Thursday, February 13, 2014
Her Silk Majestic Flags
The Identity of a Ship was and is wrapped up in its Silk Majestic Flags
A ship with many Flags by Kolene Spicher
Where it's from, and where it's going is anybody's guess!
Because different flags mean different things to different people, it's hard to say what this ship is saying. It was one of my more crazy moments, I think, to paint something with so many flags. I guess I just wanted it to be folky. I believe that I succeeded-Ha!
During the 19th and 20th centuries a host of flags began to appear. These flags represented governments, officials, rank, schools, universities, trades, unions and even different types of fun. They were on buildings and ships and in schools! They were primarily made out of silk because silk was strong and light weight. Long before they appeared in Europe, they were used in China. The Chinese were among the first to make flags out of fabric and attach them sideways to a staff to form a banner. On a ship they represented the different ports of call. They have different functions, usage, and even shapes. They even had flags that identified what the ships were carrying as well as if there was a doctor on board. There are indoor flags and outdoor flags.
Flags were and are used to signal if majesty is present, such as the Queen of England. Sometimes they are "Half-mast" meaning they are much below the normal position, usually as a sign of mourning. We even salute the flag. Each of our states in the United States of America have their own flag. So you can see, flags represent something and have importance.
Having said all of that, a ship with many flags--such as mine-- is saying all of that that but in Nautical TERMINOLOGY. I really don't know all the flag terms, but I do know that each ship would have a flag of the country that it came from, the country it was going to, and each port in between. They had signal flags that represented each of our letters from the alphabet and were used to alert or announce a message of importance. This ship clearly is a conundrum. I have no clue what it is saying!!
I really think this flag is folky. Look at the skeleton. This is a pirate flag and would have flown on what is a 'Pirate Ship!' I think I will paint a pirate mermaid using this flag. That will be a later post.
The picture at the bottom of the page was taken from the top of a stairway going down. It really has a clean nautical look that I really like. The frame is a reproduction antique frame that was handmade by a Pennsylvania Craftsman. This was painted on canvas.
Directly below is a closeup that I provided so that you can see the naive folky brush strokes that represent the 19th century non-academic artist! Ha, Ha, that's me!
Enjoy! It's very snowy and blustery here in Pennsylvania.