Age, Biography and Wiki

Maija Isola was a Finnish textile designer and artist. She is best known for her bold and colorful designs for the Marimekko company, which she joined in 1951. She was the company's first designer and created over 500 prints for them. Her designs are characterized by their bright colors and bold patterns, and are often inspired by nature. She also designed fabrics for other companies, including the Finnish company Finlayson. Isola was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal in 1967 and the Prince Eugen Medal in 1975. She died in 2001 at the age of 74.

Popular As N/A
Occupation Textile designer
Age 74 years old
Zodiac Sign Pisces
Born 15 March 1927
Birthday 15 March
Birthplace Arolammi, Riihimäki, Finland
Date of death (2001-03-03) Riihimäki
Died Place Riihimäki
Nationality Finland

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Maija Isola Height, Weight & Measurements

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Who Is Maija Isola's Husband?

Her husband is Georg Leander Jaakko Somersalo Jorma Tissari

Parents Not Available
Husband Georg Leander Jaakko Somersalo Jorma Tissari
Sibling Not Available
Children Not Available

Maija Isola Net Worth

Her net worth has been growing significantly in 2022-2023. So, how much is Maija Isola worth at the age of 74 years old? Maija Isola’s income source is mostly from being a successful other. She is from Finland. We have estimated Maija Isola's net worth , money, salary, income, and assets.

Net Worth in 2023 $1 Million - $5 Million
Salary in 2023 Under Review
Net Worth in 2022 Pending
Salary in 2022 Under Review
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Maija Isola Social Network




Isola was described in 2013 as a style icon. Her granddaughter Emma Isola works for Marimekko as a designer, forming a three-generation tradition.


Since 2012, Finland's airline Finnair has been flying an Airbus A340-300 to its Asia destinations sporting a blue Unikko print, while an Airbus A330 painted in an Anniversary Unikko has been serving its other intercontinental routes.


In 2011, Marimekko flew a hot-air balloon decorated with an enormous version of Unikko over Helsinki, reflecting the iconic status of the print, nearly half a century later. Marimekko's marketing policy is to reissue "classics from its fifty-year back catalogue, notably a large group of patterns from the 1950s and 1960s by Maija Isola."


From 1987, when she retired, Isola worked on painting rather than textiles, until her death on 3 March 2001. Her designs, and Marimekko, went into eclipse. In 1991, the new head of Marimekko, Kirsti Paakkanen successfully relaunched Isola's Fandango, but it was not until the late 1990s that Marimekko again became widely popular. Its renewed fortunes were based on "classic" Isola patterns from the 1950s and 1960s.


From 1980 to 1987, Isola designed patterns for Marimekko jointly with her daughter, Kristina. They worked in their own studios, in Helsinki in the winter, in Kaunismäki in the summer. Kristina became one of Marimekko's chief designers; she had joined Marimekko when she was 18. During her 40-year career with Marimekko, Maija Isola created a "staggering" 500 prints for the company. Among the best-known are Kivet (Stones) and Kaivo (Well); they continue to sell in the 21st century.


On returning to Finland, 160 of her works, including paintings and sketches but not her print designs, were displayed at a retrospective exhibition in a Helsinki gallery in 1979.


In 1974, Isola designed the popular pattern Primavera, consisting of stylized Marigold flowers; this has since been printed in many different colours for tablecloths, plates and other items. In 1976 she returned to Paris, working with Al-Haggagi on a series of Egyptian-inspired prints including Niili (Nile), Nubia, and Papyrus. The next year, she accompanied Al-Haggagi to Boone, North Carolina where he was a lecturer. She spent the year painting, walking, and doing yoga, inspired by the scenery of the Appalachian Mountains, which she said reminded her of her home town, Riihimäki. She made some designs, but found it hard to sell any in the American market, as there were few factories that could print fabrics to her specifications.


According to Tamsin Blanchard, writing in The Observer, "The designs of Maija Isola – one of the company's [most] original and longest-standing designers - have stood the test of time." Blanchard describes Isola's 1972 Wind design "with its feathery organic tree skeletons in silhouette" as "timeless", her 1957 Putinotko as a "spiky black-and-white print", also discussing her 1963 work, Melon, and her 1956 work, Stones.


In 1970 she travelled on her own to Paris to get away from her marriage and family commitments. There, she had a love affair with the Egyptian scholar Ahmed Al-Haggagi. He encouraged her to work on Arabian patterns, sketching for her the basis of her Poppy (not the same as Unikko). Her Arabian-inspired patterns of this period include Kuningatar, Naamio, Sadunkertoja, Tumma, and Välly. In 1971, she separated from Tissari, realising that she preferred to live alone. She spent three years in Algeria, taking a lover named Muhamed.


From 1965 to 1967, Isola worked on the theme of sun and sea, creating at least nine designs that were adopted by Marimekko, including Albatrossi (Albatross), Meduusa (Jellyfish), and Osteri (Oyster). Her patterns were, by now, being widely reproduced. To facilitate this process and to keep the patterns accurate, Isola maintained a set of "pattern books". These were handwritten exercise books containing precise details of her pattern repeats. Each one, such as her 1968 Lovelovelove, was drawn to scale on a pattern book page, coloured, and annotated with the names of the colours to be used. The books also recorded the size of the actual repeat and details of print orders. The books continued to be used as production guides in the decades after her death.


The collaboration between Isola and Ratia was an "unusual creative power game" characterised by "vitality and inventiveness" rather than a harmonious understanding. The tone for this was set when, in 1964, Isola "provocatively" defied Ratia's professed hatred of floral patterns by painting the famous Unikko (Poppy) pattern in bold pink, red and black on white; the pattern came to define the brand and has been in production ever since. It was one of some eight floral designs that Ratia chose from Isola's portfolio in that period.


Marion Hume, writing in Time Magazine, explains that Isola "was able to mastermind an astonishing range, from the intricate and folkloric Ananas (1962)--which remains one of the most popular prints for the home market--to the radically simple, dramatically enlarged, asymmetrical Unikko poppy (1964), originally in red and in blue, which may be one of the most widely recognized prints on earth."


Lesley Jackson, in a chapter titled Op, Pop, and Psychedelia, writes that "from Finland the exuberant all-conquering Marimekko burst on to the international scene" in the 1960s; she illustrates this with one pattern by Vuokko Nurmesniemi, and three by Isola – Lokki, Melooni, and Unikko. Of Lokki, Jackson writes "Isola revolutionized design with her simple, bold, flat patterns, printed on a dramatic scale. The design, whose title means 'seagull', evokes the lapping of waves and the flapping of birds' wings." Of the famous Unikko, Jackson says "This huge, exploded poppy pattern embodies the unbridled design confidence of the mid-1960s, and presages the ebullience and sizzling colours of the flower power era."


In 1959 she married the judge Jorma Tissari. He was a wealthy art lover with a spacious home in the centre of Helsinki. When Isola wanted more creative freedom from Ratia's control, Tissari negotiated with Marimekko to give her a new contract that allowed her more creative freedom.


Between 1957 and 1963, Isola created her first series of works on a single theme, Luonto (Nature). It consisted of some 30 designs, based on pressed plants, which her daughter Kristina had started collecting at age 11. In 1958, she begun another series, Ornamentti (Ornament), based on Slavic folk art. It, too, included about 30 designs, and made her famous.


Her student-era work, including Amfora, was spotted in 1949 by Marimekko's founder, Armi Ratia. Ratia hired Isola to work for Printex, the forerunner of Marimekko. She became the principal textile designer for Marimekko, creating some eight to ten patterns every year.


In 1948, she went to Oslo, visiting the Van Gogh exhibition and seeing the Edvard Munch paintings there. She was inspired by a display of classical era pots at the Oslo Museum of Craft and Design to create her Amfora ("Amphora") print. The marriage with Leander did not last long, and by 1949 she was travelling Europe with the painter Jaakko ("Jaska") Somersalo, who became her second husband. He taught her woodcut printing and inspired her to paint. They divorced in 1955.


Isola studied painting at the Helsinki Central School of Industrial Arts. In 1945, as the Second World War came to an end, her life changed radically: her father died, and she became pregnant. On 22 July 1945 she married the commercial artist Georg Leander; their daughter Kristina was born in January 1946.


Maija Sofia Isola (15 March 1927 – 3 March 2001) was a Finnish designer of printed textiles, and the creator of over 500 patterns, including Unikko ("Poppy"). The bold, colourful prints she created as the head designer of Marimekko made the Finnish company famous in the 1960s. She also had a successful career as a visual artist.