Last year, Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson’s birth. She was a great artist, novelist, painter, illustrator and comic books author. She wrote six novels and five books of short stories for grown-ups and she painted landscapes, interiors, still life and portraits, but of course she is nowadays most famous for her Moomin stories and illustrations, for which she received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1966. She started writing the first Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood, during the Second World War, as an escape from the war hardships into a world of innocence and naivete.
In celebration of her life and work many Finnish companies have launched collections based on her lovely Moomin illustrations, many of which are still featured in our shop Finland Quality Design:
“One calm and cloudless evening, towards the end of April, Snufkin found himself far enough to the north to see still-unmelted patches of snow on the northern slopes. He had been walking all day through undisturbed landscapes, listening to the cries of the birds also on their way northwards, home from the South. […]
‘It’s the right evening for a tune’, Snufkin thought. A new tune, one part expectation, two parts spring sadness, and for the rest just the great delight of walking alone and liking it. He had kept this tune under his hat for several days, but hadn’t dared to take it out yet. It had to grow into a kind of happy conviction. Then he would simply have to put his lips to the mouthorgan, and all those notes would jump instantly into their places.” (Tales from Moominvalley- The Spring Tune)
As every year, since we have been living in Finland, spring took me again by surprise.
Because summers are wonderful here, with lots of green, and berries, and flowers and hundreds of birds and long long days, light growing and growing until Midsummer… and “it’s all downhill from here”. We are cutting out the light, just a little everyday, but we don’t let you feel it yet. No, there is still enough, kids are still playing outside long hours, you still have flowers and birds and sun.
Then one day you hear the wild geese flying over your house going South, and the rain starts, with cold wind and mud and dirt and tones of sand your kids bring home. No more light for you! No more sun! And it feels like it will never be spring again. You are doomed to darkness and cold.
But one morning you look out the window to find a thin white blanket covering the ground. The kids are over the moon, but they still have to wait weeks for enough snow to ski and sledge and skate. And if you are lucky, you will have a white Christmas. But don’t get too excited! Snow is not here to stay. It comes and goes, but mostly we give you icy roads, so watch your step! It’s dark when you get up, when you take the kids to school, and when you start your day of work, but take some light for your lunch break, because what do you know, when you pick up the kids from school it’s dark again.
Then it’s February, and one morning you hear a little bird chirping, and it is Hope! Spring will come again! But not too soon. Now you have light, but it’s still -15 in the morning. You have the skiing holiday in March. Snow starts melting away, there is dust and gravel everywhere on the street, but look, you can see the ground again, and “just give us some spring already!”. You can see little crocuses here and there but it’s 29th of April and it’s snowing. And you go on with your days and stop paying attention.
Then, two weeks later, you look around you and see a tree in bloom, and an explosion of vegetation, hundreds of little flowers and you have a lawn again.
Finlayson has some amazing Moomin products, from towels, to bedding and kitchen textile products.
When we were visiting one of their shops in Helsinki we noticed the beautiful printings from the pillowcases hanging on their wall. We asked if they started to make canvas prints and they said that those were actually pillow cases cut and stretched on ordinary wooden frames.
I always thought this black and white pillowcases would make a wonderful art display with Tove Jansson’s beautiful original drawings, so there you have it: pillowcases turned into canvas pictures. But of course they’d look nice on your bed, too…
The Moomins live in a round blue house. The house has three stories and a cellar where Moominmamma stores her much appreciated jam. On the ground floor there is the kitchen, the salon and the bathroom, on the first floor there are the bedrooms and the second floor holds Moominpappa’s study, where he writes his memoirs.
Tove Jansson’s original drawings show some more details from the old house: Hemulen’s room as well as Thingummy and Bob’s room and Muskrat’s room on the ground floor, Moomintroll and Snufkin shared bedroom on the first floor, where also Sniff and Snork have their own rooms, and there is always spare room for unexpected visitors.
Moominpappa built this wonderful house for his family with his own two hands and he is very proud of it. The Moomin family adopted all kinds of creatures which came to live in the house. Moominmamma takes good care of them all and a hug from her can always make you feel better no mater how sad you are.
It is said that in the old days Moomins used to live behind the ceramic fireplace in Tove’s house, and that is why Pappa has build a house of the same round shape.
The new Moomin house mug is available in our store Finland Quality Design, and you can get it for free with purchases over 248 € (VAT 24%), excluding shipping, within EU, or over 200 € (VAT 0%), excluding shipping, outside EU. To get this offer use the voucher code M0SP5YIP in the shopping cart. The offer is limited to one per customer, however feel free to share the code with your friends. The campaign ends on October 31st 2015.
“One cold and windy autumn evening many years ago a newspaper parcel was found on the doorstep of the Home for Moomin Foundlings.[…]
The Hemulen who had built the Foundlings Home snorted her customary snort and clamped a numbered seal on my tail to avoid mixing me with other children. There were a lot of us, and we all soon became grave and tidy youngsters, because the Hemulen had a most solid character and used to wash us more often than she kissed us.
Still, she had one little weakness; she was interested in astrology, and every time a Moominchild was found on her doorstep she observed the position of the stars. They seem to be most important things!
Just imagine – had I come into the world only half an hour later I would have felt compelled to join the Hemulic Voluntary Brass Brand, and one day earlier only gamblers were born. (Mothers and fathers should keep such things well in mind.)
But when the Hemulen looked at my stars she just shook her head and exclaimed: ‘This will be no easy Moomin. He’s overtalented.’ “
This is how Moominpappa starts his touching story in “The exploits of Moominpappa – Described by Himself. Set down and illustrated by Tove Jansson” – translated by Thomas Warburton
The new Summer 2015 Moomin Mug from Arabia features pictures from the Moomin falls in love in the comic album #3. This mug is the last piece of a story which started in 2012 with Primadonna’s Horse, followed by Snorkmaiden and the Poet and Sailing with Niblings and Too-Ticky.
After months of heavy rain in Moomin Valley, Moomins try to save an entire circus from the flood. Moomintroll soon falls head over heels in love with the circus Primadonna.
Later Moomintroll sets up camp on shore with the circus strongman, Emeraldo, where they bath in the sun fishing, away from the ladies which have grown jealous. During the night Hattifatteners attack the ladies but the Primadonna’s horse alerts the men and Moomintroll rescues the true love of his life, Snorkmaiden.
The whole adventure comes to a happy ending with Moomins returning to their house on stilts.
Unlike most Arabia current products, this mug is made in Finland. The mug and the matching bowl are available in our store Finland Quality Design.
Moomin is the little troll with a positive attitude, curious and brave, always ready to embark on a new adventure. He admires Snufkin, his wandering friend, but would himself rather sleep in his own bed. He is also quite sensitive and you often find him daydreaming.