Born: February 18, 1917, Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: February 23, 2009, Helsinki, Finland
Education: Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki
Lived: Klovharu Island, Pellinki, Finland (60.22053, 25.88207)
Find A Grave Memorial# 161889945
Movies: Haru, Island of the Solitary
Books: Gossip, markets, and gender
Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. For her contribution as a children's writer she received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966. Briefly engaged in the 1940s to Atos Wirtanen, she later met her future life partner Tuulikki Pietilä. Tuulikki Pietilä was a Finnish graphic artist and professor. The two women collaborated on many works and projects, including a model of the Moominhouse, in collaboration with Pentti Eistola. It is now exhibited at the Moomin museum in Tampere. Jansson is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children. The first such book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, appeared in 1945, though it was the next two books, Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively that brought her fame. Jansson's and Pietilä's travels and summers spent together on the Klovharu Island in Pellinki have been captured on several hours of film, shot by Pietilä. Several documentaries have been made of this footage, the latest being Haru, yksinäinen saari (Haru, the lonely island) (1998) and Tove ja Tooti Euroopassa (Tove and Tooti in Europe) (2004).
Together from (before) 1945 to 2001: 56 years.
Tove Marika Jansson (August 9, 1914 – June 27, 2001)
Tuulikki Pietilä (February 18, 1917 – February 23, 2009)
Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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The small ascetic island of Klovharu lies off the coast of Porvoo in the Pellinki archipelago. This rocky islet in the Gulf of Finland was home to Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä for almost thirty years.
Address: Pellinki, Finland (60.22053, 25.88207)
Type: Private Property
Built in 1964
Although Tove Jansson had dreamed of her own lighthouse, the cottage she built on Klovharu was a small, low-rise structure. It was built quite high up, but slightly below the cliff top. The cottage boasts a surprising subterranean feature – a vast cellar, larger than the building above. “Our cellar is the largest cellar that’s ever been dug, at least in this area, the floor area measures 25 square metres and it’s two metres deep.” The island was (and still is) part of the Pellinki island community. Permission to build had, therefore, to be requested from the islanders. “But Pellinki, just like many other self-governing island communities, had its own patriarch who would give advice on delicate issues concerning the islands. This man cautioned us not to expect too much and, above all, not to have faith in legal papers, which would sooner or later become the bane of our lives – so, no rental agreement, just a friendly donation to the local fishing association. Take it easy, he said, put yourselves on the Söderbyhy yes-or-no list. If I write yes, then the others are sure to follow my example. We stuck the list on the shop’s veranda door, and got a string of nothing but yeses.” Tove and Tooti sent their ‘yes list’ to the rural municipality of Porvoo’s authorities, and then camped out in the rain on Klovharu, waiting for a building permit. One evening, a man came ashore and introduced himself as Brunström from Kråkö. Brunström, who had been fishing for salmon, had intended to sleep in his boat, but had decided to come ashore when he spotted lights on the island. “Brunström had heard about our yes-or-no list and told us that it would never go through, not even in Porvoo where they take a broader view on such things, that is, they take it easy. You’ll never get a building permit. The only thing you can do is to start building right now. The authorities will take ages to decide what they want, and that’s when you have to take the initiative. The law says that a building cannot be torn down if the logs are in place up to the roof ridge. “Believe me,” Brunström said. “I know about these things.”” Tove and Tooti believed him and started building immediately. Sven Brunström also brought Nisse Sjöblom into the construction project. Occasionally, other Pellinki neighbours brought fish soup to the workers. The only suitable place for a cottage was occupied by the Great Rock, which weighed an estimated fifty tons. Blasting the Great Rock out of the way was their first task. The explosions scattered rock debris across the island, which presented Tove with another way of letting off steam. Rolling rocks was a way of cooling off and freeing herself of the bothers brought about by writing and illustrating.
Who: Tove Marika Jansson (August 9, 1914 – June 27, 2001) and Ida Helmi Tuulikki Pietilä (February 18, 1917 – February 23, 2009)
Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. For her contribution as a children's writer she received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966. Briefly engaged in the 1940s to Atos Wirtanen, she later during her studies met her future partner Tuulikki Pietilä. The two women collaborated on many works and projects, including a model of the Moominhouse, in collaboration with Pentti Eistola. This is now exhibited at the Moomin museum in Tampere. Although Jansson had a studio in Helsinki, she lived many summers on a small island called Klovharu, one of the Pellinki Islands near the town of Porvoo. Jansson's and Pietilä's travels and summers spent together on the Klovharu island in Pellinki have been captured on several hours of film, shot by Pietilä. Several documentaries have been made of this footage, the latest being “Haru, yksinäinen saari” (Haru, the lonely island) (1998) and “Tove ja Tooti Euroopassa” (Tove and Tooti in Europe) (2004). Tove Jansson is buried at Hietaniemi cemetery (Sanduddsgatan 20, 00100 Helsingfors).
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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