Thursday, 10 February 2011

Some stuff from last year...

Ok, I haven't posted in a while due to being lost in an ocean of padding for the last few months.   (It's ok to make, but dull as dishwater to write about).

Then it occurred to me that I have this huge pile of stuff from last year and the year before that I could write about instead (till I get back to making something vaguely interesting).

So first up is the table cloths.  'Yawn', I hear you cry!  But these aren't just plain basic table cloths - these are pirate flag table cloths!

They're all made in linen, and the detail (the pictures) are all cut out of more linen, and sewn onto the ground.  That bit was interesting when I got to the teeth! 

This is a generic skull and crossbones, or 'Jolly Roger', used at some stage by most pirates that were operating in the 18th century.  The name Jolly Roger is thought to derive fromthe French 'jolie rouge' (or 'pretty red'), the name given to the red pirate flag.  There is an extant flag with a red ground, and a yellowish (possibly originally white) skull and crossbones.

This one is the flag used by 'Calico' Jack Rackam, and English pirate sailing in the East Indies in the  early years of the 18th century.  Obviously, it's basically another take on the Jolly Roger, but with crossed swords instead of bones.

This one is reputed to have been used by one of the most famous (and most feared) pirates of them all, Edward Teach, or Blackbeard.  There's some debate over it actually having been used by him, but it's an interesting design none the less. 

The designs on pirate flags actually have a meaning - a language if you will.  The appearance of a skeleton or skull and bones is a warning to unsuspecting crews that death is on it's way.  The hourglass signals that time is running out.  If it has wings attached, then it inidcates that time is running out quickly.  And if red appears on the flag, either as part of the design or as the background, it's a sign that no quarter will be given (i.e. that no prisoners will be taken).

So Blackbeard's flag reads that death is coming, time is running out, and that no quarter will be given to anyone on board a captured ship.  In reality, (where Edward Teach was concerned, at least), this was bravado and show - about striking such fear into people's hearts that it made his job as a pirate that bit easier.  There are no known accounts of Edward Teach ever killing, or even harming, anyone robbed by him or his shipmates. 

The last of the pirate flags I made is almost certainly mythical, (dating probably to a book from the 1920s) but again, it's an interesting design, and I used it mainly because of the red ground (which as mentioned above, was used).

This one is supposed to have belonged to Captain Moody (if it existed, which as said, is questionable - he's often associated with Christopher Moody, although they were separate people).
The translation of the flag - the arm with a knife is said to mean that force will be used - the skull and crossbones that death is coming - the hourglass that time is running out - and the wings that it's running out fast.

Definitely an interesting project (and it gave me the chance to do some piratey research).

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