About Ronnaug

I am the daughter of Rønnaug Petterssen. I am also an artist as well as a practitioner of Chinese Herbal Medicine

Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia by Carl Larsson

Santa Lucia by Carl Larsson

Santa Lucia is taken very seriously in Sweden. I learned about it from Swedish friends when I was in my mid teens. At that time not many people in Norway celebrated the day like they are today.  Back then I was working at a home decor store in downtown Oslo called Vakre Hjem. I worked there during the Christmas holiday and summer vacations. The wife who was Swedish was an interior designer and her Norwegian husband an architect and they sold some of the most beautiful handwoven fabrics, table ware and decor items you could imagine, coming from all over Scandinavia. It was here I bought one of the first Marimekko dresses that came for sale in Oslo.

On the first Saturday in early December we would gather  as soon as the doors closed to customers at 2 pm and would heave to and decorate the store with beautiful and enticing displays. These displays included special Christmas items and also my mother’s Christmas nisse (santa) and angels together with what was normally available. My job was to decorate the three tiny windows. elves at work 2014

On Saturday evening late as we were finishing the work, someone would run out to the allnight street kitchen to buy “lapskaus“, a hearty stew, with meat, vegetables and potatoes. Some beer and a bottle of aquavit was already cooling. Others set a long table using the beautiful tableware from the store and when all was ready we sat down to a late night dinner (maybe 11 pm) and a glass.  I just loved the years I worked there for these wonderful people and have many fond memories.

Norwegian Julenisse

Norwegian Julenisse

The couple also celebrated Santa Lucia and on the 13th of December, whichever day of the week it fell on we were all invited to a 6 am breakfast of mulled wine and saffron buns, (lussekatter). It was by then very cold outside. Today Santa Lucia celebration is much more broadly recognized. Of course by now the nisse and his helpers are also all busy at work getting ready for Christmas eve. Santa starts in Europe in the evening where he comes knocking on the doors of all the little boys and girls and then flies over the rest  of the world with this sleigh and reindeer.

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Holidays Approaching

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetWhile I am working on a more Christmasy photo tableaux of dolls for you I wanted to remind you not to forget the doll lover or lover of Norwegian culture with a  little gift. Amazon will even gift wrap it for you and mail it anywhere in the world your friends may live, all at the click of a button.

Christmas on Karl Johan

Christmas on Karl Johan

I for one always miss Norway at Christmas, whether it be in Oslo, in Bergen, or Røros or somewhere else in the deep snowy forest.

imagesIt may be cold, but it is easy to dress for that. Going for a walk, watching the steam rising from your breath into the crisp air, is a joy.

Frognerseteren in winter

Frognerseteren in winter

Then come inside again, to a nice fire in the fireplace and something hot, be it, coffe, cocoa or some mulled wine (gløgg) maybe at Frognerseteren.

Here in Washington we generally have to dream about a proper winter, have it dance in our heads like sugar plums. But tonight we have our annual Christmas dinner of the Norwegian Ladies Club, something we all look forward to here. All the traditional foods and drinks will be served in a festive setting, with speeches, songs and warm togetherness.

 

Salted and cured meats

Salted and cured meats

If you don’t know Norwegian Christmas foods, I hope you will have a chance to taste it at some point: the pickled  herring, the cured meats, the breads, the ribbe, pinnekjøtt, the special Christmas beers and akevitt, the cakes and the fragrant cookies and not to forget kransekake and multekrem (cloudberries in whipped cream).

Just delicious and please do not forget to set out a bowl of rømmegrøt and a tankard  of beer for the nisse, so he will behave and keep your home and animals safe for the next year. He is a good friend to the King of the Forest, the Norwegian moose.

A nisse and the King of the Forest, the moose

A nisse and the King of the Forest, the moose

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Little Anne’s Thanksgiving In The Country

Little Anne in the Blue Ridge

Little Anne in the Blue Ridge

Little Anne had been invited to visit her friends Kristin and Anders at their hillside farm for Thanksgiving. The farm was called Vining and lay in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains . To get there little Anne had to drive several hours. Kristin and Anders were from Norway, Kristin from a region called Heddal in East Telemark and Andres from the neighboring region called Setesdal.  They had met a couple of years earlier at a big wedding, had gotten married and then decided to emigrate to the US. They chose the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the place they wanted to live because it looked similar to the area they had come from in the old country. Another young couple who also came from Setesdal, who they had known from back home lived in the next valley over. Little Anne came from Norway as well, but she lived in the  big city called Washington, DC and she looked forward to every opportunity she got to spend time with her friends.

When little Anne arrived at the end of Matties Run, near Stannardsville, the road Kristin and Anders lived on she was met by Anders. He had come with the horse and carriage to take her the last stretch of the bumpy dirt road. Anders putting horse away_3421The farm lay far into the back country, over a tall hill and deep down in the next valley, nestled at the bottom of the steep hill, in lea of  of a crop of trees. It was a beautiful sight from the top of the hill.  Anders fetching the horse_3417

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Anders put the carriage in the shed, and took the horse to the pasture, little Anne walked slowly down to the farm. As she came around the corner of the big barn, she saw Kristin coming out of the byre where they kept their milking cows. Kristin milking3427Together the two good friends walked to the house where they met up with Anders.Then Kristin and Anders wished little Anne welcome to their cozy farmhouse where good food and good conversation awaited. Anne saying hello3405

Little Anne had brought warm clothes with her, because it could get very cold up there. Over the next few days, she helped with chores on the farm; in the house and the barns. But there was also time for long walks among the hills. It was a grand visit, but finally it was time to say goodbye. Anne comes down hill_3415

 

To buy the book Rønnaug Petterssen – The Artist and Her Dolls Click on the image  internationally go to Amazon.com and fin the Amazon location closest to you.meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widget

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Happy Thanksgiving To Everyone

Anne 39cm_3380Little Anne is going to visit friends in the mountains for Thanksgiving. It is snowing where she lives, and she knows it will be cold up there. But Anne is well prepared. She has taken her woolens; ski pants, jacket, a warm scarf , mittens, hat and warm boots out of storage where they have been since last winter.and aired them well.

Anne’s visit is to Kristin and Anders who live way up on a farm on a hillside in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is looking forward to cozy meals by the fireside and brisk hikes on the trails and a chance to spend time with her friends.

The jacket was originally created in the late 1930s and when the play doll production was shelved it along with other things became clothing for my dolls. Anne is one of those dolls. The trousers, hat, scarf and mittens was created in the manner of styles of the era and from original felt and yarns. See photograph from ca 1939 below.

skiing dollsThe happiest of Thanksgivings to all.

Check the ad out in the Antique Doll Collector for the month of December.

To buy the book, click the image below

Little girl from Finmark

Ronnaug Petterssen the artist and her dolls

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And What A Party It Was

Bodil with Tom  Knowles author at Green Kids Press

Bodil with Tom Noll author at Green Kids Press

Saturday’s book party at Trohv was such a blast. Some 20 authors arrived at 1pm expectantly with their books ready to set up. Trohv had made the space inviting with individual stations for each author and at the back tables were set up for a bar and for the food which steadily arrived throughout the afternoon. Great music was playing in the background adding to the party atmosphere.  A number of restaurants; Middle Eastern Market, Marks Kitchen, La Mano, Takoma Bistro, Republic, Evolve vegan and Capital Cheese Cake had all donated delicious nibbles.  Morris Miller and S&S Liquor had donated wine. Other businesses like Ace Hardware and Community Printing, OTBA (Old Takoma Business Association) had supported the event in other ways.  In other words a thoroughly Takoma Park event.  Our motto here in Takoma Park is “Think Globally, Shop Locally”.

Alberto Ucles my publisher and Tom Knolls

Alberto Ucles my publisher and Tom Noll

After quickly setting up I took the rounds to say hello to as many of the other authors I could and met some very interesting people and in the end bought a couple of books I really look forward to reading. My delightful table mate was Merrill Leffler poet and author of “Mark the Music” as well as a number of other books.Then the doors opened and people began showing up. A few in the beginning then more and by 3pm we had a good crowd. The conversation became noticeably louder, there was laughter and we had a proper party atmosphere. Quite a number of my friends came and it is so nice to know people care enough to come and show support.  Several of them bought books.

Merrill Leffler author of "Mark the Music"

Merrill Leffler author of “Mark the Music”

Patricia Weil author of "Circle of Earth"

Patricia Weil author of “Circle of Earth”

A few  new friends, who I had not known before bought copies as well. In all I was very pleased with the whole event. My publishers, Alberto Ucles and Tom Knoll of Green Kids Press, also came and brought me a beautiful bottle of Champagne. How lucky am I. Another old and dear friend, Steve Krensky, co owner of the Light Street Gallery also came. He has been a longtime collector of my art work (starting in 1992) and I was so pleased to see him. Steve and his wife Linda’s gallery has somewhat recently relocated from Baltimore to Rockville. Check it out.

My dear friend Deborah to the left and  Andrea Schewe designer left

Phillip Schewe author of “Maverick Genius” journalist and a Takoma Park writer left who I unfortunately couldn’t hear the name of over the din of happy voices.

 

The doors eventually closed and a few of us, new and old friends, repaired to Republic where we continued the celebration over drinks and dinner. What a perfect day.

Andrea Schewe designer left and my dear friend Deborah right

Andrea Schewe designer left and my dear friend Deborah right

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The Takoma Park Book Fair Is Here

The Halling girl a cousin received

The Halling girl ca 1939

It is getting rather exciting. This Saturday from 2-5 pm is the 5th annual Takoma Park Author’s Book Sale and Signing, to be held at Trohv, a home goods store located on Carroll Avenue in Takoma  Park. About 20 authors will be there and the offering of books span a range of types of books from poetry to thrillers and biographies, to living and collectors items. Come browse, see, be seen. Come and  meet old friends and make new friends and taste and sip some refreshments provided by a few of the restaurants here. I look forward to meeting you all.

A big stack of books arrived today, I have my Square, I’m ready.

Update. The following restaurants and eateries are graciously providing snacks and nibbles among them; La Mano, Republic, Marks Kitchen, Capital City Cheese Cake, Middle Eastern Cuisine. I hope you will join us

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The Wonderful Serendipity Of Things

Ready for colder weather

Ready for colder weather

I am continuously amazed at how kind people really are. All through the gathering of information for the book from the beginning right up till the book went to press, people miraculously popped up seemingly out of nowhere, people who I had never met, but who had been collecting my mother’s dolls and had information to share. Just collating the information I already had myself was an enormous task, but trying to gather additional sources from scratch was really daunting. But as is often the case, just asking the question out loud is a good place to start. If one can also frame that question properly, especially when one deals with the internet, it can yield spectacular results.  Many of these same wonderful people are now helping me spread the word about the book and the book signing party on November 15th and I am again so grateful. If you want to read what they have said about the book check it out here.

Heddal girl ca 1950, restored

Heddal girl ca 1950,  warmely dressed

I have to confess I have been playing with my dolls lately. I don’t often do that, even though I have a cabinet full of them.  I realized I wanted to change the photo in the banner of the blog site and thought I would use slightly different dolls for it. With winter approaching and the doll I wanted to use not being dressed warmly enough I decided I needed to make a hat to go with the coat I already had, a coat my mother had made for one of my dolls when I was a very little girl. The fabric I chose is the same vintage as what was used in the coat, part of the leftover materials that I took with me after my mother died. Good quality fabrics don’ fall apart. As a child my mother made all kinds of clothing for my dolls to go with any season of the year, but most of these are long gone now, only the coat and a woolen jacket is left. One doesn’t have to worry nearly as much about cold weather when one wears a Norwegian national costume. Made of good heavy wool they are often more than warm enough with a cape or a jacket to keep one warm.

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetIf you are interested in checking the book out click on the book cover.

Here is what one buyer said: “Finally there is a book about the great Norwegian doll artist. An interesting story told by her daughter.I especially liked all the photos of the artist’s work” A.H., Norway

If you would like a signed copy, go to the contact page and send me an email with a request.

 

 

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Happy Halloween, Next The Book Signing Party

funny-carved-pumpkin-facesHalloween  is a relatively recent addition to celebrations in Norway. According to sources this day of dressing up in costumes and carving pumpkins was relatively unknown in Norway ten years ago. Actually pumpkins are hard to come by, but one can carve large turnips and gourds in a pinch. Today it has many celebrants and it is a big business for whose who provide the goods needed to dress up and have a party. In my day many Celebrated All Saints Day, but it was a day when people might go and visit the graves of loved ones to light candles for them. It is a far more serious day than Halloween.

Julebukk , by John Bauer

Julebukk , by John Bauer

What we did have that was great fun and a little reminiscent of Halloween was going “Julebukk“. It is a festivity celebrated during “RomJulen” between Christmas and New Year and children would go to a few houses, knock on their doors and then get a present, a cookie or a piece of candy. It was strictly confined to one’s immediate neighborhood. As children we looked greatly forward to it.

Now on to another great event coming up on November 15. A wonderful home goods store, Trohv, in Takoma Park has offered to host this year’s Takoma Park Book Festival. It is an opportunity to meet and chat with the authors, have books signed and perhaps get a head start on the gift giving. It will be held between 2 and 5 pm, so come and help us celebrate and meet old friends and perhaps new ones as well and have something to nosh on, provided by Takoma Park restaurants.  Follow Takoma Park Book Fair on FaceBook for more information on the books and he authors where .

The witch  in the woods

The witch in the woods

you will find all the books that will be presented and read a little more about the authors. I will of course be there with a smile, my pen sharpened and  a stack of books. Further information can also be had at Mainstreet Takoma. I hope to see you there. Please feel free to spread the word to anyone you think would be interested.

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetIf you were planning to get my book, but haven’t done so yet, click on the image. If you wanted it signed, contact me and I can send you one directly, inscribed with whatever you might wish.

 

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Identifying The Dolls Correctly

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetClick the image to buy the book from Amazon.com

I was looking at the stats today to see where people live who have checked out this website. Lately a visitor checked us out from Novo Sibirsk and just yesterday I sent off a book to Alberta Canada. In all people in 15 countries have visited this website and that gets me excited for sure. Thank you all for the interest you have shown. There have been visitors also from India, Thailand, Philippines and Japan and of course Australia and Brazil. It just warms my heart.

Girl from Kautokeino, ca 1965 45cm

Girl from Kautokeino, ca 1965 45cm

It has been interesting to see what is offered for sale of dolls, the condition they are presented in, if the costumes are correctly identified, etc. etc. It does not matter so much which site they are offered on. This is one of the reasons I finally wrote and published the book. I can easily understand why costumed dolls are misidentified. It isn’t easy to keep so many different costumes appart, if one is not Norwegian. I have to use reference material if I look at the costumes from Poland, Sweden, Hungary, Greece, for sure. Also my mother Rønnaug Petterssen began making dolls during a time when the regional costumes were more standardized. By that I mean everyone from a specific distict wore exactly the same design. In the last couple of decades, it has become more common to go back to the earlier way of doing it, with often some variations within that region.

Sami girl ca 1936, 15cm Courtesy Sandy Smith

Sami girl ca 1936, 15cm Courtesy Sandy Smith

Something that should not vary is that a doll  should be presented with whichever costume parts it was obtained with and the costume parts should be correctly put on. If one uses the book as a reference it should be fairly easy to see how each of the costumes are to be presented. A doll should not be sold with costume peaces obviously made from newer materials without being  so marked, nor should a doll be offered for sale with costume pieces that do not belong to that doll or that costume.

An interesting question came up with a small pre-war Sami doll recently.  Did it depict a boy or a girl. Usually a girl wears caps  and boys wear hats that sit more on top of the head. But in the Lule and southern Sami  costumes for example the men and women wear same type hats.

Sami boy ca 1936-37, 17.5 cm

Sami boy ca 1936-37, 17.5 cm

Just about all the men’s costumes have shorter skirts (the part that is below the belt) on their Kofte (costume). The women wear much longer skirts. The dolls depicting girls also have longer hair than the boys. I understand that all this may seem confusing, and certainly it helps having a reference guide like the 3 volumes of Norwegian Costumes, by Bjørn Sverre Hol Haugen which was published in 2006.

 

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Book Signing Party

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetTo Buy the book click on the image.

I just got the word today that I and my book will be part of the Takoma Park Annual Book Fair which will take place for  the sixth year on November 15 from 2 -5 PM, at Trohve, a home good and gifts store in Takoma Park. Light refreshments will be served. Trohve does a lot of community events and we are lucky to have such a nice and accommodating venue to be in. The store is located on Carroll Avenue one block north/east of the Metro station. More details to come soon.  But mark your calendars, I would so love to see you there.  Besides there are many great restaurants to have you dinner if you stay late. Do come and check Takoma Park out if you haven’t been here before or in a while.

Samisk barn

Sami girl courtesy Sandy Smith

I also received word today that a Norwegian antique doll fair took place last weekend at the Viking Ship House a historic cultural art museum in Oslo, not far from the Norwegian Folk Museum. The attendance was great, the selection of dolls wonderful and the book was a great hit. Some of the collectors there who had bought the book were using it as a guide to find new treasures. It will please me greatly if it will increase peoples understanding of what they own, what they may buy and what they  may sell. I hear the same from collectors who have attended doll fairs here in the US as well.

Then there is the issue of those outfits who offer author’s books recently released in the same internet stores as the author, in direct competition with the author. I understand reselling such book, in this case at a doll or antique fair, but on Ebay and Amazon I don’t understand. Goes against my sense of fair play.  Just having my say and all. But I guess this too is a form of flattery.

Next week I will talk a little more about identifying, especially the early souvenir dolls.

As one collector told me: “Your book really helped me see the doll in clearer detail…such as face fabric, painting and stitching of features.Th  wedding couple I own have the stitches (for the facial features) but I never noticed them before.”

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