619: Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä: Notes from an Island

In her late-forties, Tove Jansson, helped by a maverick seaman called Brunström, raced to build a cabin on an almost barren outcrop of rock in the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea. The island was Klobharun, and for twenty-six summers Tove and her life partner, the graphic artists Tuulikki Pietilä (‘Tooti’), retreated there to live, paint and write, energised by the solitude and shifting seascapes. “Notes from an Island”, published in English for the first time, is both a memoir and homage to the island the two women loved intensely and relinquished only when pressed by age. It is also a unique collaboration between two artists. Tove’s spare, precise prose – diary entries, vignettes and extracts from Brunström’s log – frame the subtle washes and aquatints created by Tooti. Together they form a work of meditative beauty.

“Sometimes we build things to be solid and lasting, and sometimes to be beautiful, sometimes both.”

“Notes from an Island” is written by Tove Jansson and illustrated by Tuulikki Pietilä. The book is translated into English by Thomas Teal. First published in 1996. Published in English by Sort Of Books in 2021. Donated to the library by Claire Sharpe from Toronto, Canada ❤️

Photos by Anna Iltnere / Sea Library

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