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Creative Activities – Object 4

This object from the collection is a home-made pale green taffeta flag, with an embroidered motif England v Ireland 1908.

The match, played in Dublin, was won 5-1 by England. Linesmen signalled with these flags, which show the emblem of the country they represented. The flags were also given instead of medals. This type of flag was not made after 1914.

Sophie’s thoughts:

The museum has several different flags in its collection, but I was particularly inspired by this one because of the intricately sewn lettering and flowers. I enjoyed thinking about how much time and care had gone into making it and wondered why football stopped making such beautiful items for their games. A lost craft.
It made me consider the many different purposes of flags and how much meaning they can have. They are not only associated with sport, but also protest, identity and belonging.

Thoughts from the learning team:

I love the embroidery and the care of a workaday item. It transforms something otherwise quite ordinary, into something special.

Activity

Create a flag that supports a cause or message you believe in. It could be something to do with politics, current affairs, the environment, or a group of people you identify or empathise with. We all have a voice and standing up for things we believe in, peacefully and respectfully, can be very powerful in helping us to better understand ourselves and others.
Think about these questions while you are making your flag:

  • Why do you believe in this message or cause?
  • How do you support it?
  • In what way does it help to bring meaning to yours or other’s lives?

Materials

This activity could be done using a selection of fabrics, or paper collage materials, along with scissors and glue. You could even design something digitally if you prefer.

I decided to make my flag out of various scrap bits of fabric I had lying around – I didn’t buy anything new. I thought about the famous British artist Tracey Emin and how she creates her textiles, with patchwork style coloured lettering.
I started by cutting out a big rectangle for the background and then cut up small squares in a different colour, which my letters would then be placed on top of.

I then chose another colour fabric and started cutting out my letters, so they fitted neatly within the squares. I glued the letters onto the squares with a glue gun, but you could also easily use PVA glue, or even sew them if you enjoy sewing.

My background was quite plain, so to make it more interesting i sprayed it with blue and pink paint, mixed with water in a spray bottle. This was really fun!
You could also paint it with a paintbrush, or even cut out images or symbols to layer on top.

Once the background was dry, I stuck the letters on top and added a long bamboo cane (any stick is fine) to the edge so that the flag could be held and waved. I displayed my flag in a window for all to see my message. This felt empowering – like I was making a little bit of difference in the world.
I really hope you enjoy this activity as much as I did.