Rosemaling and the ‘Social Life’ of Everyday Objects in Rural Wisconsin
February 23, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
As Norwegians immigrated to the United States, many brought with them the traditional folk art of rosemaling in the form of learned skills and heritage objects. Developed in the 18th century, rosemaling proliferated throughout Norway during the 19th century. Defined by an earthen color pallet featuring regional variations of stylized two-dimensional floral and geometric motifs, rosemaling typically graced interior walls and flat surfaces. In 20th century Wisconsin, local rosemalers stretched this painting technique’s form by applying it to everyday objects. Drawing on the notion that material culture has a “social life,” this presentation examines how rosemaling can transform objects into symbols of ethnicity reflecting individual and community values. Examples featured will include a spindle-backed hospital chair, a pair of hot pink pumps, and an aluminum percolator.
Our presenter, Jared L. Schmidt was born and raised in rural southwest Minnesota. He holds a B.S. in Psychology, an M.S. in Applied Anthropology, and a second M.A. in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies. Currently he is working towards his PhD in Folklore Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include heritage, museum studies, foodways, and material culture. Jared is presently working on a dissertation about Old World Wisconsin, where he also works as an interpreter.