In the autumn of 2003 I finally did something I'd wanted to do for many years...I joined the Sons Of Norway. Several commitments prevent my attending the regular meetings during the school year but fortunately the Norwegian Culture classes held by Pat Morgan are on Tuesday evenings when I am free. Bri and Katie are enjoying learning the many aspects of their Norwegian heritage right along with me.
So far we have begun weaving (see photo below) and are learning rosemaling...Norwegian traditional folk painting.
Katie is a whiz at the inkle loom and has already completed one band. Much to her delight Grampa Jim made her her own loom. Bri is working on a flat loom and hopes to try an inkle loom soon too. Pat's husband Les very kindly made an inkle loom for me. I first made a very lame band (can you say pathetic??) but did manage to design and make a more even and interesting one the second time out. I've selected a design for the next one and plan to find just the right colors soon.
Eventually I hope to have a four harness table loom. For now I am reading weaving books and trying to resist temptation!
While I've sketched and designed one thing or another since I was a child I never thought I could paint. Actually, I still can't...but I am determined to learn as much as I can. My first rosemal project was.....well....it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be but I do have a long way to go. The girls are loving it! With the boards, paint and brushes we've collected we all plan to do a lot of painting in months to come! (Hopefully my panic attacks will subside when I am working at home and not surrounded by talented people...lol!) "I can't DO this!"
One of the most moving events of my life took place in February. Bri, Katie and I attended a concert at SON presented by an extremely talented family, the Habbestads from Norway.
The highlight for me was to hear the same type of instrument great aunt Betsy played...a Norwegian fiddle. Betsy's violin was brought from Norway in 1868. Daddy inherited it and I wish with all my heart we could have kept it to pass down in the family.
The sound of the Hardanger fiddle as played in the concert fed my soul as it has never been fed before. I could feel Britha and Hans there beside me. As we heard that surreal heavenly sound and the ethereal voices of the Norwegian songs sung in the language my ancestors tears slipped down my cheeks and there was nothing I could do to stop them...but truth be known, I didn't want to stop them. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to attend that very special event. The girl;s both enjoyed it too and Bri was very taken with the Hardanger fiddle. She now wants to take violin lessons in the future.
While the sound quality is not the same as hearing it live, we purchased a cd that evening which had much of what was played so the girls and I can relive that experience over and over in the future.
Through April and into May we continued our classes. With the May 17th celebration coming we hurried to paint five short "standards" with different styles of rosemaling. Below are photos of the designs I painted. I'll be sure to photograh the very elegant designs everyone else painted and share them with you after the 17th.
Also on this page will be photos of my other rosemal projects and the projects Bri and Katie painted.