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THE STORY WITHIN THE WEAVE
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
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INDEPENDENCE DAY! 4th July
The Star-Spangled Banner (Flag of 1814) - Tartan Registration Number #13214
Created by Steven Patrick Sim, the Tartan Artisan®
Officially registered at the Scottish Register of Tartans on Independence Day 4th July 2021 (The 245th Birthday of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, 1776)
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The idea for the Star-Spangled Banner tartan was first sown in 2014, when I created the Declaration of Scottish Independence tartan. A tartan designed to not only visually represent Scotland’s two flags, but also to remember Scotland’s most treasured artefact - THE DECLARATION OF ARBROATH - an ancient and impassioned cry for a nation’s right to freedom.
It was right there and then, that I knew at some time in the future I would create a tartan representing the flag of the United States of America. A new plaid also having revolutionary significance woven within its rationale. This tartan would not only be inspired by the Red, White & Blue (…and the Stars and Stripes) …but it would also honour and remember the United States of America’s own fight for freedom, sovereignty …and independence.
The Star-Spangled Banner (Flag of 1814) tartan was officially registered at the Scottish Register of Tartans on the 4th July 2021 …on the 245th Anniversary of INDEPENDENCE DAY.
The National Day of the United States (the Fourth of July) commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States …and the birthday of the U.S.A.
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On July 4th 1776 the Continental Congress made a declaration that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states.
THE STORY WITHIN THE WEAVE
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A FLAG NAMED
…and the Birth of an Anthem!
The tartan was designed to pay tribute to the Star-Spangled Banner - the historic US flag carried during the War of 1812, and the same ‘Great Garrison Flag’ that flew over Fort McHenry during the harbour Battle of Baltimore, Sept 13th 1814.
British warships pounded the American fort for 25 hours sending a bombardment of shells and rockets. After the battle in the early dawn of Sept 14th, seeing the flag still flying, Francis Scott Key was stirred to write the poem “Defence of Fort M'Henry”. The poem not only inspired the name of the flag but also became the lyrics of the national anthem of the US. The sett is created to visually represent the Stars and Stripes (the red, white & blue of the flag), and the explosive drama of the battle.
The thread count of the design incorporates the past and present: 15 blue threads & 15 red threads represent the 15 stars & 15 stripes of the Star-Spangled Banner; 13 threads in the broad red and white stripes, and 50 threads in the dark blue field represent the present-day US Flag.
Like the poem before it, the tartan was also inspired by the Great Garrison Flag of 1814 ...which would itself become known as the Star-Spangled Banner.
"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial;
the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."
The colours in the tartan represent the national colours of the United States:
Red, HARDINESS & VALOR
White signifies PURITY and INNOCENCE
Blue, VIGILANCE, PERSEVERANCE & JUSTICE
THE TARTAN WAS DESIGNED TO VISUALLY REPRESENT THE STARS AND STRIPES OF THE US FLAG
The first pivot
The broad red stripe, and two alternating broad white stripes are each 13 threads, representing the thirteen British Colonies that joined together to declare their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in order to establish themselves as a sovereign nation.
15 red threads (in the adjacent red field) represent the fifteen stripes from the Star-Spangled Banner.
The second pivot
5 white threads represent a five pointed star, the adjacent navy and white stripes creating a twinkling effect in the pattern.
15 blue threads then represent the fifteen stars from the Star-Spangled Banner.
50 navy threads looks forward to the ‘future’ …to the modern day US flag (of which there are fifty stars). The dark blue field also becoming a quiet space in the tartan in which a single star can be seen shining in the night …representing ‘the Divine’.
Division of the two pivots
The intersection between the navy and red fields is detailed with blue, navy and scarlet stripes …creating a dynamic and explosive energy within the pattern.
This also reminds us of the bombardment of shells and fiery rockets, that illuminated the Star-Spangled Banner with a red glare during the evening of the harbour Battle of Baltimore, Sept 13th 1814.
A SECRET IN THE SETT
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As an artist I find my inspiration for a tartan in concepts and ideas of great significance. I also find myself inspired by iconic symbols and imagery. I often allude to the idea that my tartans already exist …somewhere in the fabric of the universe …and that I only have the privilege of ‘discovering’ them!
I never cease to be amazed that often after I create a design (and pattern), I then see unexpected interpretations in the tartan! I find there are sometimes ‘hidden secrets’ in the weave …and I found a secret in the Star-Spangled Banner…
THE FOUR CORNERSTONES OF THE WHITE HOUSE
…and the Constitution of the United States.
In 1792, over 20 years before the Battle of Baltimore, the first piece of the White House is laid in an elaborate Freemason ceremony. 24 hours later the cornerstone was missing, and to this day has never been found. The missing cornerstone of the White House is an enduring mystery in American culture.
The four solid white squares in the tartan (where the two broad white stripes cross) …allude to the four cornerstones of the White House, the official office and residence of the President and the First Family of the United States.
The first piece is missing… thus the four ESTABLISHED cornerstones (and therefore the Constitution of the United States) become all the more significant. It is also the ‘People’s House’ …where all Americans - it is hoped - can feel a sense of inclusion and belonging.
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
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The Star-Spangled Banner, originally 30 feet by 42 feet, is among the most treasured artefacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C, USA. The official registration of the tartan was only made possible after confirmation the Smithsonian (the owner of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag) had no objections to the name being officially registered at the Scottish Register of Tartans.*
20 red threads (in the red field adjacent to the broad white stripe) notes the year the Smithsonian was first contacted - in 2020 - seeking permission to officially register the tartan ‘Star-Spangled Banner (Flag of 1814)’. The official response was received on 22nd April 2021.
The tartan was thereafter registered on Independence Day 4th July 2021.
* No endorsements are made by the Smithsonian Institution in connection with the tartan - Star-Spangled Banner (Flag of 1814).
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Star-Spangled Banner (Flag of 1814) - Tartan Registration Number - #13214
Category - Commemorative
Tartan creation date - 14/09/2014
Registration date - 4th July 2021
UK Registered Designs: #6104320 (Colour), #6147549 (Pattern)
The Tartan is USPTO Patent Pending: #29/800,256
Star-Spangled Banner ® is a registered trademark: #UK00003667073