NY Times Published: July 22, 2006 LENHARTSVILLE, Pa., July 15 Eric A. Claypoole chases ghosts, and when he catches them he paints them into life.
Hex signs on barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country are waning, many abandoned long ago to time and weather, and now grown pale. Its how we take back tradition, Mr. Claypoole said, recounting with boyish glee the one he spotted on the side of a barn a couple of years back that turned out to be among the oldest in the country. More from NY Times
This is just one of the many articles written about Eric Claypoole. He is carrying on a long family tradition. Johnny Claypoole, his father, began painting hexsigns in 1962. Johnny was taught by the legendary Johnny Ott, the self-proclaimed "Dr. of Hexology". Johnny's career in painting hexsigns spanned nearly four decades. He was featured on the Charles Kuralt "On the Road" program and on the game show :What's my Line?". He was also a regular on the Captain Noah children's program. Johnny and Eric have been exhibiting their wares at the Kutztown Folk Festival continually since 1962.
In this video clip, Eric and Johnny are interviewed for a PBS documentary, "Expressions of Common Hands", produced in 1998.
Shortly before his father's death in 2004, Eric took over the family business, including painting the traditional designs on barns. He lectures on the history of barnstars and hexsigns as well. Eric is one of the few remaining barnstar painters in the country. Visit his gallery of designs to get a better view of this folk art tradition. If you like you can contact Eric directly to own a piece of authentic Americana.
Here are just a few of the barns and other projects Eric has recently worked on, including a 200' "Crop Hex". We hope you enjoy...