Fall Is Here

Catalog Cover

First pages

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.

Inside pages

Inside pages

Inside pages

Inside pages

Catalog cover

Catalog cover

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Doll News

Violin with bow and accordion for pre war souvenir dolls

Violin with bow and accordion for pre war souvenir dolls

These last few days I have been sorting out and tidying up and among the many doll items I have were some small doll accessories that belong with the small souvenir dolls. Originally they were made by my father Hans Kunze in 1936 for the prewar souvenir dolls and since I have a few that I do not need I decided I could bear to part with them,

On Saturday, September 12, 2015 on Ebay, there will be a listing for two of these miniature instruments.  If you are interested check it out. I can see the photo here.

Østerdal and Fana boys 18cm

Østerdal and Fana boys 18cm

I hope you fall is going well.  I have heard a lot about the United Federation of Doll Clubs convention in Kansas City in July this year from one of my dear collector friends. Next year it will be held in my home town, Washington DC and maybe I will be persuaded to participate. Keep your eyes pealed. I can report that the book Ronnaug Petterssen – The Artist and Her Dolls continue to sell well. You can access the appropriate Amazon page by clicking on the book image. It is gratifying to see all the places in the world where there are people interested in my mother’s dolls. Lately there is a collector in Pretoria, South Africa who has checked us out. I wish you welcome to my world of Ronnaug Petterssen Dolls. meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widget

 

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Valentine’s Day

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.

IMG_3542 contrasted and highlightedOn 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.

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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.comimg028 UFDC scan 2

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Winter Is Here

Anne skiing 1 3540Winter has arrived for real in  the  northern hemisphere. It’s time to  bring out the woolens or fleece; long underwear, warm scarfs, mittens and hats.  Here in the US snowy cold came with a vengeance this week. I have learned that it is good to keep warm clothes on hand, so one can dig them out when the need arises, which may not be every year where i live. It is a terrible to feel really cold. So this is what little Anne has done, dug out her warm clothes, because she has decided to go skiing as soon as she can get her skis prepared. Maybe even tonight, since the trails where she lives are lit. Wooden cross country skis need to be re-waxed each year, a laborious effort, but well worth it. Old wax or smøring or klister as it is called in Norway, may just be the wrong kind for the weather that day and Anne has a pair of wooden skis. It can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. Modern skis are not as tricky, often they don’t need waxing at all.

Sking near Svolvær early 1920s

Rønnaug and Wally preparing their skis in the mountains near Svolvær early 1920s

When I was young it was a job done perhaps after Thanksgiving so one was ready as soon as enough snow fell. Then we’d be out on the trails on the weekends and also evening because Oslo has many trails that are lit so people can go and ski after work. Rønnaug Petterssen also skied a great deal. The last time she was on cross country skis was when she was 74 and visiting Svolvær, where she had lived in her youth and by 1975 was renting a cabin.

Sking with a friend in Kongsmarka outside Svolvær

Petterssen (l) king with a friend in Kongsmarka outside Svolvær

She like most Norwegians had skied since she was a child and her father had been an eager competitor in ski jumping.

My grandfather, Hildor Petterssen

My grandfather, Hildor Petterssen

For most Norwegians skiing is in the blood. I remember attending a skiing nursery school just outside Oslo when I was very young. After I moved to the US there were a few times when we had big snows and using skis were the only way to get to the grocery store when we needed more milk and bread.

Bodil waxing skis for Easter skiing in the mountains

The author waxing her skis for Easter skiing in the mountains

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Happy New Year

angels ok 2014What a year it has been, with ups and downs as it is for most of us. On the upside, I was finally able to get the book about Rønnaug Petterssen, my mother, published, a project that took just about eight years to complete. But in the end the wait was almost providential, looking back over the project. If the book had been published any earlier, there would have been photographs of dolls i do not own myself or have easy access to that would not have been included, which would have made the book less complete. Because of this I have met so many wonderful and gracious collectors who  were happy to photograph the dolls they owned. Without them it would not have been quite the same. I thank you all.

meleney_artist&herDolls_72dpiAfter the book was published at the end of July, I have tried to work steadfastly on the marketing, a sometimes tedious, but very necessary part of book publishing today. From this new ideas have sown their seeds and are perhaps ready to germinate. The marketing also revealed that the interest in dolls and specifically Rønnaug Petterssen dolls exists almost all over the world. It has been exciting to see where in the world people live who have found the website. This excitement is shared by Rønnaug Petterssen’s grandchildren: Eric and Karen. The book was included in the libraries of three museums; The Norwegian Folk Museum, the Emigrant Museum and Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum. They all seemed interested in offering the book for sale at their museum shops. But to date none of them have, much to the chagrin of an American group of art lovers who went to Oslo and visited the Folk Museum, ready to buy copies. The leader of the group is a former museum director himself and he had promised. What a shame it is. So if anyone of you have the inclination and perhaps connection, do nudge these three museum.

snowman 3538And now as 1914 turns over a new leaf and becomes 2015, I will start more seriously with the new project I have in mind, some of which may include the dolls. I will keep you appraised as ideas mature into reality. In the meantime, I wish you all a most healthy and happy New Year. images

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Almost Counting The Hours

Angel face_2578The 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 angels at home12 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.

images 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. images (1)

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.

6 Lux adBecause 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.

angels ok 2014All the best to you and your loved ones for the season.

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Happy Holidays – God Jul – Enjoy The Season

Prototype for small felt nisse, ca 1940

Prototype for small felt nisse, ca 1940

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..

Flying Angel

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.

Santas own family

Santa’s own family


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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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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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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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