Prized contemporary folk art pieces on display 

Embellishment exhibit at the very heart of Vesterheim’s mission

vesterheim embellishment

Vesterheim’s Embellishment exhibit is an eclectic collection of contemporary folk art objects that incorporate traditional Nordic-inspired design motifs.

Decorah, Iowa

Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, has announced the Best of Show Award and Jurors Choice Awards for “Embellishment,” a special show that focuses on the importance of detail in folk art.

legs swim team

The (Not So) Synchronized Swim Team Installation by Sallie Haugen DeReus, Leighton, Iowa.

The Best of Show Award went to Liz Bucheit, Lanesboro, Minn., for Fiddlehead Bridal Headpiece. The piece is inspired by Scandinavian bridal crown traditions and created using fine silver filigree techniques unique to traditional regional Norwegian bunad (national costume) silver.

“The fiddlehead fern shape is a beautiful form found in nature and I seek to honor its elements by elevating its status to a more permanent jewel,” Bucheit said.

Juror’s Choice Awards are: My Scream Plate by Jerry Johnson, Stoughton, Wis.; Peace and Circumstances Carving by Phillip Odden, Barronett, Wis.; Spring Troll Among the Birch by Lynn Susag, Lanesboro, Minn.; and The (Not So) Synchronized Swim Team Installation by Sallie Haugen DeReus, Leighton, Iowa.


Fiddlehead Bridal Headpiece by Liz Bucheit, Lanesboro, Minn.

The Embellishment exhibit features 71 pieces by contemporary folk artists from around the country and will be open through Jan. 5, 2024.

The artworks in the exhibition were chosen by a selection committee made up of Elliot Taillon (owner of Binkhaven, Norwegian design retreat, Ephraim, Wis.); Eric Sovern (owner of Cardboard Robot, Decorah, Iowa); Jennie Knoebel (Iowa Arts Council, Des Moines, Iowa); and Darlene Fossum-Martin (former director of Folk Art Education at Vesterheim, Decorah, Iowa). The jurors commented on the unexpected, unusual, and breathtaking artworks included.

For the artists in this show, embellishment can mean flowing painted motifs, embroidered designs, ornate beadwork, and intricate carving.

embellishments vesterheim

Spring Troll Among the Birch by Lynn Susag, Lanesboro, Minn.

There will be a People’s Choice Award, selected by popular vote from exhibit visitors. Come out and vote for a favorite! Vesterheim offers innovative and interactive exhibits, classes, and programs, both at the dynamic campus and park in scenic Decorah, Iowa, and online at and Vesterheim social media.

For more information on exhibits, classes, programs, tours, membership opportunities, and ways to donate and volunteer, connect at

The Embellishment exhibit is made possible thanks to generous support from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

All images courtesy of Vesterheim

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.