Tuesday, December 04, 2007

PA German Tuesday-Scherenschnitte & Fraktur

Don't start by telling me "Geshundheit" after reading the title. This week I'll share a couple traditional arts among the PA Germans.
SCHERENSCHNITTE
Scherenschnitte (SHARE-en-SNIT-ah) simply means 'scissor cut' and is the intricate cutting of paper into decorative forms. This is an art form which can be found in many cultures worldwide. The traditional PA German form is recognizable by its tendency to be very symmetrical, depict silhouettes of people, or use the motifs which are found in other PA German decorative arts. It is common to find modern pieces that do not adhere to the traditional patterns but which are very finely done and beautiful nonetheless. Traditional pieces were generally done with black and white paper. Modern pieces may use various colors or may even paint some of the details once they are cut.


Here are some examples of recent works done in the traditional patterns.






*image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/14739394@N00/197580725/



Here's a blogger who does some lovely modern works.

FRAKTUR

Fraktur is another PA German folk art. It is a calligraphic style and form of illustrations used commonly for documents such a birth and baptismal certificates, marriage licenses, and diplomas. Though it is rooted in German scripts, after the settlers brought it to Pennsylvania it developed distinct differences in both style and use. One of the most notable features is the broken or fractured (hence fraktur) look of the script. I tend to describe is as calligraphy done by someone with Parkinson's disease because it looks like it was done with a shaky hand. Apparently there are several different forms of Fraktur even within the USA depending upon geography, sometimes varying from one county to the next. There is also all sorts of scholarly debate on whether the artwork expresses deep symbolism or is merely decorative. Here are some examples I really like. Again, the common motifs or hearts, birds, and stylized tulips are repeated. All images are taken from http://www.frakturweb.org//.




23 comments:

Margee-Martha-Marsha Pick-One said...

This type of work always astounds and humbles me.

furiousBall said...

I'll take "stuff I could never do" for a thousand Alex

Mona said...

Ah! those are so much like Indian Filigree art. We have so much of it on the buildings and it is very much symbolic and some even represent our great Epics & folk tales!

Our main building artwork is in stone, even the calligraphy is done as stone embedding. You must see it on the surface of The Taj Mahal. It is amazing and breathtakingly beautiful.

Those pictures are really interesting! Thanks for posting them & telling us about this form of Art!

Hypersonic said...

Once again, beautiful stuff. How lucky you are to live in such a culturally rich place.

S said...

Awesome~
Loving the modern paper cuts at your blogger link!

Cooper said...

I attended college in central PA in the 70's, it was this white-bread bubble in the middle of Menonite/PA Dutch country. My friends and I stumbled upon a Menonite carpenter in the ba ck woods who made his own furniture. No lights, a gas powered generator to run a couple tools. Most of the work was done by hand. His specialty was cedar. I bought a full sized hand made cedar chest from him.....for 60 dollars. He had a full size amoire that he was selling for 110 dollars. We still have the cedar chest today and it's still in great shape. Talk about craftsmanship...

lime said...

margee, it's really something isn't it?

furiousball, for a daily double?

mona, glad you enjoyed. what little indian art i have seen is astonishing in is complexity and beauty

hypersonic, lucky to be aware of it too, fewer and fewer people know about these things

s, she has some lovely work

cooper, craftmanship indeed! you stumbled onto a treasure there!

Keyser Soze said...

Geshundheit.

Nice post. Your interview questions are up. This cranky alcoholic answers.

Charles said...

I love the paper cutting, but the calligraphy just looks way too busy. I'm the kind who thinks that art should leave something to the observer's imagination, though.

Paul Champagne said...

I've seen both types but never knew what they were called ... mostly because I never asked.

jillie said...

My pain meds have kicked in and I've read this post 3 times and I keep staring at the computer. Time to nap and THEN I'll come back to read...pffft!

Maddy said...

Hmm. I had to pop across and check what is going on. Being the technically advanced blogger that I most surely am, I subscribed to your blog on my google feed reader, and yet......no posts?

Now I am here and you have posted! I think I'm sinking back down the technological ladder again = square one.

Love the symmetry, love calligraphy, love illuminated scripts, so that would be a ten out of ten!
Cheers

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Wow....those fraktur...I don't know how to use it in a sentence. Is it a noun or verb?

Gorgeous stuff. The definition of art in my opinion.

Beach Bum said...

Absolutely amazing, I can't even begin to imagine the patience needed for such work. Thanks again for sharing some fantastic culture.

Seamus said...

My mom learned Fraktur and did all of our birth certificates - very intricate and very elaborate. They are truly treasures. :)

Sheri said...

I adore Scherenschnitte. I think it's so delicate and beautiful. I've tried doing it but I lose my patience too quickly.

I lvoe how your blog is so informative!

Moosekahl said...

That red heart image is beautiful. Thanks for sharing and edumucating all of us :)

Dorky Dad said...

Geshundheit. HAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Oh, that's hilarious! Get it? See, you told me not to say "geshundheit" and I did it anyway! I bet you never expected THAT in a comment!

I kill me.

Jocelyn said...

I can draw stick people.

Lacquer, Semi-Gloss Lacquer said...

...germans rocque...

(hiya katzie.)

-E

Theresa said...

I met a woman in Holland once who did those sort of paper cuttings, and it was an amazing thing to watch.

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Stop by my place and pick up a special award I have waiting for you there.

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