then & now

Kristin Kjorlaug was the artist name of my dear Norwegian grandmother. In 1884 her grandfather brought the name Kjorlaug from Norway to America. Kristin was a Norwegian name that she adored. Not only did she sign her artwork with this name, but she also named her brass art company The Kristin Company in 1972— a company where my grandfather, an engineer, chemically etched her artwork on brass sheets, then clipped and polished them to sell as  ornaments. They ran this company together until 1987. 

Every summer I did Rosemaling (a Norwegian folk painting) beside my grandmother. She bought me art books and pencils, and flamed the passion of creating inside me. Grandma was the first to speak the words “burnt umber” and “raw sienna” in my ears, and the smell of linseed takes me to her side again. I love that I am named Kristin because of her work in art and I sign my artwork with Kristin Kjorlaug in honor of her. 

The name Kjorlaug begins with a Norwegian sound somewhere between “sh” and “ch” [Chur-log]. 

Kristin grew up hearing Scandinavian stories read out loud, wearing the Santa Lucia crown at Christmas, and doodling her way through life.

She is now a mother of 2, married to a Pastor, and living in the urban setting of Allentown. She adores city life as well as exploring the forests and mountains around. Her favorite thing to decorate with is the nature she brings back from their family treks. 

Currently she is studying painting (both watercolor and acrylic) with the goal of pushing toward work in illustration and artwork. 

In 2018 she teamed up with colleagues in Spain to write and create books for the people of Spain in their own heart tongue. She and Lorena have coauthored 2 books on Christmas and Easter, with plans and ideas for many more. Illustration will be one of her main tasks on the team as well as some writing. 

In 2021 Kristin began working as a gallery assistant for gallery 840 a local urban gallery in the downtown of Allentown, PA, and exhibited her first artwork. In 2022 she became a partner in the gallery.

She also occasionally volunteers with VAST, a local anti-trafficking coalition, to work with the visual side of their events, graphics, and art galleries. 

…and she is definitely guilty of doodling during sermons. Doesn’t everyone bring 30 pens and a sketchbook to church? There must be a place for art in the church somehow.