Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch Hexes; a Bit of Americana

 Making things with our own hands was a way of life in my childhood home. Mom did everything by hand. From painting my old metal bed to gathering fir boughs for wreaths and swags, to sewing her own draperies; she did it all. I think this is why I love American folk art so much. For me it speaks of home, ordinary folks, and taking what you have, as little as that may be; and using what is available to make your home cheerful and comfortable and pretty. It doesn't matter to me if its a print by Charles Wysocki, a wonderful quilt designed by Georgia Bonesteel, or an afghan crocheted by an unknown senior citizen from the Lynden Senior Center...I love it all.

And this is why I love the designs of the Pennsylvania Dutch called 'hex signs.' (A note here: the Amish and the Mennonites did not make hexes; the fancy Dutch- often Reformists and Lutherans did.)Now I know that there is some controversy among the Christian community regarding this type of art. Some say that the origin of hex art is pagan, superstitious and that the word itself comes from the German word 'hex', meaning 'witch'.  Others say that it simply comes from the word 'sechs' which is German for six- describing the oft-depicted six sided stars seen in many of the designs.  I don't want to do anything that is evil; but to me, you can make almost anything evil if you wish to. I've read all about how the nordic reindeer we love at Christmas is an ancient fertility god, that the word Easter comes from a teutonic name for a goddess, and that wreathes were once used to appease evil spirits.
My point here, is that I hang wreathes, knit nordic reindeer, celebrate Easter, and have hex signs in my kitchen. But I'm not appealing to evil spirits or gods or goddesses, or trying to invoke good luck into my home. I just like the art. What we believe is a choice. I choose to hang a wreath in remembrance of the crown of thorns worn by Christ, to wear sweaters with nordic reindeer because I love the Scandanavian design, to celebrate a day we call Easter as the resurrection of Jesus, and I like hexes because of the bright happy colors, the simple designs that anyone can draw, and because of the optimistic meanings of the signs. If you choose otherwise, I can respect that. We just disagree.

Whew! Having said all of that, I thought I'd show you some very pretty 'hex' trivets.

This design, bu Jacob Zook is called Morning Birds. The large four pointed star shaped flower indicates good fortune throughout life. The greenery symbolizes health and vitality. The Morning Birds depict health and happiness to all, and the presence of two birds suggests that true happiness may require others in your life.

 The trivet on the left with the oak leaves symbolizes strength and health in body and mind. The four colours represent the four seasons.

The maple leaf hex on the right represents appreciation of life's beauty.

I wish I had an old barn so that I could paint a hex on it. 
All of my hexes are by Jacob Zook. If you are interested in the subject, a quick google of his name with provide you with a plethora of information.


Teresa said...

They're so pretty and colorful and add a perfect touch of cheer to your kitchen.

Debora said...

Thanks for the comment Teresa. I'm just thrilled and amazed that you visited my blog. I absolutely love your writing and your photography!


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