Retired Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte: “Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories are an endless source of inspiration”

After 30 years of Moomin illustrations for Arabia, designer Tove Slotte has retired and her work is now carried on by Moomin by Arabia’s own design team. Over the years, Slotte’s illustrations have adorned over 100 Moomin mugs – but which one is the artist’s personal favorite?

Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte holding Moomin winter 2022 seasonal tableware
Having illustrated Moomin mugs for over 30 years, Tove Slotte has retired from her daily work as a freelance designer for Arabia.

THE STORY OF MOOMIN MUGS is about to see a new leaf turned as their beloved illustrator Tove Slotte has retired from her work as a freelance designer for Arabia. Slotte has illustrated Moomin mugs since the early 1990s – so, ever since the first modern Moomin mugs. Back then, she surely didn’t know how important a collaboration this would be and that Moomins would become her life’s work.

But what will happen to Moomin mugs now that Slotte has retired? Fret not, Moomin fans, they will not be discontinued! In the future, Moomin illustrations will be created by Arabia’s own design team, Annika Tickle and Parvati Pillai, who both work in Finland at the head offices of Fiskars Group, the parent company of Arabia.

Thingumy and Bob Moomin mug, lime, and Moomin minimugs
Over the years, Slotte has created over 100 Moomin mugs. Pssst! If you are looking for Franckly, our marketplace for preloved design.
Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte at her studio with Annika Tickle and Parvati Pillai
In the future, Slotte's work will be continued by Moomin by Arabia's own dynamic duo: Annika Tickle (middle) and illustrator Parvati Pillai (right).
Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte's studio
Slotte’s studio has slowly become a Moomin World of its own as Moomin products and drawings have little by little accumulated on the studio’s tables and shelves.
Moomin collector's edition plates
Although mugs are undoubtedly Arabia's best-known Moomin products, the collection also includes plates, among other things. The special collector's edition plates are sold in sets of two.

From the studio to the cupboard

Tove Slotte started working for Arabia in 1985 as a designer in the brand’s own design team, and in 1993, she went freelance. As you might know, Moomin mugs are based on original drawings by Moomin writer Tove Jansson, with Slotte handpicking characters and details from different stories and rearranging them to fit the forms of the tableware.

The journey of a Moomin illustration from Slotte’s desk to a finished mug or plate typically takes a few years. According to Slotte, seeing one’s own hand-drawn illustration on a finished product is always fun and exciting.

“It’s always a very emotional moment,” she says in Arabia’s press release. “The illustration looks so different on the glazed surface of a mug.”

Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte holding Moomin winter 2022 seasonal tableware
When her collaboration with Arabia first began, Slotte surely didn't anticipate it would become her life's work.
Moomin winter 2022 seasonal mug, Winter wonders
The latest Moomin mug by Slotte is the 2022 winter seasonal mug, Winter wonders.
Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte holding a sketch of Moomin winter 2022 seasonal tableware
Many wintery illustrations are based on the story Moominland Midwinter. The 2022 winter mug, however, is inspired by the comic book strip “Moomin’s Winter Follies”.

Over 30 years and over 100 mugs

In the last 30 years, Slotte has created over 100 Moomin mug illustrations with the latest being the 2022 winter seasonal mug Winter wonders. All winter-themed mugs are among her own favorites, as she reveals to be a winter person at heart.

“My favorite of all Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories is Moominland Midwinter.”

“My favorite Moomin story is Moominland Midwinter,” she says. Partly because I love winter and snow. Partly because the tale of the lonely Moomintroll is so touching.”

Yet one of Slotte’s all-time favorites, the 2018 Moomin’s Day mug, is decidedly summery.

“The landscape and sunset remind me of my family’s own summer island getaway on the west coast of Finland,” Slotte says.

Moomin Hattifatteners mug and minimug
Classic Moomin mugs have also been turned into adorable mini mugs. We wonder what the next mug will look like!
Moomin illustrator Tove Slotte at her studio with Parvati Pillai
Meetings between Tove Slotte and Moomin by Arabia's own design team have been warm and cordial – not to mention productive!
Moomin jug, Bath House
“The Moomins’ popularity shows no signs of abating, as Tove Jansson's stories and illustrations are a real national treasure,” Tove Slotte remarks.

Moomins continue to spark joy

You don’t need to say your goodbyes just yet, as Arabia still has some unreleased Moomin mugs by Tove Slotte up their sleeves. In the following years, we will see Slotte’s mugs and the Moomin team’s mugs side by side, although Slotte herself has already retired and is now focusing – instead of Moomins – on gardening, pottery, and her grandchildren.

“I am more than confident in leaving the Moomin tableware in the hands of Arabia's own talented team. It's been wonderful to work together with them, even if only for a while, and notice how strong the brand is and how exciting its future looks. Tove Jansson's stories are an endless source of inspiration for illustrators as well as all those to whom Moomin objects bring joy day after day,” says Slotte.

Moomin favorites by Arabia

Winter wonders Moomin mug
Little My and meadow Moomin plate
Ancestor Moomin mug
Friendship Moomin pitcher
ABC Moomintroll Moomin mug
Fillyjonk Moomin plate
Stinky in action Moomin mug
Moominpappa Moomin tumbler

See also:

All Moomin products by Tove Slotte >

Edit: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Arabia

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