Some years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marvelled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
These often humble words, offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.
In traditional art, it was a custom to have a saying or Proverb decorating the border of a bowl, utensil or piece of furniture. Especially this is seen in the old decorative art of Norway, called Rosemaling.
The following words of wisdom were indicative of a social art history as they were penned by the artist of that time and reflected their thoughts and values. A time capsule of advice.
Norwegian Proverbs on Rosemaling Decorative Art
Here are a few to ponder:
– Alderen kjem ikkje aleine; han fører så mye med seg.
Age comes not alone; it brings so much with it.
–Det gror ikke til på veien mellon gode venner.
On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.
–Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.
Noone can help someone who will not help him/herself
Too much cleverness is foolishness.
For mye klokskap er dårskap.
Curious to know more about Rosemaling, an art form that has experienced a Renaissance in America, particularly the Norwegian areas of the Mid-West?
Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, will know that Norwegian and Scandinavian things are very close to my heart, so it will come as no surprise to read that I am sharing a Norwegian recipe with you.
This is a traditional Norwegian cake with an intense yellow colour. Not too sweet but a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.
NB. This is not Julekake – or Julekake which sounds similar, is equally delicious and is served at Christmas time. No, this is Gulkake as in ‘Gul’ – the norwegian word for yellow.
Gul Blomst = Yellow Flower; Gul Trøye = Yellow Jersey therefore:
Gul Kake = Yellow Cake – well, you get the idea.
The intense yellow colour comes from the SIX egg yolks this recipe contains and that’s also the reason it’s a great time of year to make it, if you live in the southern hemisphere?
Why this time of year?
Because those of us around the southern Ocean, that is Australians and New Zealanders, are busily creating loads of Pavlovas to eat with friends. Pavlovas are often the first choice of dessert, for summer time barbeques, as well as Christmas menus, as it’s too darn hot for warm desserts like plum puddings.
Pavlovas may contain as much as 7 egg whites and you can rapidly get really sick of making omelettes with the leftover yolks. Therefore, making ‘Gulkake,’ is a great alternative to combine when making a ‘Pav,’ (as we like to call them).
You do know Australians shorten names for everything don’t you?
WordPress has kindly reminded me that I have a blogging Anniversary. To celebrate, I am re-posting one of the first blog posts I wrote. Almost ten years to the day that I wrote it.
I have to admit it is pretty boring. This post achieved a monumental response of two likes, and no comments! Undeterred, I am still at blogging today. Writing about things that puzzle, interest and frustrate me and information that is important to share with others.
Please excuse any formatting errors as I have forgotten many of the functionalities of the Classic Editor.
Norwegian Crochet – Hakking
In Norway, there is a special type of crochet called Hakking. It has nothing to do with computers and is pronounced as in the english word “Haark” and add “-ing”!
I would not consider myself an experienced knitter and my knitting tension as a child was awful, yet I took to this wool handwork instantly. I love it.
I have to thank my dear friend Mia, not only for her patience but for starting me on a Hakking adventure, which seems to be limitless.
If you feel knitting takes too long and is too fiddly, but you want to create something with wool, then Hakking is for you!
You can make a scarf with a basic stitch (using ‘grund’ technic) in less than an hour! I promise you.
Hakking goes by a variety of names: Tunisian crochet, Afghan stitch, and one might use a double-ended hook sometimes called a cro-hook.
My first Hakking projects were a Scarf in acrylic, a sampler with stocking type stitch, and pulse warmer, which is made using Hakking in the round. For this you must have a double pointed crochet hook or needle.
Good luck, I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.
I was skimming through an old recipe book today, deciding whether to keep or throw it out. I do have an excess of household ‘stuff,’ that’s been in storage for well over twelve months awaiting our relocation into a modern new house by the beach, so even with the massive amounts of cupboard space the new house has, I still would like to downsize as much as I can.
So it was in a somewhat semi exhausted state from unpacking, I happened upon the recipe book. Truly, it might have just been easier to toss the whole thing out and start with fresh recipes, but handwritten old favourites evoke family memories too, so I knuckled down with a cuppa and flipped through the yellowing, slightly food stained pages. That’s when I found a recipe for “Avocado Norwegian,” that I had torn from Brisbane’s first ever vegetarian restaurant’s cookbook. The recipe is a form of salad topping an avocado half.
Now normally the thought of chomping into half an avocado, (even one with a delicious topping), as one would an apple or pear, turns my stomach, but for some reason I saved this recipe and thus, gave it another look. I thought anything remotely connected with Scandinavia always deserves my attention.
I decided it might work better if I changed it a little and gave it a bit more flair. After all, who doesn’t adapt recipes?
With the addition of a few extra ingredients, served on a bed of spinach/kale mix, and garnished with dill sprigs, I created a kind of Norwegian Waldorf Salad Fusion.
As an added bonus, the avocado is another way to add Vitamin C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. It surely packs a nutritional punch.
This is the final recipe for Avocado Norwaldorf Salad
Serves approximately 2 people
2 sticks celery
1/2 cup Fresh walnuts
1 -2 red apples – I used a Royal Gala variety
1-2 green apples – such as a Granny Smith
Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1/3 cup Dill Pickles, roughly chopped
Jarslberg cheese, cubed – amount depending on personal preference
Mayonnaise to cover
1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard or Dijonnaise
Dill sprigs for garnish
1 Avocado, peeled and diced into large chunks
Squeeze of Lemon juice (optional)
Seasoning to taste
Mix ingredients together, adding Avocado last.
Camembert cheese wedges on a bed of Spinach/Kale/Lettuce
Enjoy! Healthy, tasty and definitely worth a second look.
Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting very popular in parts of America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage.
Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared around the 18th century.
History of Rosemaling
As early as the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends from the cities of Europe into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches.
The relative geographic isolation in the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces led to further development and evolution of this peasant folk art form into a highly distinctive and unique art.
Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden.
A similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.
The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.
Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.
Features of this Style:
Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower, or mirror image split vertically
Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.
A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.
Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy. Are also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.
Half circle Flowers
Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.
Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs
Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.
Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions
Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.
Free Hallingdal Rosemaling Designs
Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:
Something to Ponder About
[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976]
I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.
Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you will too.
Bedre bør du bær “kje i bakken enn mannavit mykje”– Norwegian Proverb
(loosely translated) You can’t carry a better load up a hill than much knowledge.
Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential – Winston Churchill
One of the first times I have agreed with Churchill! He certainly some great quotes!
Something proverbial to ponder about this Thursday
I find profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and marvel at the way they can be so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and across cultures, and speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes like proverbs, can make us think more deeply about something.
Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought provoking. I hope you will too.
“Liten tue kan velte stort lass”–Little strokes fell great oaks.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”