Pennsylvania Dutch Dainty Delights-A Peek-a-Boo Project


Growing up in Pennsylvania I was aware of my German Heritage but it was also infused with The Pennsylvania Dutch Culture. The Pennsylvania Dutch are a group of English-speaking people who descended from German immigrants. The Amish are a subset of the Pennsylvania Dutch that live in rural areas and practice a simple lifestyle. Some Amish people in the Lancaster area continue to speak Pennsylvanian Dutch or Dietsch. Amish groups tend to shy away from technology and involvement with the “outside” world. They dress plainly and uses scooters and buggies for transportation. The Pennsylvania Dutch have embraced some of the world technologies and use motorized vehicles as well as electricity and telephones in their homes. 

To the Amish, art is considered wasteful, so anything artistic  tends to have functional value instead of merely providing an aesthetic pleasure. Since quilts can be used for a purpose, they are considered a sanctioned channel of creativity. 

Pennsylvania Dutch artwork is characterized by the bold use of color and motifs that emphasize birds, flowers and elaborate decoration. Fraktur is a highly artistic form, an elaborate illuminated folk art from this region and pronounced “frock-tour”, made mostly by the “Fancy Dutch”. They are the inspiration of this artwork, although these pieces represent the “Plain Dutch” as their designs are less sophisticated and extravagant. My next post will delve more into the Pennsylvania Dutch Culture and Traditions.

  1. Gather Supplies.
  2. Paint Base of GSLC Double Layer Wire Frame Tulip and Base of GSLC Triple Layered Frame in Shades of Yellow and Gold.
  3. Next Paint Upper Portion of GSLC Double Layer Wire Frame Tulip with Blue, Green, and Red Acrylic Paints.
  4. Paint Second Portion of GSLC Triple Layered Frame Same Blue you Used for Other Frame.
  5. Paint Top Portion of GSLC Triple Layered Frame Same Red you Used for Other Frame.
  6. Glue all Layers of Frames Together Using a UHU GlueStick.
  7. Cut Out Squares of Cardboard to Add Prepared Digital Images To.
  8. Glue Images to Cardboard Squares.
  9. Glue Images to Back of Layered Frames, Allow to Dry Fully.
  10. Add a Layer of DecoArt One step Crackle and Allow to Dry Fully.
  11. Carefully rub Ground Cinnamon Into the Cracks.
  12. Seal Carefully With Matte Gel Medium. 

Final Thoughts:

Some of the most recognizable of the Pennsylvania Dutch artwork are the Hex Signs sometimes seen painted on a variety buildings in this area of Pennsylvania. They were meant to protect or place “hex” on the structures and things inside of them from evil and misfortune. 

Hex signs typically have bright colors and engaging designs, adding a pleasing visual display to farm buildings. The combination of folk magic and symbolism has a strong influence on hex signs. Circles and stars are predominant geometric designs, symbolizing divinity and the circle of life.

Hex signs could feature a variety of symbols, including birds and flowers. Pomegranates symbolized fertility, eagles stood for strength, hearts symbolized love, birds symbolized luck and happiness, stars brought good luck, and tulips symbolized faith. Oak leaves and acorns brought strength, and rosettes on a hex sign could protect a farm from famine. The colors featured in hex signs also carried important symbolism. Blue added protection, green provided abundance, white symbolized purity, and red stood for strong emotion.

The Pennsylvania Dutch enjoyed incorporating folk art throughout their homes and farms. Folk art incorporated a strong connection between the Pennsylvania Dutch people and the nature around them. They often added folk art designs to birth certificates, marriage certificates, utensils, plates, furniture, and even tombstones. These farmers also painted designs on doors and walls in their homes.

Another area of Pennsylvania, Near Allentown in Northern Berks County, boasts of a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Sign Tour. Also called Barn art, the hex sign area includes all of Berks and Lehigh, and portions of seven adjacent counties. The heaviest concentrations are found in the area of Old Route 22-The Hex Tour Highway.

The tour is self-guided, and the route is 47 miles. I have never taken the tour but that say you should really think of this as an opportunity to get lost in Berks County. 

Supplies:  GSLC Double Layer Wire Frame Tulip, GSLC Triple Layered Frame-Coming Soon, Yellow, Gold, Blue, Red acrylic Paints, Paintbrush, Thin Cardboard, UHU GlueStick, Prepared Digital Images, DecoArt One Step Crackle, Ground Cinnamon, Matte Gel Medium

I cannot wait to see your interpretation of this project. Share it on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group Page on Facebook. I would love to see what new creations you are working on!

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