Monday, July 1, 2013

Quilled Pennsylvania German Design

A friend asked if I would quill a birthday present for her husband - I'd be delighted! He's a paper conservator by profession and has restored antique quillwork... how nice (and atypical) to quill for someone who is already so familiar with the technique. She requested a design that could be displayed with his collection of Pennsylvania German art pieces and sent this photo to serve as inspiration.

pennsylvania-german-folk-art

Before deciding what to quill, I set off googling Pennsylvania German and Pennsylvania Dutch (the names seem to be used interchangeably) folk art, and learned about distelfinks, the stylized goldfinches that are sometimes shown with funny head feathers.

Quilled Distelfink

They can be found on early fraktur, documents such as birth and baptismal records, that were lettered in a distinctive 'fractured' script and date from the mid-1700s. (The Free Library of Philadelphia has a very nice fraktur collection.) Often colorful distelfinks were pictured on circular hex signs too, and are still painted on red barns in southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond to this day.

quilled-distelfink-close

I decided to do a loose interpretation of a piece that is in the Pennsylvania German collection of The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, thinking that the bird would go well with the wooden ones on the chest of drawers. All in all, it was an enjoyable weekend spent quilling a traditional design... nice to step away from one's usual style every now and then!


And now let's fast forward a few hundred years... I want to show you this PANCAKE Map that Justina Yang of Fiber Lab sent as a thank you for blogging about her new line of wall art. What a great shape! Any guesses on the location?

PANCAKE-map-Philadelphia

It's Philadelphia, nearby and one of my favorite cities. Once the map is properly hung using the handy strings Justina placed on the back, it's sure to be a conversation starter... I can't wait to see the expressions of puzzled guests!


14 comments:

lulu_ma said...

such a lovely piece of work! i'm always 'awed' by your perfect scrolls - the smooth curve and how they stand sturdily... the bird is lovely, love the wings and tail especially.

craftingcreatures said...

Beautiful interpretation of Fraktur. It's amazing how it's so you yet so new too!

craftingcreatures said...

Oh I forgot to say - Wow! There's such a job? Paper Conservator!!!

Ann Martin said...

Thank you so much! My secret for standing-on-edge paper is to glue two strips together... I find the glue makes the paper nice and stiff, but not overly so.

Ann Martin said...

Thank you, and yes, there sure is!

Jan Castle said...

I would be intimidated! This is a beautiful quilled work of art and I am sure he will enjoy his birthday present!!!
Paper Hugs,
Jan

Melissa Kojima said...

I like that you put so much thought into this project and researched the bird. That makes it such a special gift. I'm sure he will enjoy it. Your Philly map is great. Yeah, it will be fun to see people puzzling over it when they visit you!

chillin with Quillin said...

gorgeous, I'm sure he will love it !!!!
Paula

Jeanne said...

What a lucky guy! Beautiful work.

Ann Martin said...

Aw, thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

congrats ann on this lovely stylized piece. i enjoyed reading about your process and research.....love how you used your signature s filigree in the piece too!! what a lovely handcrafted gift.
licia

Ann Martin said...

Thanks Licia!

BellsInSpires said...

Ann!! hi! lovely work, as usual.
also, i love justina's work, she's a genius. and speaking of philly, i just bought my vienna teng tickets for her philly concert! i'm so excited!
hope you are doing well =)

Ann Martin said...

Thanks Alena! Justina's work is exceptional, as is Vienna's. I hope all is going well for you... have to say I still miss your blog. :)

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