Meet the new Folk Art Apprentices and Artists in Residence who will participate in a year-long training at Vesterheim’s Folk Art School!

Vesterheim’s Apprentice Program allows aspiring folk art teachers to learn from Vesterheim Gold Medalists and experienced teachers, explore Vesterheim’s specialized and extensive folk art collection, identify a personal teaching style, connect with a cohort of aspiring folk art instructors, and join a community passionate about moving folk art forward. Apprentices will have opportunities for one-on-one discussion with experienced instructors, a one-week immersive retreat, and three free folk art classes. Each apprentice will create a Vesterheim class proposal inspired by the collection, which can be used for an online or in-person learning experience.

Vesterheim’s Artist in Residence Program is a professional development opportunity for practicing folk art instructors to explore Vesterheim’s collection for object inspiration and future teaching ideas. Each awarded artist receives a stipend to use for the cost of travel, lodging, research, and materials for their residence project. At the end of the program, the awarded artist will create and teach a class based on their study of the collection.

Congratulations to these artists. We look forward to working closely with these talented and creative people over the next year!

Folk Art Apprentices

Derek Brabender

Derek is an artisan green woodworker based in Stoughton, Wisconsin, who specializes in creating beautiful and functional woodenware with hand tools and on a foot-powered pole lathe. The wood he uses is freshly felled, by arborists or storms, with softer fibers that can be shaped effectively with hand tools. The nature of the freshly cut material gives this form of carpentry the name “green woodworking.” Working with freshly cut materials and traditional techniques fosters a deeper understanding of our environment and our history.

Alex Clarke
Alex is a woodworker based in Wisconsin where she is constantly inspired by the natural beauty of local hardwoods. She studied art history and cabinetmaking in school and has a professional background in construction, drafting, and historic restoration. She currently works at a technical college and an upholstery shop. Alex enjoys learning about traditional crafts and tools and is particularly interested in chairmaking and weaving. She is fascinated by handmade objects and likes to design furniture for her home.

Rachel Saum

Rachael grew up with Scandinavian traditions and found a love of rosemaling from an early age. A maker and crafter, she studied art at St. Olaf College and always found ways to be creative – quilting, gardening, drawing, and making pottery.  As an adult, she took her first rosemaling class as a way to reconnect to her family heritage and to find a new creative outlet to balance her social work profession.  She has continued to study and learn about Scandinavian folk art traditions and has a growing interest in their historical context. She began incorporating rosemaling with her pottery, which has grown into work as a full-time studio potter in Taos, New Mexico.

Bozena Scheidel

Bozena lives and works in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is interested in the ways we build shelter and the legacy of joyful and radical teamwork that emerges around timber framing. Recently, she completed a timber framing education mentorship at the John C. Campbell Folk School and has been supporting local raising and cutting projects on the side. She is excited to dig into the stories of timber framing  that live in the buildings at Vesterheim during the Folk Art Apprenticeship. She is excited to study the ways shelter is built across oceans of water and time, to inform smart and generous building in today’s changing landscapes. In her spare time, Bozena likes to read, run, weave willow, and play old-time tunes.

Kristen Smith-Page
Kristen’s affinity for gardening and the ocean is captured in the rhythm of rosemaling. Yet, her foray into Norwegian folk art has been a long odyssey. Her mother, whose Norwegian family were glassblowers in the Lake Mjosa area, enjoyed sharing her Norwegian culture. But it was not until they attended one of Eldrid Arntzen’s rosemaling classes at Camp Koinonia in New York that Kirsten fell in love with rosemaling, particularly the flow of the painting. She has been rosemaling for more than 10 years and enjoys gathering biannually with her New York rosemaling friends to share and paint. Educated as a chemical engineer, most of her professional work has been in Biotech, recently in graduate studies in nanotechnology and biotechnology. As a result, she enjoys the fine rosemaling details. She has studied rosemaling in person and online through Vesterheim, Illinois Norsk Rosemalers’ Association, and Nordic Canvas and at the Rauland Akademiet in the University of South-Eastern, Norway. She looks forward to translating her experience and integrating her Vesterheim apprenticeship into becoming an effective rosemaling teacher and preserving rosemaling for the future.

Artists in Residence

Stephenie Anderson

Steph is a creative fiber and textile artist with a strong background in knitting, quilting, and hand-sewing Viking Age textiles. A frequent exhibitor, teacher, and knitting pattern writer, she won a blue ribbon in knitting at the Minnesota State Fair. Steph was awarded the Viking Connection Grant and studied in Norway under Astri Byrd and Linnea Madsen. While there, she studied and recreated historically accurate Viking Age garments based on archaeological findings.

Cathy Castellanos

As a child, Cathy loved visiting her mormor and besetefarin their country home filled with beautiful Norwegian crafts. She loved seeing hermormor’scarved Henning pieces on the mantle along withkrogbrod weaving and a few plates and bowls with rosemaling by family members. She was fortunate to travel with her three sisters and her mormor to Norway when she graduated college, which reinforced her love of Norwegian crafts. They soon found a Norwegian store that gave rosemaling classes and quickly joined the rosemaling club “Uffda.” She has since taken many classes with Vesterheim Gold Medalists and participated in the Vesterheim Folk Art Tour in 2016. Painting now for 13 years, Cathy traveled to Norway in 2023 to visit relatives where she had the opportunity to paint with Marit Eldal and Hjordis Junik, who has received the Kings Medal of Merit for the Arts in Norway. Catherine enjoys most types of rosemaling but gravitates to Viksdal style for its rich history and symbolism. Additionally, the Os style holds a special place in her heart because of her heritage from Havraboka, Osteroy. She currently lives in South Carolina. Cathy is excited to experience the Vesterheim Artist in Residence Program to research the archives, further develop her rosemaling painting and design skills, and share her love of rosemaling with others.

Liesl Chatman

Liesl is a greenwood spoon carver, kolroser, and teacher and is fast becoming known as one of the top kolrosers in the United States. Her interest in spoons and creating images on a small scale have always been part of her life. Her father, a United States history teacher, collected American coin silver spoons that hung in her parents’ dining room. Liesl, however, got hooked on beautiful wooden spoons. Her background as a hand-lettering artist and graphic journaler influences her spoon forms and kolrosing images. In her teaching, Liesl works with students to carve spoons and wood with skill and joy. She fosters confidence through mindfulness, good safe techniques, and practice. She works with students to make spoons that are useful and pleasing to the eye, hand, and mouth. Liesl’s spoons have been exhibited at the American Swedish Institute and Vesterheim, and she teaches at the American Swedish Institute, Fireweed Community Woodshop, John C. Campbell Folk School, North House Folk School, and Vesterheim. Currently, she serves on the Milan Spoon Gathering Planning Committee, and in 2023, was a Folk-Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She loves that spoon carving and kolrosing are crafts that are accessible, affordable, enjoyable, and healing.