for Raak– porcelain, flatware and jewelry, but is best known for her glassware and for her woodcarving. The trademarks of her work in both decorative and functional glass, were her experiments with extremes of color and her practice of revisiting traditional processes to create enduring,elegant pieces. Still studied at Finland’s Central School of Arts and Crafts, graduating in 1950. She started out professionally in 1949, as a glass designer for Riihimaki, Finland’s largest glassworks, and remained there in some capacity until 1976. In 1965 Maire Gullichsen of Artek started the company Norrmark in order to produce hand finished objects that would establish and maintain a focus on the craft tradition when new industrial techniques threatened to make it obsolete. Still designed several pieces for them, the most famous of which were a set of lathed pine candlesticks. She also designed ceramics for Heinrich Porzellan in Germany and glass for Val Saint-Lambert in Belgium, where she lived for some time. From 1977 on she designed in both glass and ceramics for the Rosenthal Studios. She exhibited work at the 1954, 1957 and 1960 Milan Triennials, winning the Diplôme d’honneur in 1954 for a piece she designed in wood. She also appeared in a 1960 Brussels show called “Trois Profils Finlandais,” has exhibited her work internationally and won an A.I.D. International Design award in 1965 for the glass “Flindari” decanter with a circular stopper and an exterior relief decoration. There are several pieces and series from her career that received specific attention. The “Midsummer Pole,” designed in 1957 was a decorative vertical piece with an alternating diamond and circle pattern. It was made of blue, violet and orange glass. Her popular 1959 “Harlequin” series of goblets and jars had cone-shaped lids, a recurring shape in her work. In 1960 she designed the “Saturn” series of vases that came in three sizes and were also produced as candlesticks. These low, squat vases were made in colors that she created, a deep golden yellow and a warm violet. Another set of candlesticks, “Ambra,” was part of a traveling glass exhibit in the early 1960s. Still was a prolific designer and has, in addition to these pieces, a number of objects in glass, wood and ceramics that were never necessarily known by name but were a substantial part of the prevailing domestic aesthetic of mid-century Finland.