I am happy to tell you that the little violin and accordion found a home in the US. I hope they bring great joy to the new owner. Among the things that were left after I helped my mother close her workshop were some new and unused catalogs. I have just a few minutes ago offered one of these catalogs on Ebay if you are interested in checking it out. This catalog is 24 pages and was produced by the Norwegian Folk Museum for the exhibit Ronnaug Petterssen’s costumed dolls and the traditions that surround them which opened at the museum in 1974 and became a permanent exhibit. The foreword for the exhibit and the organizer for it was Aagot Noss who at the time was head curator for the textile department. She of course also wrote the foreword to my book Ronnaug Petterssen – The Artist and Her Dolls which remains available on Amazon.
Winter continues its cold grip on the area where little Anne lives with snow on the ground. As a good Norwegian she dresses warmly from the inside out. She puts on her skis so she can go to visit her good friends nearby. The sun is high in the sky.
On the way who does she meet? She had already met the little snow people on her evening ski trip. They are shy and rarely come out, except to greet the big snowman. As little Anne skis on, a snow man,and two forest nisse also suddenly appears and she stops and greets them. She asks what is new in their part of the woods. As they are talking two little bear cubs appears tumbling around in a mock fight. They had gotten bored sitting in the cave waiting for their mother to wake up. Little Anne stops to look at them having so much fun. She continues on, when she hears a strange sound, a little sad lullaby coming from somewhere among the trees. There beside the trail among the trees she sees a little snow hare, looking so sad, singing to itself.
Other good news is that the review of my book Ronnaug Petterssen – The Artist And Her Dolls came out in the winter issue of the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) recently. I just received my copy her here is the review for you. The book is available through Amazon.com
The Christmas angels have been put on display. Their sweet little faces casting their eyes reverently down. Live candles casting a soft glow over them. These angels are as as synonymous with Christmasto me the litle nisse. As long as I can remember they went on display on top of our large radio, together wish small tulips and hyacinths that my mother had forced.. Out house was decorated usually right up under Christmas eve as is customary in Norway and the tree “unveiled” on Christmas eve, resplendent with live candles and the prerequisite bucket of water stationed close by. But then, the Christmas decoration did not come down till January 6th when the 12 Days of Christmas concluded and one could take down all the decorations and begin to greet the days which were becoming lighter and lighter with each passing day.
When my children wee young I, as had my mother just like so many mothers, both past and present, baked the 7 different variety of Christmas cookies. We had; fattigman, krumkaker, pikekyss, sandbakkels, Berliner kranser, hjortetakk, pepperkaker, goro, kokossmakroner, sirupsnipper, and other and please do not forget kransekake and pepperkakehus.
I don’t bake much these days, unless I spend the holiday with my grandchildren, but I have made a batch of Stewed rutabagas and Norwegian sourkraut, two favorites of mine with almost any dinner during the holidays. Also a bottle of Linie Aquavite, another staple to help the digestion of the fatty dishes that are served during this period.
Because Norwegians, as other Scandinavians celebrate Christmas over 12 days, one does not have to consume every one of all the calories allotted to these festivities, rather they can be spread out over many days and over many meals like lunch and dinner and coffee and a late night snack, leaving plenty of time to go out in the fresh air and walk, ski or ….. inbetween.
I want to wish you all the best for the holiday season. I hope you, your family and friends will be together no matter which celebration is customary to you. It is also a time to take a look at the year that is passing and I want to thank every one of you who have supported and encouraged me through the publishing of my book Rønnaug Petterssen – The Artis and Her Dolls and those who afterwards bought copy(ies) for themselves or to give as gifts. I want to thank Norwegian Folk Museum, The Migration Museum (both in Norway) and Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in IA, USA, as well as Antique Doll Collector Magazine and United Federation of Doll Clubs, both here in the US, by giving me wonderful feedback, writing reviews and being supportive of the book in other ways. We have had visitors to the website from: Norway, USA, Canada, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Brasil, Peru, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Russia, Germany, Austria, England, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands Denmark, Sweden and a couple of others who my stat counter will not let me see. They cut off information after a month or so.. I love the fact there are doll lovers in these countries who also love my mother’s dolls. An author’s ego is fragile as they say, I have kept track and have enjoyed reading all the feedback..
Since 2014 is nearly at an end and we are facing the beginning of a brand new, unused and hopefully exciting year. It is time to look ahead to new things, new projects and you may possibly be glad to know that I am working, still in my head, on several potential projects, some of which might have interest to you. I certainly will keep you informed as things come together. In the meantime, I again wish you all the best for the season and look forward to interacting with you in the coming year.
While 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.
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.
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.
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. The 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.
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. Together 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just to remind to the readers that these little background stories of how the book came to be written are not a rehash of the book about Rønnaug Petterssen and the dolls she created. If you want to read the whole background story the first entry started back on July 29, 2014.
The main reason for my traveling to Sortland was as told to participate in the Herring Festival which is held on the fishing dock in Sildpollen usually in the latter part of May each years. Each Festival has a topic or focus if you will and the one in 2011 was on emigration from Norway. Since I for all intents and purposes I had emigrated it was certainly appropriate. Still in past times of immigration from Norway to the US (between 1825 and 1925) large numbers of Norwegians left Norway, many from the area around Eidsfjorden, to seek better economic opportunities in America. This was also the case with our family. Of my maternal grandmother’s brothers and sisters, 5 out of 9 (one died in infancy) emigrated first to Minnesota then on to Seattle, Washington. There are now hundreds of descendants of the original 5 living in the US. They were the true emigrants. I merely left because I married an American.
My talk at the Festival went off without a hitch, I met so many interesting people and it was fun to experience how many came specifically to hear the story about my mother and the dolls. Exhibits of art by local artists are always part of the Festival, but this years Adrian Korsmo had also arranged to borrow dolls from the Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Ottestad in southern Norway. The Museum graciously lent a nice collection of large dolls and among them a Kautokeino boy with proper leather britches, a doll that Petterssen made only 3 or 4 of during the whole of her production. Some dolls at the exhibit had also been lent by two ladies who have doll museums, one in Lofoten, the other in Vesterålen .
Dagmar Gylset’s family owns a wonderful Rorbu by, fisherman’s village, in Reine, Lofoten Here she also operates a Doll Museum, and owns many wonderful Rønnaug Petterssen dolls. They also recently opened a restaurant. I can still taste sauteed Sei that we had for lunch in a dockside restaurant in Gjestehuset, Nyksund.
It was caught that morning, sprell levende (meaning it still practically flaps its tail) (there is nothing in the world as delicious in my mind). I had been to Reine some 40 years earlier, before the whole idea of Fishing village vacations had really taken hold. In 1972 my little family and I were spending some time in Svolvær with my mother in her Rorbu, located on Svinøya, Svolvær in Lofoten and the focus of this particular daylong excursion to Reine was to visit a wonderful master blacksmith who made the most enchanting small sculptures out of forged iron especially the northern loon. Another woman who lent dolls to the exhibit and who also came to my talk was Svanhild Reinholdtsen. She lives in Myre just north of Sortland. Svanhild owns and operates a very special doll museum, Dukkehuset i Myre south of Nyksund and she as well has a significant collection of my mother’s dolls. Both of these attractions are well worth the visit if you travel to Lofoten and Vesterålen, which you should.
But of course many other people came as well to hear about my mother. Many already knew about my uncle Sverre Petterssen, brother of Rønnaug Petterssen. He was the world renowned meteorologist and had been a significant contributor to the weather forecasting for the Allied Forces helping predict the most advantageous day to invade Normandy, a day when the weather would pose the least threat and would give them the greatest possibility of surprise and success. He had published a book in the early 1979 – Med Stiv Kuling fra Nord which was later translated in the US as, Weathering the Storm.
It was with great sadness I had to return home, from an area of the world I consider my true home, but not before promising to write an article for the Sortland Historic Society. This I eventually did and it was published in the spring of 2014.