Norway has a rich tradition of arts and cultural. Here is a brief overview of some of the quintessential Norwegian arts.rosemaling1

Rosemåling

Rosemåling in Norway originated in the low-land areas of eastern Norway particularly in the Telemark and Hallingdal, but also in Numedal and Setesdal and in other valleys in Vest-Agder, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Rogaland. It came into existence around 1750, when Baroque and Rococo, artistic styles of the upper class, were introduced into Norway’s rural culture.

Rosemåling designs use C and S strokes and feature scroll and flowing lines, floral designs, and both subtle and vibrant colors. Script lettering, scenes, animal and human figures may also be included. Artists who specialized in rosemåling often came from poorer classes in the countryside. They would travel from county to county painting churches, homes and furnishings for a commission of either money or merely room and board.

One of the anecdotes told about the Nazi occupation of Norway (1940–1945) is that at a time when the public display of the Norwegian flag or the State Coat of Arms could bring imprisonment or even death, the Norwegians discovered that they could display the ‘H’ overlapping the ‘7’ of the royal cypher of their exiled king, Haakon VII, at the center of a rosemåling design without the German occupation forces seeing anything but a colorful peasant design. Christmas cards with the royal cypher at the center of a rosemåling design were especially popular and many have survived and their history documented.

Knitting

There are a number of icon knitted patterns that originate in Norway. The most popular of which is “Lusekofta”, the “lice” pattern sweater from Setesdal in Norway, features one of the world’s most knitted and varied sweater motifs. Setesdal Sweaters is the result of Annemor Sundbø’s research into the magic of the “Setesdalskofte.” In this colourful book, you’ll find old photographs as well as quotations from historsetesdal-sweater-dale-of-norwayical newspaper articles and descriptions from many people — an exciting cultural history incorporating faith, superstition, politics, and technical invention.

This story of the lice-patterned sweater from Setesdal, combined with the earliest patterns for these famous sweaters, will give inspiration and ideas for creating a sweater the Setesdal way – from knitting the patterns to working the unique decorative embroidery that surrounds the collar and cuffs.The story begins with a tiny louse which has left indelible traces behind it. The “louse” is the smallest element in patterned knitting. It was captured and used in an undershirt in Setesdal one day around the middle of the 1800`s and was later so prolifically used that it has more descendants than any other pattern in knitting history. This is the story of the lice patterned sweater from Setesdal.

Setesdal is north of Kristiansand, a long valley that follows the river Otra to Byglandsfiord, past a long inland lake, and continues along the river between narrow mountain passes and high ridges. The valley is renowned for having maintained old- fashioned costumes and traditions longer than any other area in Norway.The history, combined with the earliest patterns for these famous sweaters, will give inspiration and ideas creating a sweater the Setesdal way, from knitting the patterns to working the unique decorative embroidery that surrounds the collar and cuffs.