Nantucket Fraktur Painting with Karen Graves

Fraktur is a term referring to both manuscript writing and design motifs passed down through Pennsylvania Dutch settlers in the mid 1800’s. Documents were created to record vital statistics of everyday life such as births, marriages, home blessings and genealogical records. This distinctive style of folk art included motifs such as birds, flowers, hearts and other symbols of the New World.

Students will create their own version of a Fraktur incorporating details of Nantucket.  You will be able to personalize your work with names, dates, poems or writings of your choice.  To finish your piece you will learn to faux grain a frame using acrylic paints for a professional presentation.

All materials provided.


Maximum class size: 8

A move from Michigan to Sturbridge, MA brought Karen to New England and an introduction to the wonderful world of Early American Decoration. After many visits to Old Sturbridge Village she developed a love and respect for all the country painted tinware, floorcloths, decorated trays and primitive paintings. Karen became a member of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration in 1972 after submitting two pieces for judging. Since that time she has received awards in theorem painting, country painting, and bronze powder stencilling on tin and wood. Karen also teaches other Early American techniques such as gold leaf, reverse glass painting, freehand bronze, brides boxes, fractures, scherenschnitte, floorcloths, primitive painting and pen and ink applications. Karen has taught classes at Sturbridge Village, chapter meetings and the Historical Society of Early American Decoration’s annual fall workshop meetings. The past 23 years she has been busy teaching at the Handicraft Club in Providence, RI. Karen is currently serving as corresponding secretary on the board of trustees of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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