Ritva Grunberg


Ritva in studio

In the early 1980s Ritva, newly arrived from Finland where she had trained as a pharmacist, appeared at my pottery studio in New York. She was looking for a place to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a ceramic artist. One of my first students, she was a testament to the Chinese proverb: Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. As soon as I opened the door, she was off and running…and quickly left me in the dust.

After graduating from student to apprentice to studio manager while I took time out with my newborn daughter, she moved to Houston, Texas. There, she received her MFA in ceramics and made a name for herself as an artist.

Then, I left New York and she returned to Finland, and for a decade we lost track of each other.

Last March, as I was planning a summer vacation in Ireland, she phoned–out of the blue–and invited me to visit her in Lappeenranta, where she has a studio and a lovely though tiny apartment.

Here are some photos I took of our reunion.

Ritva's feast

A feast…on Ritva’s handmade ware

Ritva's mural

Ritva’s mural at Lappeenranta University of Technology

Ritva buys fish

At the fish market

Ritva's ceramics

Ritva’s handmade ware

Ritva and Lisa in woods

Lisa and Ritva on a woodland trail

Ritva's dream achieved

A dream achieved


4 responses to “Ritva Grunberg

  1. I am a big fan and collector of Ritva’s work having lived in Houston. I lost track of her with her move back to Finland. I would like to buy more of her work directly from her but have no contact number or address.

  2. Carrell — She is living in Lappeenranta, Finland. If you e-mail me ( lisa (at) kleinholz (dot) com your contact information I will send it by snail mail to her with my holiday card. Though I have an e-mail address for her, it doesn’t seem to get through, so I’m better with the old-fashioned way.

    I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.


    • I would love to get in touch with her, but haven’t been able to. Do you have any way to contact her?

      • Mary-Margaret Goggin

        In looking up Ritva on the internet, I noticed in one site that her name was listed and then in parentheses (1943-2015). I think she may have died. I couldn’t find any additional information. i was one of her professors at the Univ. of Houston (art history). If you hear any news, please contact me. thank you, Mary-Margaret Goggin

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