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Kolrosing a Primstav

Course Overview

The primstav is a traditional Norwegian calendar stick that marks celebrations, festivals, anniversaries, birthdays, seasonal activities, weather, nature, and the like. The wooden primstav is long and slender—one side is summer and one side is winter. It’s a perpetual calendar marked like a timeline with a line for each day. Engraved with simple images and symbols, it’s a call-back to our pre-literate past, when the passing of time was marked through seasonal and personal rituals rather than smart watches and atomic clocks. 

In this fun and engaging class, students will start by sharing stories and then develop their ideas to create very simple, small illustrations. These illustrations will become symbols for their own personal or family primstav. We will also learn the basics of kolrosing to engrave these simple images. Kolrosing is a traditional Scandinavian decorative art that uses simple tools. It’s like tattooing the wood. The kolroser creates an enduring design by cutting lines into the wood, rubbing pigment and oil into the lines, and then burnishing the cut closed. This is the technique that we will use to create our primstavs. Who knows? They might end up as a family heirloom!

Required Tools

  • All required tools are available for loan from the instructor; students may also purchase tools from the instructor  OR Kolrosing knives and antler burnishers are available to borrow from instructor; also custom models are available for purchase.

Optional Tools

  • Eye magnification, such as magnifying glasses


Fri, Nov 15th, 2024  –  Sun, Nov 17th, 2024

Course Details

Hours: 9am-5pm each day
Tuition: $315.00
Materials fee: $90.00
Latest Update: View recent changes →

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Liesl Chatman
Liesl Chatman
Minneapolis, MN

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Kolrosing a Primstav