Dennis Stephan, a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, earned a degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and spent 42 years in advertising, marketing, and design. At the same time, he developed a lifelong love of antiques, local history, and Pennsylvania German decorative arts.
Stephan now devotes his time to replicating hand-drawn documents that recorded marriages and births using examples of decorative writing called fraktur. Much of this work was created between 1750 and 1850, at a time when printing presses were not readily available. These highly decorative examples of original fraktur remain American folk art at its best.
His love of the art form began in 1970, when he discovered examples of
fraktur in museums and select publications. Researching the original materials, instruments, and techniques used, he replicates the original works as faithfully as possible, his primary goal being preservation of this unique art form and reviving it for contemporary application.
Stephan’s work has been selected for the Directory of Traditional American Crafts for the last several years. He sells his pieces at several local shops and select shows as well as online.