Reading Life’s Lessons without Literacy
Norway’s decorative arts heritage employs symbols from the riches of ancient civilizations, Greek, Roman, and Viking. Tina Keune, a Vesterheim Gold Medalist in the art of Rosemaling and a 49-year member of this lodge is eager to illustrate and explain how the meanings in common shapes, colors, and numbers used in carvings, textiles, decorative painting, jewelry, and nature traveled to the Scandinavian countries bringing religious lessons to a major segment of the population who could not read.
You will see the similarities among European and Scandinavian folk arts as well as small differences that make each ethnic style unique. By virtue of the artisan’s touch and imagination, the principles of life would be expressed and understood by the viewer.
The Moose and World’s Tree is a mitten that combines mythology with biblical story. The world’s tree, “Yggdrasil” is an ash tree with its crown reaching to heaven and its roots in the underworld. The ash tree’s trunk was the source of the earth’s first man. The moose, deer, and reindeer are symbols of piety as in Psalms 42 “As the deer thirsts for running water, my soul thirsts for you, my Lord”.
Icelandic horse harness combining Viking interlace work with 17th century Italian baroque scrolls and foliage.
Early Telemark style wedding bowl by Tina Keune. Best of Show and Blue Ribbon at Vesterheim Folk Art Competition.
Christina Keune, a professional heritage artist since 1983, has demonstrated and lectured about rosemaling and dalmålning at numerous craft and ethnic festivals and at classes in the Washington, D. C. area, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
She holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts from the George Washington University, has pursued independent studies with master painters of rosemaling in Norway and the United States, and has toured Sweden, Denmark and Finland to research their folk art traditions.
Mrs. Keune received the Gold Medal in Rosemaling from the Vesterheim, Norwegian American Museum (Decorah, IA) and the Crystal Award from Gammelgården Museum (Scandia, MN). Both museums have purchased her work for their collections.
Her studio in Arlington, VA – featured in Remodeling Magazine – provides a workspace for painting and showcases both her own pieces and her collection of original Scandinavian folk art. Elements from this collection provide artistic and academic references.
She paints rosemaling and dalmålning on functional wooden objects: bowls, boxes, clocks, desk and kitchen items as well as hanging ornaments for Christmas based on traditional Scandinavian pieces such as trunks, bowls, tankards, and more. Ceramic tile projects, Swedish wall hangings on canvas and trunks join the repertoire available for private commissions.
View Mrs. Keune's website at rosemalingbychristina.com to learn more about her background and the history of Norwegian and Swedish folk art.
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