A touch of Norway: Senior center exhibit focuses on rosemaling

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Artist Gerri Carlson took her first rosemaling class in Starbuck, drawn to the Norwegian folk art featuring floral designs and patterns.

"There aren't a lot of people that do this because to learn, you really need to have somebody show you how to get started," said Carlson, whose rosemaling projects are on display through Monday, Oct. 9, at the Alexandria Senior Center.

Alexandrians will get their chance to learn from an expert rosemaling instructor. Clarice Dieter, who teaches rosemaling at the Milan Village Arts School in Chippewa County, will lead two events at the senior center. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, she will critique submissions from an Iowa rosemaling competition alongside members of the Terrace Rosemalers Association. Anyone interested in rosemaling is welcome.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8, Dieter will teach a class on rosemaling for beginners. Students will learn basic strokes to complete an 8-inch plate and possibly Christmas ornaments.

"Clarice is very good and we will be very lucky to have her," Carlson said. "If they have an interest in rosemaling, I hope they will think about signing up for her class. It's a great way to learn something new. The people in it are marvelous."

Students will be able to view Carlson's work to see a sampling of different rosemaling styles. Carlson's favorite is the Telemark style, which is more flowing and less geometric. Her work also includes the Rogaland style, which is more symmetrical.

The Norwegian floral design folk art known as rosemaling can be seen on trunks, platters, bowls and furniture and just about any wooden surface that will show off the art.

"In Norway, they have many different styles depending on their geographical location," she said. "They think the reason it began was for a desire to have some decoration in their home or buildings and that was satisfied by painters that they think came from Holland or Germany to Norway because the economy was so poor."

The senior center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Carlson's display is in a case that for the past two years has been dedicated as a "Show and Tell" corner featuring, among other things, hand-made dolls, artwork, John Deere toy tractors. The display changes regularly.