A sampling of my “NeoDutchy art!”
Since my family came to the colonies in the early 1700s from Germany and I knew that Floyd County Virginia was populated about that time with many German immigrants, I was curious.
A little digging showed me that while some German settlers came to the colonies directly from Germany, many came by way of Pennsylvania, where so many German immigrants landed and contributed their arts and culture to the rich mix of early colonial life.
At the time, my Lutheran forefathers and mothers settled in Germantown, PA (a part of what is now the City of Philadelphia) and the counties west of Philadelphia that are known as “Pennsylvania Dutch Country”: Lehigh, Berks, Bucks, Lebanon, and Lancaster Counties, Tourists think of this area’s barn art as Amish. It is not. Amish do not decorate barns. It is the “fancy Dutch,” like my forbears who did (and still do). “Fancy,” that is, because of their penchant for beautifully decorating furniture, homes, and barn exteriors. It is their work that has most influenced my “NeoDutchy” art and design.
Many of these pioneers came down to Floyd and Montgomery Counties and other areas of Southwestern Virginia, bringing their skills of arts, weaving, woodworking, building, and farming, My Dad loved American history and loved Floyd County. We visited these gentle mountains when we lived in Salem when I was a kid and he sometimes he came here on his own as well, to hike and enjoy nature. I think if any of our family members had come down the Shenandoah Trail pre-War of Independence, he would have known it and told me about it in our conversations about the area. But one thing he told me and I can still feel. He is happy that this is where I made my home. I don’t know why this is all so front and center for me today. It’s not his birthday or the anniversary of his passing. But sometimes you can just feel the presence of someone you love and who loves you and this is one of those days.