Emma Torsen

sprinkles almonds on the Kransekake

What I see in this painting

When my sister married, my Norwegian grandmother (the firey red headed one) went to the painstaking work of baking and decorating the rings of a Kransekake to put on the wedding cake table. It was a unique piece of edible art that I had never seen until then. But grandma told me that this was what the wedding cakes were like in Norway. I want to step back in time and see a Kjorlaug wedding in Norway. 

My Norwegian ancestors lived on a farm in Norway in a small region called Kjorlaug. The 4 Rosemaling seed paintings are from bits and pieces of stories my Norwegian grandmother told. Emma was my great great grandmother.

Norwegian Rosemaling is an ancient Norwegian folk art taught to me by my grandmother. 

What is underneath this painting

“The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”

Jeremiah 1:11-12 NIV

The word “almond” in Hebrew sounds almost the same as the word “watching” in Hebrew and God purposely played with the similar sounds for a picture that would remind us that He sees. The same message that Jeremiah heard God say was also etched into the metalwork of the temple, where almonds and almond blossoms are “watching” the movement and worship of the people there who followed God.  


This art series began on a rabbit trail I was trekking down to find trees in the Bible (there are so many!!!) I love trees, but four arrested my attention and became the subjects for this Rosemaling seed series. Trees are a picture God often uses to describe humans and these four—the date palm, the almond tree, the oak, and the mustard— are how God pictorally described the righteous (those who follow Him). Now when I look at these trees, I feel seen and described by my God. The trees were brought back to seed form in the creation of these pieces because spring was coming when I made them, and I was so looking forward to it. —Kristin

Emma Torsen sprinkles almonds on the Kransekake
Watercolor and Ink – 8×10 inches

This painting was sold at gallery840 in Allentown PA and lives in a little cabin north of here.


Limited Edition Prints of all the seeds are available:

High quality archival prints of Kristin Kjorlaug’s original Rosemaling seed series in watercolor and ink. 8×10 inch print. Ships within 2 weeks. 

Prints are available for purchase through the gallery840 website.

Norwegian Rosemaling Seed series

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