Design Journals from Norway
guest post by Rose Hittmeyer
Thanks to IFDA NY's chapter administrator, Rose Hittmeyer for this lovely story about her travels to Norway.
Please note Rose's bio below.
I have a confession to make. I am a Rosemaler! I can hear you saying "what on earth is Rosemaling?" It is traditional Norwegian Folk “Rose” Painting. You will see it on cabinets, chairs, ceilings, walls, and on serving pieces, mostly “ale bowls”. I recently traveled to Norway to research the history of Rosemaling with the Vesterheim Norwegian America Museum out of Decorah Iowa. I want the share the wonders of Norway and their long tradition of beautiful color and design sense.
There are many different styles of Rosemaling. The details in the styles overlap a bit because the artists who painted in each region traveled from community to community painting whatever the “clients” wanted or could afford. The Rosemalers were also inspired by each other.
This Orange chamber is the main living space in a building on the Prestmoen Farm in Tuftin Fjellgard. It was painted by Tore Kravik in the 17th Century in the Numerdal style. Orange is a signature color in this style. It borrows scrolls as a design anchor from the Telemark style and incorporates flowers similar to the Valdres style. This room would have been the family’s living, eating and sleeping space. Carvings at the corner of the bed mirror the scrolls in the Rose Painting. Beams in the room as well as all the panels on the door and ALL furniture have been decorated!
Iconic Rosemaler Sigmund Aarseths’ whimsical Kitchen at his home in Ron-Heggenes. This work is very personal and marries several Rosemaling styles as well as contemporary scenes.
Aarseth is admired for his beautiful Norwegian landscape oils as well as traditional Rosemaling where he works in several styles. The navy trunk at left is in the Rogaland style, and the cream door panel is in Telmark style. He is most admired for his contemporary twist on Rosemaling, shown at the right in medium blue ground painting. I believe I see some of Picassos influence in this work.
The Church in Lesja shows off the Gudbrandsdal Style. Every inch of the church is painted in this monochromatic Blue and white style. The style is influenced by acanthus carving which you will see in the intricate details in the gilded Altar carving. Its graceful scroll details will remind you of feathers or folded over leaves. Often accented with red tulip flowers. It is one of my favorite styles to paint!
Acanthus and Dragon Carving create a harmonious dance with Rosemaling. The two are often combined in a room, either on furniture or in separate functional items. I visited Rolf Taraldset’s Carving Studio and saw the beautiful portal he was carving to replace a medieval door. He was working from an image of the original portal which will be moved to a museum to protect it from the elements.
The BR. Bjorndalseater Carving studio, for three generations, has specialized in acanthus carving but has recently had a dramatic increase in requests for Dragon carving. (especially for headboards!) This style incorporates the dragon figures and will remind you of Celtic carvings as the seafaring adventurers have influenced each other over the centuries. I credit the influence of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings for the revived interest in this style.
left to right styles, Os ( one of the newest styles began mid 18th Century) , A Gudbrandsdal Tray, and a Valdres Plate.
These are a few of the pieces I painted before my Norway visit. Stay tuned for the Rosemaling to come with my Norwegian inspiration!
Rosemarie Hittmeyer started her career as a fashion designer for Ladies evening wear. When her fashion business closed she jumped the fence into Home Fashions. She has been working as a home products freelance designer and marketing consultant and has spent much of her time on IFDA activities as our NY Chapter Administrator.
With the support of an IFDA/EF grant and an EF scholarship, she returned to her Alma Mata, The Fashion Institute of Technology and earned an AAS degree with honors in interior design. Her favorite projects at school were the retail store and the restaurant. She hopes to work for an Interior Design firm that specializes in hospitality, but says residential would be fun too as it expresses her great love of pillows.
An IFDA member since 2004, she has been the VP of Membership and Special Events where she has been the chair of the Rising Stars of Interior Design Event since its inception and continues to sit on several committees such as the Special Events and Circle of Excellence Committees.
Outside of the home furnishings arena she is an avid artist. Her landscape paintings have crept into her ceramic work where she brings the love of the flowers and the outside on to the table. She’s been a Rosemaler since 1999 and is ready to get to work with all the Norwegian inspiration she gathered on her trip to Norway to study Rosemaling and carving. She has to paint the 20 pieces of turned wood ale bowls she brought back in her suitcase.