Upsala-Ekeby AB was founded in 1886 in Ekeby, Sweden, part of the city of Uppsala (the founders used the older spelling, Upsala). In the 1930s, consumers in Sweden were looking something stylish and new for their homes; the decision was made to hire innovative artists to raise the artistic quality of the company’s ceramic production. The new designs were very successful and the company began buying local competitors as it grew. Artists like Sven Erik Skawonius, Anna-Lisa Thomson, Edvin Ollerswere, Ingrid Atterberg and Mari Simmulson joined the company in the 1940s and a period of great creativity began.
In 1953, Skawonius was promoted as artistic director and felt strongly that every domestic item should have a classic design. He saw industrial design as part of “a love triangle between the producer, the artist and the buyer.”
In the 60s, Upsala-Ekeby bought large competitors such as Rörstrand (Stoneware), Reijmyre (Glassware), and Kosta Boda (Glassware). As less art pottery was produced, the artists who were so instrumental in creating the company began to leave. The 1970’s were not kind to UE; companies so recently purchased were sold, art pottery production ceased in 1973 and the ceramics factory closed in 1978.