In taking on the task of designing and producing a banner for our group my watchwords were: This banner should speak of who we are, the history of those who came before us, and the countryside and communities that we call home. I had much valuable consultation about what might be included, what special features exist in Smiths Falls, Westport, Perth, and in between, how a canal works, what a water tower looks like, and much more. I made various visits to photograph and research specific items. In the end of course, objects were selected and simplified for the sake of a forceful design.
Along the way many people helped me and cheered me on. I am especially grateful to Katie Hoffman and Mary Lee for the advice and encouragement they supplied when I was overwhelmed or in doubt. Sylvia Mainguy sent me some photos of other banners that helped give me a sense of what to do. My friend and master quilter, Helga Zimmerley used her skills to partially quilt the painted cloth and to print the letters as well.
I thought it would be useful to describe the various elements which are included in the design, the symbolism as I see it, and how the parts go together to make a meaningful whole.
Starting at the top we see the expanse of blue sky which brings to mind the limitless possibilities we can reach for. It was a fun part of the banner to do, as it allowed some experimentation with the fabric paints I was working with for the first time, to discover the variations in hue and texture possible in the medium. The little yellow plane, of course, comes from the waterside park in Smiths Falls where it is displayed as a reminder of WW2 pilots.
Below the sky on the left we see receding rolling hills covered in fall colour. A train rumbles along a track into the distance. There is a part of the Smiths Falls skyline, the old mill which houses the present day museum, the water tower, and other buildings. The falls are there too, beginning the banner’s reference to water in rivers and canals which connects the parts of our landscape and has played such an important role in the economic and social history of our area. I’ve greatly abstracted the workings of the lock, showing a lockkeeper (female and strong), the quarried walls, and the large wooden gates opening.
Out of the gates come several strands of water, differently coloured, which represent the canal itself, the Tay River, and the Rideau River (which finally flows into the Big Rideau Lake in Westport). A canal boat sails past three women of the past century who represent the three communities of our district.
In the centre is the tower of Perth’s town hall. Rooflines of some of the old stone houses built by the early Scottish stone masons are depicted as is Codes Mill with its modern day use as a café and meeting place.
Further to the right we pass by some watching deer, a doe and its fawn, and see the road which moves up Foley Mountain to Spy Lookout where some figures can be seen enjoying the view below from the height of the escarpment. Six church spires, a small marina with a rainbow bridge, and the water tower can all be seen in the village of Westport with the beautiful lake beyond.
In the foreground there is note of the agricultural base of our region– the Holsteins and the sheep for which Lanark County is well known. Of course there are many horses who call Perth and District home, but there is one more famous than the rest I need not name who can be seen playing on the left. The snake-rail fences which wind throughout the countryside seem to have lasted forever, and we hope the many forms of wildlife such as the Great Blue Heron, butterflies, fishes and frogs will last eternally too! The trillium may seem to be out of season, but they are blooming here to represent our province—Ontario.
have tried to use strong, bright, clear colours for the banner in keeping with the same qualities of our membership–strength, intelligence and purposefulness. I hope everyone can relate in many ways to the design and that you find it represents us well.