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It has been said that our contemporary society desires not so much more and better of everything, but rather, a reconnection with basic spiritual truths. In studying and working with the traditional imagery of the Ephrata and other Pietists groups who are encompassed under the name Pennsylvania Dutch, I have discovered that their commitment to the earth and to God has left a profound legacy for us all.


Not unlike Native Americans, these people knew spirituality as an on-going, daily experience. The fulfillment of spiritual needs was as much a part of their everyday lives as was their work to provide for their earthly needs. There are differences, of course, as the Early American Pietists were focused on the prospect of an imminent, celestial community on earth, governed by Christ returned. The inspiration for their artistic imagery—which could be found on even the most humble of utilitarian objects—and for their hymns, was always scripture.

Why do we need the worldview of these people today? Simplicity. The idea and feeling of a God-inspired life has a basic simplicity that is incredibly powerful. In a world that only continues to grow more and more complicated with each passing day, we need more simplicity. With tremendous respect and admiration for these ancestors of ours, I have incorporated the essence and flavor of their imagery into more contemporary depictions. My goal has been, and continues to be the formation of a synthesis, to give the images of old a voice today. My use of color is broader; and the drawing and layout is slightly more modern in style. The use of humor and whimsy, while not entirely absent in the inspirational pieces, is an element natural to my own perception of the world; so, inevitably that spirit finds its place in my etchings.

I have downplayed the profuse calligraphy found in traditional "taufschein" (birth and baptismal certificates) and "vorschrift" (scriptural or hymnal texts) in order to let the images speak more fully for themselves. It should also be noted that the Pennsylvania Dutch employed a wide range of artistic styles and motifs; there was no single accepted method. As such, I feel that my own, natural style fits comfortably into their panoply of styles. More importantly, my spiritual connection with these people transcends the tremendous changes that have occurred in American life over the past two hundred years.

   
 
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