Flag production; the dyeing of cloth

Recently, we have come across a new word for raw material used in flag production. Although it is a common word for describing a neutral colour, it is also an adjective applied to cloth taken straight from the loom in an un-dyed, unbleached state. Griege, pronounced ‘grey,’ is a variable between beige and grey and can be dyed to any colour by the dyers, using sophisticated machinery, specialist techniques and a wealth of expertise. Today’s modern machinery and computer-assisted design led us to ponder how flags and banner fabrics were dyed in days gone by. Most notably, in the medieval period when flags were so important and possibly only ever commissioned by the very wealthy.

So how was fabric dyed then? It appears that the fabric was dyed near running water using natural dyes derived from various roots, lichens, minerals and more. The fabric was soaked in the solution and agitated many times before being ‘fixed’ with alum. The fabric was almost certainly dried outside in the heat of the day as were laundry and animal hides. Kilns were not invented until a later date. Just as flags are today, medieval flags were very colourful but only the wealthy could purchase such luxuries. Many flags and personal arms were resplendent with rich blues, crimson reds, greens, yellows and the most expensive of all, black. It seems that wool and cotton were the main fabrics at the lower end of the scale. However, the dyeing process for the more luxurious side such as silks, satins and velvet used more specialist techniques. This was due to the different up-takes of fabric fibres. For instance, the shade would be paler, especially with silk, than the same process used to dye coarse cloth.

The most difficult colour fabric dye, just as it is today, was black. Even for the wealthy, only the seriously rich could afford this luxury. When perusing the colour plates of the heraldic standards from the medieval period, it was notable that black was barely represented. Flag production has certainly moved on.

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Union Jack Flag Victory

Union Jack Flag of the United Kingdom

Union Jack Flag victory as a taxi driver from Shropshire wins the right to display the national flag on his cab.

Army veteran, Mr Basil Brockhurst, was told to remove the Union Jack Flag under a 200-page Hackney Carriage policy instituted by Shropshire Council. However, after becoming angry and upset by this demand, Mr Brockhurst approached his local councillors to look into the matter. The supposition is that the Union flag along with the St George flag has ‘Far Right’ elements and could be seen as divisive. Nevertheless, MP, Helen Morgan and councillor, Ian Nellins eventually overturned the ruling. Mr Brockhurst, now has permission to fly the nations flag from his taxi.

Some have suggested that if the Union Jack Flag has been hijacked by extremists, perhaps it is time to counteract this notion by reclaiming the Union Jack for the nation.

This may be a small victory for one man but perhaps it is the start of good common sense.

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Finland announced as the 31st member to join the Western Alliance

Finnish flag

The Finnish flag, consisting of a ‘Sea Blue’ Nordic Cross on a White field, will shortly be raised at Nato Headquarters in Brussels.

Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022, fearing that they would be the next target after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year.

Although the first accepted Finnish flag was presented in 1848, the current flag was officially adopted on 29 May 1918.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters it would be “a historic and great day for NATO and for Finland.

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Exeter Excalibur 2023

Sailing Event

This annual event is hosted by Exeter University Sailing Club. The yearly sailing event is limited to 18 teams ensuring high-quality standards for all the participants. The event takes place 18 MAR AT 09:00 – 19 MAR AT 17:00 UTC at Roadford Lake Sailing Club Roadford Lake Broadwoodwidger PL16 0RL United Kingdom.

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Flags of all sizes

From our smallest Ensigns to…
…our largest flags
Image courtesy of So-Shan-Au of All Saints Church

One minute we are making large flags then the very next day we are making our smallest size.

We are always prepared to go from one extreme to another in the blink of an eye. In the world of flagmaking, our sewing machines can be swamped with huge swathes of fabric or “making dolls clothes” as one machinist put it.

The images show 18″ x 12″ for a Harbour Master and a 5yd St George Cross made for a beautiful historic church.

For this particular St George, due to the size and flagpole location, we strengthened both the hoist and the fly for extra protection.

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Coronation of King Charles

Royal Standard of King Charles
The Royal Standard

The coronation of King Charles will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, 2023. The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Royal Church, which is one of the oldest landmarks in London. King Charles will become the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned on May 2023 and will be crowned alongside his Queen Consort, Camilla.

The sovereign will be anointed, blessed and consecrated at the ancient site which is home to the banners of the medieval Order of the Bath. The Lady Chapel is home to an array of colourful hanging banners which adorn the walls and ceilings of the chapel.

Further reading; King Charles III, the new monarch.


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North Macedonia

National flag of Macedonia

North Macedonia was the last country to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Formally known as Yugoslav Republic, it officially became a NATO member on 27 March 2022. After declaring independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the country chose the name Macedonia. However, after much dispute with Greece, which also has a region called Macedonia, the new name was agreed upon after talks with the EU.

NATO is an organization of collective defence. It is a security alliance of 30 countries from North America and Europe. Its purpose is to create a special connection between these two continents, allowing them to consult, work together on security and defence issues, and coordinate international crisis management activities.

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SailGP event 2022

Marseille, France – September 20 21 & 22, 2019: Team Great Britain, during sailGP final World Series on september 20 21 & 22,. 2019 in Marseille bay, France stock image

Team Great Britain during SailGP 2019

Britain’s Ocean City will host Sail Grand Prix for the second year running. The event will take place on 30 and 31 July 2022 and is expected to attract thousands of spectators to Plymouth’s iconic waterfront.

Nine teams will go head-to-head, racing at speeds in excess of 60 mph, in hydrofoil F50 catamarans.

Watch it live on Sky Sports, youtube and UK live.

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Cowes week 2022

Dinghy Racing at cowes Week 2010 2. Keelboat racing at Cowes Week 2010 royalty free stock photos
Keelboat racing at Cowes Week 2010

The water race will take place this year from 30th July – 6th August. The traditional race, which has taken place since 1826, is a seven-day sailing regatta on the south coast’s stunning Solent. Attracting approximately 100,000 spectators, 8,000 competitors, and about 1,000 ships, it is the biggest sailing competition in Europe and one of the most significant annual sporting occasions in the UK.

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Aboriginal flag added to Sydney Harbour Bridge

Image result for aboriginal flag australia

The Aboriginal flag is to have permanent status on Australia’s iconic landmark. The NSW government made the decision earlier this year after many years of campaigning by supporters.

The flag was created in 1971 by indigenous artist Harold Thomas and now has legal and political status together with the national flag. 

The flag is divided horizontally into equal halves of black (top) and red (bottom), with a yellow circle in the centre. The black symbolises Aboriginal people, with the yellow representing the sun. The red depicts the earth and peoples’ relationship to the land.

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