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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

The (Hypothetical) Flag of Wangland

Updated: Feb 12

I decided to create a speculative flag for a hypothetical future where Scotland and Northern Ireland get so pissed off by Brexit they leave the United Kingdom - leaving only Wales and England (or as I prefer to call them - Wangland) behind to enjoy the many "benefits" of leaving the EU.

This textile project was inspired by my recent reading of Worth Dying For? The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall, in which he writes, ‘the words ‘Britain’ and ‘England’ are not interchangeable. For England, the dominant partner in a union of four, this has not been an issue. For others, particularly Scotland and Wales, it always has been. The shock of Brexit in the summer of 2016 has concentrated minds and many both within and without England no longer seem the realm as so blessed. If this union is no longer part of the EU, some are prepared to unravel the Union Jack and instead merge their own flag with the twelve stars of Europe’ (page 46). Scotland and Northern-Ireland both voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU (62% and 56% respectively), and therefore are rightly disgruntled about being dragged our of the EU against their will. Additionally, political parties within both countries (the SNP and Sinn Féin), make the possibility of the disolution of the United Kingdom a very possible prospect, therefore my speculation that 'Wangland' could be the future of the union is not entirely unfounded.

Marshall also discusses the desig of the Union Jack, explaining how 'after Henry VIII had united England and Wales in the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-42, Wales was deemed a principality, not a state, and thus was not depicted on the flag whatsoever – not so much as a small fire-breathing dragon anywhere’ (page 47). I felt that the lack of a dragon on the Union Jack was a discourtesy to Wales, so decided to make it a prominent feature of my hypothetical flag of 'Wangland'. I cannot claim full credit for this idea, since I have previously seen memes about 'Wangland' being the future of the UK on social media. Nonetheless, I wanted to make this fictious flag a reality.

I started by tracing out the Welsh dragon on paper and then cutting the outline out of red felt. I then spent several hours embroidering the line work onto the felt with black embroidery thread. This took far longer than I anticipated and I ran out of black thread, so had to make a trip to my local shops to buy more. This process was not helped by the problem that the only needles I had with an eye big enough for the tick embroidery thread, were not very sharp - making it a lot of effort to push the blunt needle through the felt. I managed it, but it definitely slowed down the process and also caused a lot of pain to my fingers. Ultimately, I was happy with the outcome both visually and the texture of the embroidery.

The next step was creating the body of the flag. I used show satin which I bought from my local material shop. The St. George cross was the prominent element with the Welsh flag, which has a strip of green, taking up the lower left quarter. The most difficult part of this process was getting the satin to behave itself and trying to cut and pin in it in a straight and even line. Satin seems to have a mind of its own, in this respect, and I had to do a lot of measuring and pinning to get the body of the flag looking vaguely neat. I stitched the red and green oblongs onto the white satin with a zigzag stitch which is stronger than running stitch.

The next element was cutting out the letters W-A-N-G-L-A-N-D out ouf black felt. Obviously most nation state flags do not have text on them, but I felt for the sake of the rather childish joke, it was neccessary to include the letters on the flag. I decided to cut the letters out of black felt which would be placed on the white background across the two upper quartiles. I measured the area and drew the lettering on paper using a ruler to ensure it was neat and consistent, before pinning the paper to theblack felt and cutting the letters out.

I pinned the letters and dragon in place before stitching them onto the body of the flag. I did the dragon by hand since the shape was very fiddly and I also wanted to neaten up some of the embroidery by sewing the embroidery threads into place. The lettering I did with my sewing machine, which made the process much faster, except for the curved letters (G and D) which are always a pain to negotiate on the sewing machine. My mother always told me that you could tell how good a piece of sewing was by looking at the back. As a child this would enfuriate me since my attempts at embroidery always ended with a big knotted mess at the back. However, I think I've got the hand of the sewing machine now, and was relatively pleased with the neatness of the back of this piece.

The final step was to cut the back piece and sew the two pieces together. I decided to include some ribbons on the left-hand side where the flag poles usually go, so that there was a way to attach it, if the occassion arises. Overall, I was relatively pleased with how my first attempt at making a flag turned out. - even if it took the entire weekend. I think it was worth putting in the effort to hand-embroider the dragon, since this element really adds to the textile build. I fully appreciate that this flag will offend many people, and potentially start a furious debate about Brexit, Scottish independence and the possibility of a united Ireland - but I suppose, that was what it was intended to do.

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