Else Bigton was born and raised in the village of Spjelkavik near Ålesund. Traditional Norwegian handcraft was an element of daily life for Else’s family in Norway for many generations. Else makes furniture designs and carves acanthus leaf ornamentation influenced by the Baroque period.
Else studied at the Hjerleid woodcarving and furniture making school in Norway, where she met her husband Phil Odden. In 1979 they established their traditional Norwegian woodcarving business, Norsk Wood Works, in the small rural town of Barronett, Wisconsin. Since then, they have made their living by designing, making, and selling traditional Norwegian woodcarvings, furniture, and architectural elements across the United States.
Learn more: Watch this video, Contemporary Folk Art at Disney’s Norway Pavilion where master woodworkers Phil Odden and Else Bigton and master rosemaler Patti Goke joined Vesterheim to discuss their work on the Frozen attraction in the Norway Pavillion at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida.