In 1923 Kristin Kjorlaug was born into a conflicted home. They lived among many other Norwegian families in Minneapolis. After her parents divorced, this fiery, red headed 14 year old was sent to be raised by her aunt. A city girl through and through, she searched with determination for her place. The neighborhood church showed her kindness, trust, and eventually gave her a husband. This man supported her many dreams. She ran their home like clockwork with 3 children underfoot, all while studying her Norwegian family heritage and the art of Rosemaling. Once the children were grown, she stepped into the business world as a Norwegian Artist ready to sell etched brass ornaments made on chemical etching machines worked by her engineering husband. Her first designs were ready in 1972.
For more than a decade she sold these Old World Metal Art Ornaments, adding designs and new artists each year.
Kristin Kjorlaug is actually her artist name, signed on all the ornaments she designed. Kjorlaug was her Norwegian Maiden name. Kristin was a Norwegian name that she must have loved, because she gave it to her daughter and named her business The Kristin Company. Her granddaughter, who was born during the years of The Kristin Company, also received the beloved name Kristin. Thousands of ornaments sold during these years in some of the finest cities and stores in and around Minnesota. But in 1987 she was ready to retire from the business as more grandchildren began looking over her shoulder, begging to hear another story about a Norwegian Nisse. She delighted in teaching the children all about Norway, and their family that lived there. She even gave rosemaling lessons to the grandchildren. In 2011, The elegantly strong, artistically confident Norwegian went to rest in the arms of Jesus.
Unfinished brass ornaments and plates half painted with Rosemaling are treasures to her family now and a reminder of where they came.
The Kristin Company History
This company was the culmination of my grandmother’s training in and love for Norwegian art, etched in brass. Grandma designed the ornaments and ran the business. Grandpa ran the chemical etching machines and worked out the flow by which a sheet of brass would be given an image and then dipped in a chemical that ate away only part of the design. The ornaments would then be buffed, coated, clipped out and packaged for sale.
There are still thousands of ornaments in stock. My father owns the business now and has graciously allowed me to partner with him and sell some of the ornament in order to raise money for publishing Jesus’ Unexpected Family Tree. Thank you, Daddy! All the ornament designs are available at his Ebay site.