What's on the shelf this weeK?
The first encounter I had with them as a child was my mother's Moomin book, which she herself had won as a child, a prize in a colouring competition. No surprises then that this well-read dog-eared hardback book itself had been "enhanced" with extra colouring in.
Fast forward a few decades and thanks to Arabia Finland, these enchanting characters now grace mugs, jugs, plates, in endless delightful combinations.
Tove Jansson is probably known most for the world of the Moomins, but as well as working as an editorial illustrator for Finnish newspapers, she also illustrated JR Tolkein's The Hobbit, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
Some of these works formed part of the exhibition, Magical Moomin Valley, held at the Bury Art Gallery in winter 2010/11, celebrating 65 years of Moomins. It was genuinely exciting for me to see some of Jansson's original artwork. I was really struck by the intricacy of the images, such fine line work, and how with just some delicate cross-hatching, an erie moonlit wood could be magically created on the page. The original illustrations were much smaller than I expected too.
Having recently read Jansson's novel, The Summer Book, I am now pouring over her illustrations for Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark.
And of course, drinking out of Moomin cups!