Figure 9: An eight-pointed star with maltese cross pattern in the center. He supplements his primary daytime occupation with painting as side-work. The Pennsylvania barn was the veritable canvas of agricultural expression. Verbesserter Calender aus das Jahr 1846. Heilman Collection of Patrick J. Donmoyer. The majority of the Pennsylvania Dutch established communities organized around Lutheran and Reformed congregations. And if our souls are hurried hence, Heilman Collection of Patrick J. Donmoyer, Gift of Reginald Good. This was not particularly helpful to visitors from New York, New Jersey, or California, who had neither barns, nor geographic proximity to Berks County. Once called “the most decorated” in the region, this barn is located in New Smithville, Lehigh County, close to the border with Berks. Although the certificate provides only the year of birth, many such documents record not only the day, month, and year of birth, but also the sign of the zodiac, and occasionally the ruling planet or phase of the moon under which the child was born.53. Courtesy of Patrick J. Donmoyer. The paintings are extremely advanced even for a child as precocious as Milton must have been, and the complexity of the stars is matched only by the accuracy of their rendering. An elaborately carved wooden paddle used for preparing and smoothing a rye-straw mattress tick on a nineteenth-century rope bed. 1880. Hex Signs: Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Symbols & Their Meaning. While these reflections may at first appear to be a morbid intrusion into a document celebrating new birth, for centuries among the Pennsylvania Dutch, the anticipation of death began at the very beginning of life, when infant and childhood mortality was an all too common experience; death claimed equally the young and old, the rich and poor, without prejudice for one’s achievements or station in life. Lancaster, PA: Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center, Franklin and Marshall College. Erlenbach-Zürich: Eugen Rentsch Verlag. The painters were compensated only $7.03 for the painting of the stars, which amounts to an adjusted $182.43 in today’s currency. Albany Township, Berks County. Featured Horse: French Kiss: Windchasers French Kiss. It was Dr. Alfred Shoemaker who first suggested that Hill paint his stars on commercial sign board, but it is unknown precisely when, and under what circumstances, Hill embraced this new art form. While likely mere coincidence, this suggests perhaps that religious and folk-cultural interest in the movements of the heavens, and the traditional farmer’s almanac, were at a high point among the rural Pennsylvania Dutch at that time. 59 See Donmoyer, Patrick. Barn star artists, like Johnny Claypoole (1921-2004) and his son Eric use this weathering process as a guide for restoration of the old stars. The guest curator is Patrick Donmoyer, director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. 1830. It is interesting to note that it was this development in the career of Johnny Claypoole that enabled the cross-pollination of the commercial hex sign motifs with the strictly geometric motifs found on barns. Despite this success, as Claypoole matured as an artist, his public persona gained a level of introspection and depth that was largely absent in Ott’s clever and quick-witted public persona. His geometric composition was intricate and meticulous, and he combined high-contrast colors in the star points with subtle variations in the border. Kutztown & Ober-Olm: Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. Eric typically completes six barns per year, a rate which will allow him to reach the milestone of more than one hundred barns within less than a decade. Although the decorated barns of the region have been photographed and documented in numerous waves over the years, beginning in the first half of the twentieth century,1 the landscape is in a state of constant change. Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. Although many of the celestial patterns found on Pennsylvania barns have held countless symbolic associations over the centuries, their use as traditional decorative motifs has remained constant both in Europe and the New World. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Although he did not sign his work on the front side, on the reverse of all of his stars on signboard, he stenciled his name and mailing address: “Made and Designed by Milton J. Hill Hamburg, R.D. Special financing is not available to business cardholders. These elements were the standards of Protestant houses of worship up until the Victorian era, when the Gothic Revival reaffirmed the cathedral as a desirable architectural form and the cross once again returned to church architecture, and gradually to rural Pennsylvania communities. 267.502.2600 | Privacy Policy February 19, 2021 1:00 pm. This pattern was used widely in Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States, long before the European adaptation of the motif as a German military symbol for the Third Reich during the Second World War. In this way, the Association is assisting Eric in his life’s work of bringing the ghosts of Pennsylvania’s barn stars back to lif—at a much faster rate than would otherwise be possible. Eventually, Nutting’s story evolved into the myth of the “hex sign.” It’s a hybrid word, combining the Pennsylvania Dutch word for “witch” and the English word “sign.” Journalists preferred this simplification, which was later embraced by the region’s tourist boom of the 1950s. Eric’s energy and innovation will undoubtedly continue to transform the landscape for decades to come, inspiring younger generations of painters to advance the artistry and agricultural heritage of the Pennsylvania Dutch. While the bulk of these beliefs in Pennsylvania proceed from the European traditions of the agricultural almanac, these conceptions have been liberally blended with religious attitudes. Subject to credit approval. Sutherlands paint department is full of beautiful color palettes for the inside and outside of your home. Gift of Bart Hill, nephew of Milton Hill. Spray paint can help make anything look new and Sutherlands carries a variety of colors. His name was Johnny Claypoole (1921-2004), and he eagerly sought out Johnny Ott to establish the apprenticeship. According to local legend, it is Claypoole who was credited with coining and popularizing the term “ghost” as a descriptor for historic barn stars that weathered into the wooden siding over time. Figure 30: Woven coverlet decorated with stars and floral motifs, ca. Each color layer is then applied individually starting with the lightest colors. Although the first artists kept no records of their work, wrote no firsthand accounts, and even their names are lost to the sands of time, their story is preserved in the nineteenth-century barns which still stand proudly throughout the region. While no dates or names can be found on this particular dwelling, which dates to the 1780s, a central circle in the middle of the star is large enough to have featured a date. Got a bigger paint job? Figure 42: The Distelfinkis the Pennsylvania Dutch word for a golden finch, or “thistle finch,” which feeds upon the seed of the thistle and makes nests with the down. Hill began painting this star pattern on barns in 1902 at the age of 14. A completed design lasts up to 25 years. Lancaster, PA: The New Era Printing Co. 31 Swamp Union Church in Reinholds was constructed in 1806, with four stones naming the building masters, mason, and carpenter, and three of the four stones have rosette stars in circles to accompany the inscriptions. Lower Macungie, Lehigh County. Visual qualities such as symmetry, rotation, balance, regularity, and cyclicality point to the celestial movement and progression of the stars as the source of this inspiration. 1953. Patrick Donmoyer is a fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch and an advocate for regional folk culture. We have appliance touch-up, door paint, wood stripper, concrete sealers and concrete stain. Symbols of the Church. Most common of all are the painted outlines around doors and windows, in most cases crowned with a semi-circular arc or half of a barn star, illustrating the rising sun below the dome of the heavens. 3 This survey culminated in the second volume of the Annual Publication Series of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. A birth and baptismal certificate for Benjamin Meyer (1800-1824), son of Heinrich and Mary Meyer of Miles Township, Centre County, records his birth “in the year 1800, on the 26th of August around 4 o’clock in the morning, under the Sign of the Scorpion.”54 The celestial images of the six-pointed rosette stars are notable, considering the emphasis placed upon the birth of the child under the constellation of Scorpio. After first practicing on discarded hubcaps, he eventually settled on commercial signboard. 1780, Upper Frederick Township, Montgomery County; 1816 Peter Solomon Steckel House, Egypt, North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; 1819 barn star on the Kistler barn, Greenwich Township, Berks County; an eight-pointed star in plaster on a farmhouse in Upper Macungie, Lehigh County; 1813 Joseph Peter barn, Washington Township, Lehigh County. Printed copies are available for purchase at Glencairn Museum and at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University for $10 each. The most celebrated of all of these architectural medallions is the 1819 barn blessing attributed to the Kistler family of Greenwich Township, Berks County.27 This painted wooden medallion is in all respects a highly developed forerunner to the distinctive star patterns in Northern Berks. In fact, the reason that barn stars are largely absent from Lancaster County is because the Amish do not decorate their barns as part of their religious commitment to plain living. 1950, Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”66 In all of these biblical passages, the stars in the sky are viewed as a constant, ever-present reminder of divine order, only changeable under the most momentous of circumstances. 1900 in the border region between Berks and Lehigh.91 Mercer’s notes confirm, however, that he was not describing the barn star tradition, but rather subtle apotropaic ritual marks written in chalk on the interiors of barn doors far from the public eye. 71 Selections of this manual are in the archive of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Just as humanity has marveled at the stars in the sky throughout history, and sought some sense of meaningful interpretation of their order and light, so too have these folk art depictions of the stars evoked a sense of wonder in all who behold them. Eric’s process for painting each barn is systematic. There it was anchored with hand-wrought nails to hidden “sleeper” boards in the recess behind the medallion. Heiress Paris Hilton and her entrepreneur beau Carter Reum are engaged. Not available to business cardholders. Walz’s title page depicts the celestial sphere, complete with the moon, stars, and the milky-way, surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, and the sun shining forth as a beacon from a stylized church steeple. Attends on every breath, 23 Ensminger 2003, uses the English term Folkhouse not used in Europe; European studies include the classic text, Weiss, Richard. Nutting even provides the caption, “A Witch Foot Barn” for a line drawing of a highly decorated barn that stands in Earl Township, Berks County.90. ** Offer applies only to single-receipt qualifying purchases. Eric persevered in the artistic path, and soon became his father’s partner in the business by helping with the painting of barns, and learning everything there was to know about the traditional forms and patterns. No longer visible are three sets of arches over the windows, with three crosses within the arches. 84 Newspaper article, “Hex of a Way to Make a Living.” Pittsburgh Press. Hearts depicted the seat of the human soul and its capacity to experience both mortal and divine love, while the skull, crossed bones, the hourglass, and the sickle represented the death of the body, and the harvesting of the soul.40. Like early gravestones that carefully record the dates of one’s birth and death, and a reckoning of the age of the deceased person in years, months, and days, the Adam Laux birth and baptismal provides a reflection on the ephemeral duration of a human life, demonstrating the special emphasis of time in sacred material culture. 22 Author’s 2018 surveys in the Palatinate and the Swäbische Alb; see also Ensminger 2003, and Yoder & Graves 2000. Courtesy of Harold and Esther (Hill) Derr. At the same time, he is fascinated by archeological evidence of such motifs in the ancient world, as well as the sacred geometry found in all the cultures of the world. As with many agricultural societies, the Pennsylvania Dutch possess a well-developed system of beliefs concerning the movements of the heavens and their effects on earthly processes, as well as on botanical, animal, and human affairs. The rich diversity of folk art patterns found on barns in the Dutch Country is rivaled only by the diversity of beliefs surrounding their origins, applications, and history, and this textures the regional experience and appreciation for the tradition. Courtesy of Patrick J. Donmoyer. The latest in Philippine sports news plus up-to-date info on top international teams and athletes in basketball, football, boxing, MMA and other sports. With elaborate examples located in Berks, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties, some of the most notable of these star medallions occur on English Georgian farmhouses on the upper gable apex. This intricately carved headstone reads: “Departed this life, Rosina McGartney, the daughter of John McGartney & Elizabeth his wife, born and departed May 27, 1784.” This tragic inscription is now only partially legible, having been worn away by the elements over time. Figure 19: An elaborate house blessing plaque dated 1820, with painted faux-brick border from North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. A wide variety of such inscriptions in alternate formats can be found on the gables of early nineteenth-century barns and houses throughout Pennsylvania. Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Folklife Society Archive, Myrin Library, Ursinus College. Courtesy of Patrick J. Donmoyer. Eric has taught his techniques to his two daughters, his son, his nephew, dozens of his friends, and in recent years has collaborated with Andrew Shirk and Patrick J. Donmoyer in painting barns and demonstrating at the Kutztown Folk Festival. Having come from a family of five brothers and two sisters who all grew up around their father’s artistic process, Eric is used to sharing and collaborating, encouraging his family and friends to try their hand at folk art painting. O Lord, reign over the house today. These celestial images followed early Pennsylvanians through life, offering many layers of meaning to common human experiences. This barn once stood in Bucks County, near the border with Lehigh and Montgomery, and was painted by the prolific Noah Weiss (1842-1907), a hotel proprietor, wood carver, and folk artist of the Lehigh Valley. This technique allowed him to maximize his time and effort, by providing straight score-marks to guide the edge of his brush. Unlike the painting crews of today, which are able to prepare and paint a barn with commercial paints in a matter of days, painting crews of the nineteenth century spent time preparing the paints as well as the surfaces that were to be painted. In each of these instances, the star motifs are not merely placeholders, but evidence of folk art and belief in process. The “Professor,” Johnny Ott, instructed Claypoole in the creation and layout of his repertoire of popular patterns and motifs, as well as the preparation of various materials upon which to paint, including Masonite disks, milk cans, and metal wares. Jackson Township, Lebanon County. Some of these plaques and their dated inscriptions highlight the sense of pride of ownership present in the decades immediately following the Revolution, and the emergence of a new American identity in the era of the Early Republic. 47 These stones are at Muddy Creek Lutheran Cemetery, Denver, and Bergstrasse Lutheran Church, Ephrata Township, both in Lancaster County. If thou, almighty Creator, did not there abide? Concentric circles in three shades of red formed an interior border against interlacing arcs, in four shades of blue or green, for the outer border. For an overview of Egelman’s career and interests see Winkler, Louis. Figure 38: An original star by Milton Hill, painted ca. 79 Zehner 1953, “The Hills from Hamburg.”. Only roughly four percent were members of sectarian groups, consisting of Anabaptist and Pietist Communities, including the plain communities of the Amish, the Mennonites, as well as the German Baptist Brethren and the Moravians. In both of these early Montgomery County examples, it is clear that Pennsylvania Dutch people created a hybrid of English architectural styles and Germanic features, reinforcing the notion that the culture was formed from a culmination of Pennsylvania’s diverse communities. Folklore and Superstitious Beliefs of Lebanon County: A Paper Read Before the Lebanon County Historical Society, October 20, 1905. Courtesy of the Kutztown Folk Festival. The decorated barns were a popular attraction, as they were easily visible from public roadways. Who defends from the dangers of abject poverty? ***Qualifying purchase amount must be on one receipt. Eric is interested in exploring all the possibilities of potential meanings in the designs, and remains open-minded about the history and cultural implications of the traditional patterns. Who maintains the order of the radiant stars? 87 Pittsburgh Press. 30 Kline, John Jacob. One of the earliest of these Georgian houses, located in Upper Frederick Township, Montgomery County, features two sixteen-pointed stars with split points in contrasting green and white painted on plastered medallions on either of the upper gables. 2nd Ed. 1940, Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University. Similar uses of stars are found in the alpine architecture of Switzerland and Austria, and along the border with northern Italy, as well as in Alsace, France, bordering the Rhine to the west, and across the Rhine in the Black Forest of Germany. Rarely, certain Mennonite farmers have, within the past generation, painted their barns in the Kutztown area, but this is largely because some have chosen to have their properties restored to their original states, including the stars that adorned the barns.96 The Mennonites in the Kutztown area were not the original owners of these properties, but instead are descended from Lancaster County families that purchased large tracts of land in Berks in the 1950s and 1960s. By 1951, he was painting “hex signs” in the evening hours from a side porch studio, which visitors from the hotel frequented to buy his wares. Drawing upon architectural traditions of Europe, eighteenth-century German and English-speaking immigrants from Central Europe and the British Isles had built a variety of barns in the fertile valleys of Pennsylvania before settling upon a New World form that revolutionized farming in early America.21 Standing separate from the home, the Pennsylvania barn was a two-level hybrid engineered for diversified farming operations. Throughout his life as a master painter, Milton’s process was methodical and precise. Lancaster, PA: Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center, Franklin and Marshall College, and again in Shoemaker. Donmoyer, Patrick. According to the Book of Genesis, it was on the fourth day of creation that the creator said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them serve as signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth.”63 This message is continued in the Book of Ecclesiastes, which explains, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. Barn stars were not expressions of “superstition” as the tourist literature suggested, but abstract images of the heavens, refined by generations of artistic interest in geometry and agricultural interest in the stars. Likewise, the number twelve is not only the number of the establishment of earthly spiritual authority and organization through the Apostles, it is also the number of the signs of the zodiac, the twelve-fold division of the solar year. Since the golden finch curbs the propagation of thistle, farmers have admired the bird and considered it to be good luck, and a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity. Weathered stars serve as templates for painters restoring old barns in the region. Clockwise from top left: A door panel carved with six-pointed rosettes, Keiserslautern; rosettes and a cross on the ventilators of the fifteenth-century St. Martin’s Catholic Church, Ober-Olm; 1891 house blessing inscription for Jos[eph] and Katherina (Theobald) Bootz, Oberalben; a rosette on the eave of a half-timbered home in Romersheim; an arched farmyard gate, featuring a sunrise, Oberalben; a whirling swastika on a home in Romersheim; a house blessing inscription for Karl and Katherina (Gilcher) Helm, 1883, Oberalben. Among the earliest expressions of Pennsylvania’s folk art stars still extant in today’s landscape are those which appear in the domestic and sacred architecture of the first communities established by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the southeastern part of the state. Milton learned his trade from his father, who worked with him (and eventually under him) well into the 1920s, creating a seamless continuation of tradition in the family. Pennsylvania German Tombstones: A Study in Folk Art. Verlag: Bern Paul Haupt; and Rubi, Christian. Figure 34: After 1840, when many barns were built with no stone gable to anchor a circular medallion to mark the date, artists painted these dated barn stars on the front and center of the forebay siding. Courtesy of Patrick J. Donmoyer.A classic Berks County arrangement of stars, painted trim, and decorative borders. Whether in planting or harvesting, felling trees or tilling the soil, baking bread or fermenting vinegar, breeding or slaughtering livestock, bearing children or getting married, there were believed to be appropriate days of the week, times of the month, phases of the moon, saints’ days, or alignments of celestial bodies which would either positively or negatively affect the outcome of life events.61 This system was an attempt to harmonize the progression of human life with the progression of the heavens, and was believed to be the manifestation and visible order of the divine will. (It is not in the field nor in the trees, but it must germinate in the heart, if one is to become better.). Baer’s Almanac is still widely distributed today in English only as one of the classic almanacs in the German almanac tradition. On each of these plaques, flowers and rosette stars connected by vines burst forth from an urn, a symbol of growth, emergence, and renewal, paralleling the intentions of the house blessing plaques. Although I had already started photographing barns as early as 2006, in the summer of 2008 I set out with atlases, and systematically drove every public road in Berks County to photograph and document the locations of decorated barns with original barn star paintings.3. Mindy was an Amish buggy horse from the age of 3 until she became too sore for road use a … 49 This inscription is on the reverse side of the gravestone of the child James Old (1773-1777), buried at Emanuel Lutheran Church, Brickerville. Thus Claypoole was able to participate in the artistic dialog of his era without compromising what he knew to be true about the origins of the tradition. Today Eric Claypoole has continued his father’s legacy, and has become the most prolific painter in the Dutch Country. Sutherlands has a huge selection of paint accessories and painting tools. On June 11 and 12, Hill and his assistant each put in 22 hours painting the stars, for a total of 52 ¼ hours. On the bank side of the barn, small stars or even hearts are clustered above the large wagon doors, and vertical stripes outline the dimensions of the entrances. The earliest documented structures with this arrangement dates from the 1840s and 1850s.73. Courtesy of Patrick J. Donmoyer. Later Federal style churches of the early nineteenth century continued the tradition of integrating star patterns into sacred architecture. While the Festival is his largest annual exhibition, it is also an opportunity for Eric to raise awareness for a preservation effort called the Hex Tour Association, which operates in partnership with the Festival to generate thousands of dollars to assist with subsidizing the repainting of historic barns in the area immediately surrounding Kutztown—the epicenter of the largest concentration of decorated barns anywhere in the United States. However, the lavishly illustrated covers of these guides perpetuated a misconception that the Amish painted barn stars, a fact later regretted by founding directors of the Society, who understood only too late the impact of such illustrations, seemingly sanctioned by the Society.95. Heilman Collection of Patrick J. Donmoyer. The care and detail displayed in these records of human life serves as a reminder, not only of the particulars of one’s birth, but also the brevity of life. The dialog concerning the earliest stars was utterly changed in the early 2000s when early examples were discovered, and challenged the idea that barns were only painted after 1830. Donmoyer is the author of the exhibition catalogue and also of the 2013 book, Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars. Instead of limiting his art to the commercial hex signs on signboard and tinware, Claypoole began to paint on barns whenever he could. 1953. “Folk Festival Dinkelfoodles.” Pennsylvania Dutchman, V(4):16. These payments equal the total promo purchase amount divided by the number of months in the promo period and rounded up to the next whole dollar. Eric then uses a trammel compass, a straight edge, and a triangle pattern of 30° - 60° - 90° to create a basic layout in pencil for the star pattern. Bottom: Paired house blessings painted on wooden plaques on the 1819 farmhouse of Johannes and Anna Maria Bolman, and their son Jorg Bolman, Millcreek Township, Lebanon County. 57 See “Blumme & Schtanne” in Donmoyer 2013. Nevertheless, such stars are often placed in locations that suggest a silent blessing to the structure, such as under the roof overhang or at the upper gable apex, simulating the starry heavens above. One important element that characterizes Eric’s work is his love of learning and discovery. 1995. These are combined in ways that suggest certain floral species, and were once occasionally called Lillye (lilies) or Dullebaane (tulips).12. and plague.”100 These were among a wide range of patterns that were strictly modern, and were not historically painted directly on barns. Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction was the last of the Robot Wars video games to be released. 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