How I Became Interested In Rosemaling

By Patti Jo Meshnik
 

I
  began my love of Rosemaling in June of 1980. My mother, who is 100 percent Norwegian, had learned about a class being taught in her home town. She called and asked if I would join her and that is how it began. The style we were introduced to was Rogaland, taught by a student of Vi Thode. Coincidently, when we looked up the area where that style originated from, we were pleased to learn that it was the same region as my Grandparents had emigrated from! This added to my interest and I found myself continuing to paint throughout the year, especially during the long Montana winter nights, much like the originators of this folk art.

Patti with a Rosmaled bowl
 

O
  ver the next years I was able to attend other classes taught by Gary Albrecht and Karen Jensen, both accomplished painters. Karen had only recently been awarded the gold medal at Vesterheim and I was very taken with the Telemark style she taught. I was able to continue painting after the birth of our first child, but when twins arrived, and then a fourth child followed, the brushes were shelved.

N
  ow fast forward to 2006 when all but one of the kids was off to college and I was able to return to Rosemaling. I was so pleased that my hands remembered the strokes allowing the projects to begin anew. I continued studying from my books and found success, but I know my work improved greatly when I was able to take Telemark classes from Bjorg Oseid Kleivi. I was fortunate enough to be her classe both 2008 and 2009.

 

I
  continue to paint and often wish I could have shown my Norwegian Grandparents my accomplishments. I attend Scandinavian fairs and art shows with my work and though my painting is appreciated, my favorite thing in the display is the photo of my Grandma Rolfsness in her bunad, taken in Norway before she emigrated in 1904.

Grandmother Painting Picture
 
Grandmother Painting Picture

In this photo I am making lefse with my Norwegian Grandma, Ragnahild Rolfsness, 1959. Who could have guessed that as an adult I would keep my heritage alive by embracing Rosemaling!