Hope you’re enjoying fall wherever you may be. The special Nordic events that have been happening around the country this past summer are coming to an end soon. However, there’s still a chance to experience Edvard Munch in Massachusetts, Sámi Dreams in Iowa, and Icelandic book arts and textiles in Oregon.
I highly recommend the Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth exhibit in Williamstown, MA, if you or any friends or family are anywhere nearby (last day October 15). Munch has a large body of work and might be best known for depicting emotions in figures, but my favorite paintings are his landscapes so this exhibit was right up my alley and didn’t disappoint at all. I was very impressed with how the exhibit was curated. “The exhibition is organized thematically to show how Munch used nature to convey human emotions and relationships, celebrate farming practice and garden cultivation, and explore the mysteries of the forest even as his Norwegian homeland faced industrialization.” I saw favorites presented in a new light and was introduced to new ones from private collections.
If you miss this exhibit, you can catch it November 18–April 1 in Potsdam, Germany; and April 27–August 24, 2024, in Oslo at Munchmuseet. Or consider buying the book/catalog, Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth (pictured above), that accompanies the exhibit.
Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: October 2023 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.
Are you a Nordic film enthusiast in the Los Angeles area? AFI Film Fest 2023 (October 25-29 in Hollywood) will screen films from around the world, including Best International Feature Film submissions for the upcoming Academy Awards from Denmark and Finland. On October 26, you can see Finland’s Fallen Leaves (Kuolleet Lehdet), and on October 28, you can see Denmark’s The Promised Land (Bastarden) which will be followed by a conversation with director Nikolaj Arcel and actor Mads Mikkelsen.
And finally, Southern California readers, mark your calendars for the Norwegian Church’s annual Christmas Fair which is taking place Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 19, in San Pedro. You will experience a Christmas atmosphere like no other with Christmas gifts for young and old, a bakery with Norwegian Christmas baked goods, a cafe with delicious food, and in addition, there will be raffles with great prizes. On the weekends, sandwiches and Norwegian hot food will be served.
What’s on your calendar for October?
Vesterheim Museum’s Benefit Auction (Oct. 7-15)
Vesterheim’s Benefit Auction is open for bidding. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Vesterheim Annual Fund in support of Vesterheim’s Folk Art School. This year, the auction includes 78 items of one-of-a-kind folk-art by artists working in the Norwegian tradition. There are also incredible getaways offered – an 8-day European River Cruise for two in 2024 from Viking and a stunning stay in Colorado.
Concert by Gangspil (Oct. 11, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)
Join Vesterheim for the first live streamed event in the Vesterheim Commons. Danish folk duo Gangspil will take you on an entertaining and varied journey through the traditions of Danish folk music. These lively musicians perform old dance tunes and songs from every corner of their Scandinavian home country. Performing live from the newly completed Vesterheim Commons, this performance will be live-streamed and allow you to join the music-making happening in Decorah!
Cooking Class with Sunny Gandara: Spud-tacular Potatoes (Saturday, Oct. 14, 1:00 p.m. ET)
Potatoes are the lifeline of Norwegian cuisine, and many Norwegians can’t imagine what a meal would be like without them. In this class with Sunny of Arctic Grub, you’ll learn four Norwegian classic potato dishes employing four different cooking methods: Hasselback poteter (a crispy baked potato sliced into fan-shape like slices, drizzled with garlic butter and fresh herbs), purre-og potetsuppe (a creamy leek and potato soup, a classic in Norwegian cuisine and completely dairy-free), fløtegratinerte poteter (sliced potatoes baked in cream and cheese a la potatoes au gratin), and potetpannekaker (fluffy potato pancakes served with cardamom-scented sour cream and a blueberry coulis). From appetizers to dessert – this class has it all!
Handcraft at Home: Carving a Snowman (Enrollment deadline Oct. 15)
Beginning November 1 and available all month, this beginner wood carving class will allow you to create your own snowman character inspired by Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, right down to the carrot nose and stick arms. Folk Artist and Youth Educator Steph Hughes will guide and show you how to carve a wooden snowman through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you. Enrollment Deadline: October 15, 2023
Cooking Class: Flygande Jakob and Apple Dessert (Monday, Oct. 16, 4:00 p.m. CT)
Join the Swedish American Museum for a cooking class where you will learn how to make Flygande Jakob, a Swedish chicken casserole, and an apple dessert. You will receive the recipes in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. It is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.
Nordic Appetizers for Autumn and Winter (Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:00 p.m. CT)
Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson as they celebrate the flavors of the season with an evening of Nordic appetizers. Create fun Nordic bites like salt-brined cucumbers topped with creme fraiche and honey, lingonberry-brie bites, salmon spring rolls, and other delicious appetizers. Recipes for a signature cocktail and non-alcoholic beverage will also be included. Enrollment Deadline: October 05, 2023 (still available as of publishing date)
Introduction to Joik (Saturday, Oct. 21, OR Sunday, Oct. 22, 3:00 p.m. CT)
What is a joik? What does it feel like to joik? The joik is the traditional form of Sámi song, and has its own musical rules and a very special connection to nature and all living beings. In this class with instructor Ailloš and facilitator Elisabeth Berg, you will learn about this traditional way of singing and learn a couple of joik-melodies yourself. Offered two days. Enrollment Deadline: October 12, 2023 (still available as of publishing date)
Genealogy Session with Swedish American Museum (Saturday, Oct. 28, 10:00 a.m. CT)
Dr. Joy Lintelman is a U.S. social historian specializing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special interests in Swedish American immigration, food history, local history and public history. She serves as a full professor at Concordia. In addition to a number of journal articles and book chapters published over the past three decades, her book, I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson was released in 2009 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Her current research examines the urban experiences of Swedish Americans, focusing on a historic neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota called East Side Flats.
Telemark-Style Rosemaling Welcome Sign (Oct. 28 & Oct. 29)
Welcome! (Or should we say Velkommen?) Come try your hand at the Telemark style of rosemaling and make a welcome sign to greet visitors to your home! The class, instructed by Lise Lorentzen, includes demonstration and plenty of hands-on practice. You will have the opportunity to choose between making a sign reading “Welcome” in English or the Norwegian “Velkommen.” This class is designed for beginning painters with previous experience, as well as more advanced painters and will be taught using acrylic paints. A complete kit of materials shipped to your home (a $60 value) containing paints, brushes, woodenware, and more is included in the cost of registration. Enrollment Deadline: October 14, 2023
Scandinavian Figure Carving: Tomte (Wednesdays, Nov. 1, 8, & 15)
Interested in carving a “Scandi Classic” to help spruce up your home for the holidays? Join carver Charles Banks as together you carve a tomte, the Swedish cousin to Norway’s beloved nisse that is often associated with the winter solstice and Christmas! Students will experience the history, traditions, and steps involved in the creation of this folk art classic. Emphasis will be placed on the introduction and skillful use of traditional cuts, stylized shapes, and painting techniques to bring your tomte to life. The face design will allow for explorations of your own skill for other faces in the future. Your registration fee includes a complete kit of materials shipped to your home. Enrollment Deadline: October 18, 2023 (Currently sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.)
Which events or experiences look interesting to you?