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Rosemaling: A Timeless Norwegian Folk Art Tradition

Rosemaling: A Timeless Norwegian Folk Art Tradition

Rosemaling, an intricate art form that thrived in Norway from the 1700s to the mid-1800s, is a beautiful expression of decorative painting. Churches were adorned with these intricate designs on walls, ceilings, and doorways.

In Sweden, a similar art form known as dalmålning emerged, often seen on the iconic Dala horses. Swedish rosemaling features ribbons and stylized, more figurative flowers.


The popularity of rosemaling extended to Norwegian homes, where common objects like bowls, plates, furniture, and trunks were painted with these designs. Different regions in Norway developed unique styles like Telemark, Hallingdal, and Rogaland, each characterized by distinct floral motifs and patterns.

During the Nazi occupation of Norway, displaying the Norwegian flag and Coat of Arms was forbidden. Norwegians cleverly integrated symbols like "H" and "7" (representing exiled King Haakon VII) into rosemaling designs, fooling the Nazis and turning these designs into covert expressions of national pride.

Norwegian immigrants carried rosemaling to the United States, using it not just for decoration but as a way to preserve their culture and identity. The art experienced a resurgence in the 20th century, with classes and workshops attracting enthusiasts across the country, especially in areas with large Scandinavian populations.


Our grandmother, Lillian Bjelland, embraced rosemaling in her later years, leaving us with cherished pieces that reflect our heritage and her skill. These artworks are treasured reminders of our family history and the enduring legacy of "Gram."

If you're curious about rosemaling, you can find classes and resources across the United States and online. Whether you're a beginner or DIY enthusiast, there are stencils, books, and communities waiting to welcome you into the world of rosemaling. Share your rosemaling adventures in the comments below!

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