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Hexes, exes and other signs…

by Deanna Nelson | Jan 25, 2014 | blog |


The year 2014 has started rather inauspiciously! Brutally cold temperatures and reality have intruded upon our little Utopia on Zoar Road. Bring the magic back!

My favorite Christmas present this past season was a beautiful, hand-painted Hex sign from Pennsylvania Dutch country. The beauty of the barns in Pennsylvania is really unmatched except on Zoar Road (she notes with unabashed [and perhaps unjustified] pride). The older Pennsylvania Dutch barns are generally called German bank barns, I believe. I need to do some additional research—they are beautiful, and they often include decorative painting, including Hex signs. In our area, the older barns tend to be English threshing style barns, reflecting the nationality and building customs of many of the early settlers. Paul and Jeri’s barn is a particularly fine example of the English threshing style and I will write more about that barn in the coming weeks. My barn is of a later, more American genre with the roomy gambrel roof and end door in the peak with chain system for hooks to move hay off wagons and into storage. In any event, while decorative painting is not a traditional hallmark of our barns, it seems a worthy art form to adopt.

An autumn trip through some of the Pennsylvania Dutch country led to this Christmas inspiration, and I am very glad to have it. It was painted by second-generation painter, Eric Claypoole, who was featured in a New York Times article you may read here. This particular sign is called the “Daddy Hex,” and its claim to fame is, “Keeps away all famine, plague & all the evils of life.” We all need this!

Facing perhaps not famine or plague (yet!), with such a rocky start to 2014, I hurried up my installation plans. Given the high billing for preventative power, I would have installed it on the grill of my car, but it was too large, so I installed it on the barn instead. Jeri and I are already planning three larger Hex sign placements on the end wall—two traditional and one personalized for Zoar Tapatree. I am looking forward to researching sign design for the most appropriate. In the meantime, I am pretty certain I feel the Daddy Hex working. The magic is spilling back~

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