Friday, December 23, 2011

SUZANNE TOFTEY, ARTIST OF NORWEGIAN TRADITIONS


ALMOND CAKE BAKER

Most of my posts this December have been about Norwegian holiday foods. I first learned about some of these Scandinavian treats by looking at the Suzanne Toftey "Takk For Maten" series of decorative tiles.

Takk for Maten means "Thanks for the food" in Norwegian. In celebration of today, which is Lille Juleaften (Little Christmas Eve) in Norway, I am saying thank you to Ms. Toftey for the way she is preserving Norwegian customs and traditions.

For not only does she portray scrumptious holiday delicacies, her little vignettes also showcase regional Norwegian costumes, home interiors and - in the tile borders - rosemaling patterns. Rosemaling is the traditional Norwegian folk or tole painting.

I have written posts about some of these foods, but some I have not, being unfamiliar with that particular treat. Depending on what year they were produced, the tiles have little stickers on the back explaining which region of Norway the child's costume is from, and a recipe. The newer tiles also depict a little nisse (Norwegian house and barn elf) in each vignette, watching the baker, helping out or sneaking a little bit of pastry or whipped cream.


SUZANNE TOFTEY

Toftey, from Lake Mille Lacs, MN, is an award-winning rosemaler and a Vesterheim Museum Gold Medalist. Her work has been on exhibit in Norway as well as in the United States.

In addition to the Takk for Maten series, Toftey has a line of Swedish and Danish holiday food tiles, Nisse plates, Norwegian Fjord Horse plates and Folk Art Tiles, which feature Norwegian Americans who are preserving crafts such as rosemaling, Norwegian knitting and woodworking.

She has produced 14 Takk for Maten tiles so far, of which I have collected four. I also have one Nisse plate. All are available at Scandinavian import stores and online shops.


FATTIGMAND BOYS 

GJESTOST (GOAT CHEESE) BOY


PICKLED HERRING BOY


KRUMKAKE GIRL


LUTEFISK BOY
(If you read my lefse post, you'll
know why he is grimacing)

RISENGROT (RICE PUDDING) KIDS


JULEKAKE (CHRISTMAS BREAD) CHILDREN


KRANSEKAKE (NORWEGIAN WEDDING CAKE) GIRL


LEFSE GIRL


ROMMEGROT (SOUR CREAM PUDDING) GIRLS

VAFLER (WAFFLE) GIRL
(Norwegians use an iron that
makes heart-shaped waffles)


CREAM CAKE GIRL
(Moist cake layered with
whipped cream and fruit)

Risengrot and Rommegrot dry mixes are available in Scandinavian import stores and on the web.

NOTE: This is my last post for December. To all you Norwegian Americans out there, Happy Lille Juleaften. And for everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

ALSO: What in the world is Blogger up to with the different colored, underlined words? I've noticed this in other blogs too. How do I get rid of it? (I tried deleting the word and typing it in again but that doesn't work.)

7 comments:

WOL said...

These may be links?

Have a cool Yule and a frantic First.

Kath said...

Enjoy the festivities Julie and may 2012 bring all good things xx

Robin Larkspur said...

Thanks for introducing me to an artist and technique I knew nothing about! THese tiles are lovely and charming, and I would like to learn more! Love the little elf in the various pictorials. Have a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for a healthy happy 2012.

Annie said...

Hi Julie. These tiles are charming. I especially liked the little sour cream tile. The look on her face is priceless.

Happy New Year to you,
Annie

Shopgirl said...

Wishing you a wonderful New Year. I have not been doing many projects, but hope to get started on a few now that the holidays are over. The pictures are so cute...Hugs, Mary

Julie Harstad said...

Being a personal friend and Suzanne Toftey collector and enthusiast I can tell you Suzanne is as sweet as her designs! The models are her grandchildren, and she has done extensive research to be sure everything depicted is authentic not just to Norway, but to the region also. It is fun to see what started as a hobby has now spread across the country and even the ocean!

Vicki Holtan said...

Julie- I'm trying to find a way to replace my Lutefisk Boy print. I bought it along with the Lefse Girll and Kransekake Girl several years ago and framed them for my dining room wall. Some how the glass on the Lutefisk Boy must not have been UV protective like the other two because it has faded. I really want to replace that print but The Stabo in Fargo doesn't have them anymore. Can you help me? My email is vlholtan@hotmail.com. Thank you so much!