Friday, August 13, 2010

Fraktur - Quaker Wedding Certificate

©Jane Farr Calligraphy & Design LLC

I created this wedding certificate for Margaret and Geoff.  Margaret contacted me after seeing this Quaker style wedding certificate I had made.

©Jane Farr Calligraphy & Design LLC

When I first started doing Quaker style wedding certificates, I really didn't know much about them.  I learn more and more with each job.  The certificates I create are a blending of a Quaker certificate (where everyone witnessing the wedding ceremony signs the certificate) and a Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur - or more accurately: Pennsylvania (Deutsch) German Fraktur. When using the term Fraktur, calligraphers are usually referring to the German blackletter typeface and letterforms. Fraktur, meaning "broken," refers to letters formed with disjointed or broken up lines. However, Fraktur is also a term for Pennsylvania Dutch folk art drawings and illuminated certificates popular from the mid 1700s to the mid 1800s.  The beautiful and elaborate certificates usually included calligraphy in the Fraktur style.

©Jane Farr Calligraphy & Design LLC

Margaret loves Pennsylvania Folk Art and Fraktur.  She especially loves Distelfinks (birds) and requested Distelfinks in yellow and gold. She also wanted to include tulips and a tree.  I was familiar with Pennsylvania Dutch tulips and hearts, but had to do some research for a tree.  Thanks to my public library, I found some tree examples in photos of old quilts, and noticed they would often use colored circles instead of realistic flowers or fruits.

©Jane Farr Calligraphy & Design LLC

I really enjoy creating these certificates. Maybe I feel a special affinity to them because a branch of my family tree (the Buchanans) traces back to Pennsylvania Dutch country.

©Jane Farr Calligraphy & Design LLC

Margaret was wonderful to work with, and she loves her certificate.  Following is an excerpt from her "thank you" note to me.  It really touched me, and my heart goes out to her.

...the certificate you made for me and Geoff arrived with plenty of time. Thank you so much for all the care and hard work you put into it. My parents couldn't get over how gorgeous it is, and it reminded them of their own wedding certificate from Lobachsville, PA.

Three weeks after the wedding, my grandfather died unexpectedly. He was at my wedding - he danced up a storm - and signed the certificate.  It makes me happy every time I look at it.  It's truly beautiful - a work of art.

Best wishes,

Thank you, Margaret, for allowing me to share your words.
Best Wishes to you and Geoff for a lifetime of commitment to each other.

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