Monday, January 17, 2011

Pennsylvania DutchCraft Education - Landis Valley

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, located at 2451 Kissel Hill Road in Lancaster, is one of the great "go-to" places for learning about--or learning-- Pennsylvania Dutch culture. The teaching/learning enterprise never stops, even in deep winter. If you are interested in learning a Pennsylvania Dutch craft you might want to check into Landis Valley's Winter Institute Feb. 18-20, where you can take your choice of three-day, two-day, 0ne-day, and even half-day courses in the craft of your choice.
In the 3-day category are classes in open-hearth cooking, millinery (hat making), blacksmithing, and working with draft horses. ( My personal memories of draft horses suggest that working with them is an art, a craft and a science as well. I was too young to have to deal with the challenge in a serious, adult way.)
The 2-day courses are of a more manageable scope. They incude rug hooking, wood working, tin smithing, pine needle baskets, and introduction to Fraktur. That is the ornate kind of calligraphy, with designs and "fractured" lettering, that is so often associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch.
In the one-day category we have plant propagation, scherenschnitte (ornate designs cut out of paper with scissors), handsewn rugs, and theorem painting. Theorem paintings are made using stencils, but the results are original art rather than copies.
There is only one half-day craft course, and that is in vinegar painting. This is a way of marbleizing and producing other natural-looking designs on furniture. In addition to this, there will be half-day classes about historic machinery, caring for textiles, and historic architecture. A tour of the collections gallery also will be available.
The Winter Institute will conclude with a talk on Fraktur by expert and longtime Landis Valley instructor Jere Dickerman. Her talk, "Fraktur Over The Centuries", will be given at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening in the Visitors' Center.
Preregistration for the Institute and its courses is necessary. For further information, including fees, contact

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