Diane Edwards Nordic Arts — About Diane Edwards — 3208 Snowbrush Place, Ft. Collins, CO 80521 ~ 970-229-9846
Diane Edwards

In 1970 my cousin, Lynn Peterson and I traveled to Norway to discover our "roots". We were thrilled to meet our Peterson relatives and explore the old town of Vik i Sogn from which our paternal grandfather had immigrated. From my first view of Norway, even from the plane, I was "hooked" on all things Norwegian. We had been born and raised in a new land, with little previous history that we knew of - now suddenly, we were surrounded by thousands of years of history. Churches that were built in 800 a.d. were almost beyond our comprehension. Painted interiors created by someone in the year 1600 were mind boggling. One could study old work, see it, touch it and breathe in the air of the old wooden houses, cabins and stabburs. Norwegian wood has its own peculiar bouquet - a mixture of pitch, pine, and hundreds of years of history.

My earliest memories of my grandfather, Halvor Peterson were of sitting in his shop watching him work with wood and the smell of sawdust and paint as he created beautiful wooded pieces. It's not too surprising then that I went on to major in art and teach it for many years. It wasn't until 1974, however, that I began to think of rosemaling as something I could do myself.

My actual participation in rosemaling classes came after two years of hard work painting all the small selection of patterns that were available at the time and an almost complete memorization of Sigmund Årseth and Margaret Miller's book, "Norwegian Rosemaling".

My first classes were with Jackie Klokseth, a wonderful friend and teacher who had one of the first Rosemaling shops in Fargo, North Dakota. Jackie was constantly encouraging and was also totally fascinated herself with Norwegian art. Her untimely death in 1980 was a profound loss to rosemaling, her friends and family. One of her greatest assets as a teacher was to keep us on track of what was traditional and what was just another fad.

Particularly beneficial to the development of my work creatively has been my study with Sigmund Årseth. One of the premier Norwegian rosemalers, his work has always been significantly on the edge of change. Because Sigmund is also an impressionist landscape painter and a decorator of interiors, he has a great sense of the use of rosemaling as a decorative art in the context of Norwegian life. Because of his love of the old and interest in the new, he has been an inspiration to hundreds of American rosemalers.

American rosemalers are also greatly indebted to Dr. Marion Nelson and the Norwegian-American Museum Vesterheim, in Decorah, Iowa. Dr. Nelson brought over Norwegian rosemalers for us to study with and has encouraged Americans to keep within the tradition. Vesterheim sponsors the National Rosemaling Exhibition and the Rosemalers Newsletter. The collection of the Museum and the Library are open to rosemalers for study. While the Museum has promoted traditional rosemaling, they have also encouraged the natural evolvement of a developing art form in American rosemaling. They recognize that no truly authentic are form can become stagnant and static and keep its vitality. Although there are fads and fashion trends and adaptations, the great strength of rosemaling is in its roots, which are based on design principles of all time. It is for this reason I have written my books - to hopefully explain and illustrate the roots of Telemark rosemaling, its basis on ornamental stylistic forms of European art, and its development in Norway during the 18 and 19th centuries.

I'm not sure what particular chord the Telemark style struck in my creative brain, but from the first moment I saw the graceful curve of the scrolls, the movement and rhythm of the designs and the fluid dance of the lines, I was totally enamored. To this day, nothing satisfies my eyes like the beauty of the well-executed Telemark design. Since my beginnings in rosemaling, I have struggled through countless weeks of study in all the various styles, but have always come back to Telemark. It fits my nature, and seems a part of who I am. I hope I can describe it to you so that you can feel its rhythm and hear its music play for you.

970-229-9846 ~ 3208 Snowbrush Place, Ft. Collins, CO 80521 ~ Contact Diane
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