Friday, March 26, 2010

My new love, Hex Signs!!


These Hex signs are by Steve Kreiser, and this photo was taken at the PA German Cultural Heritage Center in Kutztown, PA.


I'm so happy to get a moment to blog about my newest creative passion, Hex signs! A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a book on Hex signs that just fueled my inspiration. I had never heard of them before, and I find them so beautiful! What is a hex sign, you ask?

Hex signs are brightly colored decorations, usually geometrical and in a circle shape, in the form of large stars or other designs. They typically decorate barns and were developed by the Pennsylvania Dutch. "Hex" is the German word for "witch." Historically, these decorations were placed on barns to ward off the evil influences of neighboring witches or possibly the Devil. This is only one theory about the beginnings of hex signs, but a very interesting one! You can find them in Pennsylvania today, from many folk artists that keep the tradition alive.

Here are some traditional Hex signs by Eric Claypoole:





I love this not so traditional one by Brandy Naugle:



This one, among many others (these are screen printed, not hand painted), can be found at Rau's Country Store:


I'm personally taken with their vibrancy and simple grace. I love all styles of folk art, and it heavily influences my work. In the Hex sign style, I could see a potential for merging my art with the traditional patterns. I decided to paint my own! I tried my best to keep to their color traditions and the circular pattern (mine measures 13" in diameter), while adding my own style. You can't truly appreciate how involved it is to create a "simple" pattern until you try it yourself, this one took me about 15 hours from start to finish. I'm hoping that the more I create them, the faster I will become as I get in the groove. Here it is, "Spring Sugar Skull", what do you think?





For all you stitchers, I even found a free pattern for a Hex sign rug by Hannah Kopacz! Yes, I am now crazy for Hex signs!!! ;)

21 comments:

Pili said...

Ooooh, that's so interesting! It must be quite an accent and quite a sight everywhere they are!

And your own version is absolutely amazing!

outlanderblog said...

I love it! Great job! I'm familiar with hex signs already. Yours is fabulous. Wouldn't I love to have THAT on the side of my barn. Well, if I had a barn.

PovertyJane said...

I love it! The first photo on the post reminded me of cemetery signs..and I had a wonderful idea..(though some might think not), but..we have a stone grave for a very special kitty that passed..I may have to commission you to make a hex pet tombstone of sorts. Not anytime soon! Right up your alley!

Beautiful work!

longtimeaglow said...

Oh, whoa! I'm a major fan of yours, follow all of your work, and let me just say, this is one of your masterpieces! Aieehhhhh!

Nacreous Alchemy said...

That is so beautiful! I love the colors and the vibrancy of it. :)

Touchatou said...

Oh yeahhhhhhhhh ! Didn't know anything about hex signs but I might get addicted ! Yours is beautiful !!

PS You received nothing from Canada yet ? ;) lollll I've been biting my lips for more than a week not to say more...

Illustrated Ink said...

Lucie, did you send me something?! ;) I haven't gotten anything from Canada, yet - but now I will be running out to the mailbox everyday!

Kate, A kitty hex tombstone? That is sooo up my alley!

Thank you to all of you ladies for such kind words!!

Touchatou said...

Yes ! I couldn't keep silent about it anymore ! loll Mail between Canada and Us is soooooo slow !

skeptis said...

Awesome - I'd heard of Hex signs but never got around to figuring out what it was - interesting post!

Touchatou said...

I made a research about hex signs : loveeeeeeee them ! But my darker side would prefer a black or dark background, just in case you have one in mind. ;)

Illustrated Ink said...

Lucie, my next one will have a dark background! ;)

Jana said...

Leila, your hex sign is wonderful. I think Roman & I need one!!!

Touchatou said...

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh ! lol Moving next week and it would be a nice addition to my special room... if it's for sale !

Kisses

Illustrated Ink said...

Thanks Jana! :) I'm going to have at least four at the Pecan St. Fest on May 1st and 2nd. I'd love for you guys to stop by my booth and say hello!

Lucie, I will have some for sale on-line too. ;) Good luck on your move next week!

chandlerguera said...

I give your new piece is a huge thumbs up! Awesome!

Nacreous Alchemy said...

I was just reading in a magazine about the suburban use of Hex signs where people are using them on the panels of their garage doors. Wouldn't the burbs be great with artwork like yours decorating all the garage doors! :)

~t~ said...

I love your version of the hex sign! Keep 'em coming! ~~~t~~~

Lara said...

Hi, I stumbled upon your page when I searched for 'hex sign tattoo'. I've wanted a hex sign tattoo for several years and now that I'm doing it soon, I wanted to see if there were any others out there, didn't find any. I've lived in PA since I was 10 and have always liked hex signs but really became interested when I met Eric Claypoole. He was a friend of the family I was a nanny for, we had many drunken talks about hex signs. If you've been researching them I'm sure you've heard of him. He's one of few people doing original hex signs, and re-doing very old ones. I live one county over from Berks Co. which has the highest concentration of hex signs, they're everywhere!
My tattoo will be a basic daddy hex, which has 12 petals, for good luck for each month of the year. Maybe I'll send you a picture when its done.

Illustrated Ink said...

Hi Lara! Yes, I have heard of Eric Claypoole, he does beautiful work!

I think a Hex sign tattoo is a very original idea, I would love to see it when it's completed!

Thanks for your comment! :)

NJWHITEKAT said...

Het, nice artwork!

I just googles and found your site. I am having a daddy hex tattooed on Friday. I will post a pic when I am healed.

Keep up the great work.

Mr. Brueghel said...

I put a link to this on my Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs Facebook page. I'm sure it will get a lot of attention! Beautiful work!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pennsylvania-Dutch-Hex-Signs/112267555480093

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