Trunk © 1991 Barb Wolter Trunk © 1991 Barb Wolter

Gold Medal In: Rosemaling, 1991

  • Life Dates Born 1936, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Occupation Rosemaling teacher/Homemaker
  • Residence at Time of Award Milwaukee, Wisconsin


  • 1980 White ribbon for a trunk
  • 1988 White ribbon for a trunk
  • 1989 White ribbon for a trunk
  • 1990 Red ribbon for a trunk
  • 1991 Blue ribbon for a trunk

Artist Statement

At the urging of two neighbors, I signed up for an evening class at the local adult education center. I had no idea what rosemaling was at that time, but knew that I had a liking for art—I had taken a watercolor session years before.

When I found out rosemaling was a Norwegian folk art, I remembered that Grandma Storlie, born in Norway, had brought with her a tine that had been painted in her area of Dale.

That year (1970) our Norse Rosemalers Association was forming and I joined for $1.00. I took more semesters of painting and joined members of the association in three-and five-day classes taught by Norwegian teachers. With small children, I didn’t accomplish much in the early years, but I kept at it. All those hours in 38 years and I have enjoyed every minute of them.

After a rosemaling show in 1978, my mom and I visited relatives in Norway and got to see many old pieces, both family and museum articles that had been painted with rosemaling.

In the early years and still today, I look through the pages of the books written by Norwegian artists about the early masters of rosemaling. This is my greatest inspiration.

Old pieces of wood especially interest me, and I have decorated countless trunks, buckets, carpenter’s chests, skis, cabinets, wooden shoes, and more.

I can proudly say that I have entered the exhibition at Vesterheim every year since about 1976 and will continue in that tradition as long as I am able. Vesterheim has been a wonderful resource for beginning painters and more accomplished artists as well.