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Frakturs for Designing

Old Pennsylvania German artwork finds a new place

By: Susan L. Feller

If you're looking around for motifs to use in a folk art design, a truly American treasure trove is found in Frakturs. These illuminated documents are rich with flowers, animals, angels, fruit, and Biblical stories illustrated with bold watercolors outlined in ink. Sounds like a rug already, doesn't it?

This article will address the elements involved in a traditional Fraktur and how to pick and choose elements to create your own frakturschriften, or small reward. You might make a Fraktur rug with a personal purpose: commemorating a special family event, such as a wedding, birth, or new home.

One of the female artists whose body of work has been documented was Barbara Ebersol of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who lived from 1846 to 1922. Her bright palette included yellows and reds, and she mostly drew simple flowers. The "star flower" is one of her motifs. It is very easy to hook and can be a solid color or more detailed.

This article is from the September/October 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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