Chicago, IL | November 22, 2013 Enveloped by a red star, his music is drowned out by the approaching train, straining to hear his chords over the cacophony of squeals and brakes. #photojournalism #documentary #reportage #streetphotography #chicago #metro
The recent “Late for Meeting” reminded the Internet how much it loved disturbing, naked men wobbling down the streets. The creator of the gyrating man talks about finding gold in glitches.
Folk Magic: The Hex Signs of Pennsylvania
In 1952, a Berks County folk artist named Johnny Ott started painting and selling colorful, stylized discs inspired by the large, decorative stars that commonly adorned the barns across Pennsylvania German Country (still colloquially known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country). Unlike barn stars, which were painted directly on the sides of structures, the wooden hex signs, a term likely derived from the Pennsylvania German word “hexafoo” or “witch’s foot,” could be ported around and hung not just on barns, but anywhere. Ott marketed hex signs as objects of folk magic, ascribing specific meaning and power to the symbolism on the signs.
If you believe in that kind of thing, four- and five-pointed stars conjure good luck. Eight-pointed stars conjure fertility or abundance. Two distelfinks — the Pennsylvania German word for goldfinches — conjure love and happiness in marriage. Sixteen points bring prosperity. A bird of paradise means welcome. The rosettes and stars of a “Daddy Hex” ward off famine. Oaks and acorns bring strength.
Keep reading for so much more magic: Hex Signs of Pennsylvania, on Atlas Obscura!
Paper Sculptures by Calvin Nicholls
Using ordinary paper Calvin creates beautifully mind blowing 3D sculptures. Creating animals, portraits and nature scenes, each piece is more stunning than the next.
"A perfect vocation is the thing that you’re willing to stick with."
Spoon, 1530-40. Germany.
Coral was not only beautiful, it was also believed to have a range of protective properties, including the ability to ward off malignant magic. Its use in sixteenth-century cutlery shows not only the fashion for combining beautiful, natural materials with the goldsmith’s skill to make a functional, domestic object, but also suggests persisting concerns about poisoned food, a danger which the presence of coral could avert. V&A