Educational Programs

Folk- Art
for the Fancy

Historic Examples

Folk Art, Watercolor and Black Lettering

Age Appropriate
Project Time

Age Appropriate

Book Mark Workshop Grades K-4

Fraktur Workshop, Grades 5-12

Project Time

Short Version: 4- 5 hours

Long Version: 5-7 hours


In recent years, as an artist I came to a realization that I was at a point of necessary growth when I asked myself, “How are my watercolors unique?”  I have felt a deep need to learn more about the traditions and ways of my people.  I’m turning my focus back to my roots, Pennsylvania German AKA PA Dutch, and Appalachia country. 

”It’s Important to know where you come from to know where you’re going.”  My husband’s pride for his culture made me question my own knowledge of my heritage, or lack of.  My quest to learn more about my ancestors took me to the Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage Center in Kutztown PA where I was able to fulfill a portion of the emptiness when I was introduced to Scherenschnitte, German paper cutting and Fraktur, German Folk-Art.  Through the tour and visit with the genealogist, I realized as a little girl I was exposed to a small portion of Fraktur when my mother sat me down and demonstrated these techniques using paint and paper to create a tulip- the “Fancy Dutch”, as we are called, were very fond of the tulip and it is a flower painted many times over in countless ways, each unique to the individual artist.

I instantly made a connection with these two forms of expression and used them as a vehicle to drive my work into a new direction that was clever and more personal to me; an approach that is all my own and explains where I come from.  The students will be also be on a journey- a quest to learn more about their heritage and incorporate that research within this project.
Design Stage...brain cells at work

>Given a piece of 140 lb water color paper, watercolors and pen and ink students will design/ compose and complete an contemporary Fraktur, incorporating at least three symbols/ images from their heritage and the three basic elements of Fraktur; Gothic Lettering, border and images.

Unit Goals

Students will be able to communicate their ancestral background and draw three symbols/ images from their heritage
Students will understand the art of Fraktur and its significance to the Pennsylvania Germans
Students will be introduced to historic examples of Fraktur and be able to list three types; birth certificate, house blessing, marriage certificate
Students will be able to define Expressionism and Symmetry
Students will be able to list the Primary and Secondary colors- color theory
Students will be able to complete a lettering exercise, practicing Gothic Lettering
Students will be able to compose a personal design that has four distinctive features of Fraktur; Gothic lettering, images, border and symmetry
Students will be able to share the story of their Fraktur, explaining the meaning of the colors & symbols

How will you assess whether the students/community members learned what you wanted them to know and be able to do?

They will demonstrate their understanding by using watercolors to paint a well composed birth certificate or family tree Fraktur, including images and border utilizing the elements of design(most specifically line, shape and symmetry) as well as writing in gothic lettering using pen and ink.  Students will present their Fraktur’s to their peers and complete a self evaluation rubric.

To receive a packet of information or schedule your fine art program with Monte and Emily Yellow Bird, please email Emily at