Distelfink

Distelfink is the delightful word for the birds in Fraktur. (The literal translation is thistle finch.)

Fraktur is folk art made by the Pennsylvania Dutch, mainly in the 1700 and 1800’s. I grew up in Pennsylvania and saw a lot of Fraktur. The ink seeped into me.

The word refers to the type of script which was used in baptismal and other documents in Germany. In the new world the Fraktur included script, and became increasingly decorative.

Fraktur were drawn with ink and watercolor and often included flowers and distelfink.

In 2016 I was in a bicycle accident and broke my arm. I was despondent because I couldn’t draw, until a friend suggested that I draw with my left hand. My left hand drawing was slow, wonky and pulled me from my sadness. I did a series of paintings I called Fracture Fraktur.

That fall I made a calendar to support the ACLU, drawn left-handed in my fracture fraktur style.

I included the lion and the lamb – made famous by Edward Hicks’s paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom.

Sales of the calendar raised a lot of money for the ACLU, so I have made one every year since then. I have continued with the same fraktur style, although I reverted to my right hand out of habit and ease.

Most of the calendar images have included the lion and the lamb.

I am currently selling the 2022 calendar called We Are All Connected. Thank you to the many people who have purchased them already.

My hope is to help heal the fractures of America with these odd frakturs. I hope you will get one by clicking here. Each calendar sells for $12, and all $12 goes to the ACLU. The printing is donated by G & H Printing, and Ingrid Savage contributes greatly to the shipping. Your many purchases add up to something larger.

Thank you for your help in this endeavor. Distelfink by distelfink!

P.S. Recently I took part in a live Instagram series called Art Out Loud OnLine, hosted by the Society of Illustrators and Enchanted Lion Books. It was archived. Please click here for a leisurely visit with me at my house and studio, along with Julian Snider and Madeline Feig.

7 responses to “Distelfink

  1. It’s so fun to see some of the art that has inspired you. I can really see it’s influence in all your art, especially the mix of images and words. Love this year’s calendar! I think the lion is roaring his approval.

    • Thank you, Bonny!
      Did you ever see the book LION by Wm. Pene Du Bois? If so, you would know that Lion says “Peep Peep”.

  2. Thanks for a great article and inspiring peep into your world – It was so interesting to see your influences and thought processes on your picture books – I have spent a lovely Sunday morning enjoying your words and pictures.

  3. love love love the one with you in the cast!!!!

  4. Pingback: nine cool things on a tuesday | Jama's Alphabet Soup

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