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!!! ;)