Marta Urban has held a fascination with art and hand lettering from an early age and worked as a commercial artist while in high school. Although she did not pursue art in college, she knew that her interest in art would continue to grow and evolve.
In the early 1980s, during a familiar trip to the local art museum, she saw her first fraktur and it lit the desire within her to learn more about illuminated documents. Ending a career in social services to raise her family, Urban found she could devote more time to the art form that expresses her love of lettering, folk art, and early Pennsylvania history.
Being a self-taught artist, her research led her to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the heart of “Pennsylvania Dutch” country. Her appreciation of the art form and desire to create authentic folk art led her to the methods used for originals made from 1750 to 1850. She first chooses traditional verses, which inspire the layout and design. She has been creating fraktur since 1987, doing all the work by hand, one at a time. She preserves each piece in museum-quality framing.
A lifelong resident of western Pennsylvania, Urban lives with her husband and sons in a rural farmhouse and sells her work at historical art fairs and folk art shows. Custom orders account for a large number of her one-of-a-kind pieces. Her fraktur can be found at several galleries and select shops.
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