Heavily influenced by her grandmother’s family who emigrated from the Valdres Valley in Norway, Jan Boettcher began painting Norwegian folk art called Rosemaling in 1980. Rosemaling, derived from the roots ros (decoration) and male (to paint), has its origins in churches where walls and ceilings were decorated with bright, intricate patterns. Traditionally, Rosemaling for the home was used to decorate anything from small wooden household utensils to furniture, but the craft also extended to whole interiors. From a historic perspective, as with other arts and crafts, designs and patterns developed in and can be attributed to specific regions in Norway. However, over centuries, itinerant painters may have melded different styles as they moved from community to community. Nowadays, at least seven distinctive styles of painting persist, but among these styles there are differences that more specifically localize origins. Jan paints about 12 styles of Rosemaling along with nisse (elf-like, ancestral spirits who protected the farm and livestock) painting. Like other regional themes, the Valdres patterns of Rosmaling are rich in history and full of beauty, having a major influence on Boettcher’s approach to her art.
Over the years, Jan has taken classes in Norway with traditional Norwegian painters and here in the U.S. with American and Norwegian teachers. Although Rosemalers tend to stay with traditional styles for competition, contemporary renditions are emerging. Oftentimes, it is traditional Norwegian wooden pieces that influence Boettcher’s painting, but working with her husband, Roger, the two have developed original turned wooden designs for herself and clients who practice Rosemaling.
Awards earned by Boettcher include those from Indiana State Fair, Illinois Norsk Rosemaler’s Association, Sons of Norway, Stoughton Rosemaling Club, and the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. In 2011 she was juried into the Indiana Artisan group and she has taken part in the Indiana Artisan Marketplace each year since.
Jan currently serves on the Indiana Artisan Advisory Board and she has worked with the Traditional Arts Indiana group, demonstrating and participating at the Mather’s Museum, Bloomington, IN and at events and functions around Indiana. Boettcher teaches nationally as well as locally, having taught at the Annual Convention for the Society of Decorative Painters and in Cincinnati. She has had images of several of her Rosemaling pieces published in “Paintworks” and ‘Decorative Painter” magazines. In 2013, one of her published pieces was chosen to be on the membership card for the Society of Decorative Painters. Current projects include an E- course module on Rosemaling for “Oil Painting Expressions”.
The Boettcher’s have owned “Turn of the Century Wood Products” in Thorntown, IN since 2002 and sell wood-ware to decorative artists worldwide. A custom service for turned items is also available – they can be contacted through their own website.