Teresa Hicks, a descendant of Pennsylvania Germans, grew up in Lancaster County and learned early about the rich heritage of her family and neighbors. She studied graphics at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and returned to the Lancaster area to work in publishing, where she had the opportunity to design, illustrate, and do computer graphics.
In the late 1980s Hicks joined an artists’ co-op, designing and creating original pen-and-ink calligraphy pieces. When a number of folk artists joined the group, Hicks’s work began to shift back to her roots. Fraktur seemed to be a natural progression that had always intrigued her. Because she had studied the German language, she was able to decipher some early examples and found them historically and personally relevant to her work—an inspiration in their blend of text and decoration.
For the last several years, Hicks has designed fraktur house blessings, birth and marriage records, and decorative pieces using assorted dipping pens, brushes, and colored inks on fine laid papers. She gives each piece a final color wash for an aged look and frames them in distressed or grain-painted frames. She sells prints and originals at local fairs and private shows.
The desire to preserve a lost art in this electronic age compels Hicks to create these colorful pieces. Her hope is to pay tribute to her heritage by preserving the legacy of the Pennsylvania Germans.
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