Fraktur by Donna Spangler
Fraktur, a Pennsylvania German art from the 1750s, began as an artistic way for families to record special events, such as weddings and births. Inspirational verses were used in Pennsylvania German schools for instruction and were given as graduation gifts to encourage students in their post-graduation life. Produced for more than a century, Fraktur exemplifies one facet of early American culture that is unique to Pennsylvania.
Each of Donna’s traditional Fraktur exhibit characteristics of an antique piece with paper stained and aged by the artist to achieve a patination typical of original Fraktur.
Donna has lived most of her life surrounded by the beauty of the central Pennsylvania mountains and the heritage of the Pennsylvania German culture. It is easy to understand why the traditional Fraktur designs-flowers, birds, vines and hearts- and the flowing letters of calligraphy have become so much a part of her life and art. For over twenty five years, Donna has enjoyed connecting today’s families with the past by creating lasting heirlooms of family trees, birth and wedding announcements, and inspirational verses that are cherished by people worldwide. She is recognized as Master Artisan by the Pennsylvania State Guild of Craftsmen and as a Traditional American Artisan by Early American Life Magazine. Donna lives in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. You can find her at http://www.pafraktur.com.
I became interested in the historic art of Fraktur as a hands-on way to blend two core interests in my life—art and history. I loved the intricate patterns of the traditional designs—the vines, flowers, birds, and angels—and used my inks and pens, watercolors, and brushes to satisfy my need to draw and paint in a disciplined manner. But soon the deeper meaning of Fraktur took hold; to inform and inspire, to record family events, to connect the generations. Fraktur has become, for me, so much more than just art and history.