In Oct. 9-15 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Chances are if you take a drive down any Russell County street you'll spot at least one home, or more, with a decorative five-point star placed on the outside of the house where it can be easily seen.
An old home decoration, the barnstar, has seen its local popularity rise the last two to three years as many homes are displaying the decor for aesthetic value with little or no understanding of the star's origin or meaning.
Kathie Conn and Karen Hopper, operators of The Treasure Nook in Russell Springs, agreed the interest in these decorations have been on the increase as of late.
"We've been asked recently 'what's the significance with the stars?'" Hopper said.
The rustic stars originated three centuries ago in German farming communities as farmers would mount large stars on their barns with differing means of significance, according to Internet research.
With varying significance, the stars sometimes were and are hanged for good luck or just to add a touch of countrified appeal to a barn, or more recently, a home.
"We sell quite a bit of the stars," Hopper said. "We've got a lot of different ones here for sale, for both outside and inside."
Hopper said her business has sold the barnstars for two or three years when they became popular.
The barnstar's American tradition, in some cases, goes all the way back to the 1700's, and at least to the post Civil War era where a jump in the stars' popularity began in nearby Pennsylvania with Dutch and Amish populations.
Over the years, the way the stars were constructed has changed, according to barnstar collectible Web sites, as at first they were built directly into a barn and then later made as a separate wooden piece.
The last 30 years have seen the barnstars made from roofing tiles that gave them a "rough" finish. In the last two decades, though, the barnstars have taken on their most recent form as they have been made from unfinished, thin steel, so they rust more quickly and look more traditional.
"They're in with the primitive decor," Hopper said. "All of the primitive décor we sell has stars."
She said she believed that the stars became popular because they could be easily created at home, and even referenced to the days of her youth when people would use tobacco sticks to make similar stars for decoration.
The following is generally accepted as to what the various barnstar colors mean:
Black stars signifies protection and is also used to blend or bind elements together, blue stars represent peace, calmness, spirituality and protection, brown signifies Mother Earth and can also mean friendship and strength, green represents growth, fertility and success, orange signals abundance in career and projects, red means emotions, passion, charisma, lust and creativity, violet signifies things that are sacred, white means purity, power of the moon and allows energy to flow freely while yellow stars signify health in body and mind, love of man and the sun and connection to the God.
These barnstars and items of the like can be found at numerous Russell County shops and businesses and have become one of the most recognizable and sought after home decor items to come along in years.