Accomplished folk artist Carla Wilson will teach classes in beginning Swedish kurbit painting at Lindsborg's Small World Gallery in February and March.
Prospective students may select either 9:30 to noon Saturdays, Feb. 22, or 9:30 to noon Saturday Mar. 8. Enrollment is by reservation at the gallery, 127 N. Main Street, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 785-227-4442. Classes are limited to 10 each, and students must be at least 14 years old to participate.
For $25 per class, students can use Wilson's brushes, paints and other materials to learn and practice traditional folk painting strokes of the kurbit, or squash blossom. Students also will paint on and take away a 12-by 5-inch wood bread board that also is part of the course fee.
Swedish-style kurbit painting is believed to have started in the late 1700s in churches. The flowery style was used to visually tell the Old Testament story of Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale. After three days, Jonah miraculously emerged unharmed from the whale's stomach. Thereafter, God was said to have created for Jonah a large, leafy squash plant -- or "kurbit" -- to protect him from the sun. Now as then, the Swedish kurbit symbolizes God's protection and is still used as a decorative motif on many Swedish folk items, including the venerable Dala horse.
Wilson has been practicing kurbit painting for more than 20 years. Much of the technique is self-taught, although Wilson studied with native Swede Maud Waters, whose Lindsborg-based business specialized in kurbit-decorated leather clogs sold worldwide. Wilson's own kurbit designs can be seen on plaques, antique furnishings, and woodwork in private collections nationwide and in Sweden.