Family Coat Of Arms - D.I.Y.
How to Make a Plaque of your Family Crest
Do you and your family deserve to have your own Family Crest adorning one of your walls? Have you ever thought of having one. I mean a REAL Crest on a plaque not a printed paper in a frame. Is it important to have a Family Crest in your home? Well for some people it is and it is regarded as a badge of honour. They see it as a sort of a status symbol and hang it in a prominent position on a wall in their Hall or parlour.
Apart from its intrinsic value I consider the Emblem a beautiful addition to the furnishings of the house. I got the idea of making my family crest just because I like using my hands and trying out new things. Certainly It is not because I'm exceedingly proud of my name or anything like that. Actually my surname is very common in Gozo, very much like Smith in England :) Nevertheless I made my Coat of Arms some months ago and it is now occupying a proud position above the grandfather clock in the staircase. It seems to me that the two are kind of related somehow. It goes very well with classic furniture and heavy curtains and such like. But even in a modern setting or in a mix-and-match layout it is always an interesting fixture. It is indeed a heirloom that is handed down from generation to generation.
The Family Crest or Coat of Arms is made of several parts: at the very top the Crest which could be feathers, flowers or a lion's head. Then the Helm which is a medieval helmet, a wreath or a crown in cases of royalty or nobility. The Helm is sometimes 'framed' by the Mantling which could be an elaborate arrangement of feathers, flowers or a rich mantle of cloth. The main body of the Emblem or Coat of Arms is the Shield which in the case of a sophisticated Coat of Arms is held by Supporters one on each side. These could be a Prancing Steed, a Rampant Lion or a Unicorn. At the bottom of the Shield the Motto is displayed which in the case of a Family Crest is the Surname, like Jones or Middleton.
Then there are the colours as well. They all stand for something: the white for purity and honesty, the red for bravery and courage, the green for fertility and abundance and so on.
A coat of arms originated as a unique heraldic design painted on the coat worn above the armour. Thus we have the term "coat-armour". When the knights of old were so encased in armour that there was great difficulty in identifying them, the practice was introduced of painting their insignia of honour on their shield or on their coat as an easy method of distinguishing allied from enemy soldiers. As the uses for heraldic designs expanded, other social classes who would never take part in battles began to assume Coats of Arms for themselves. Then priests and other ecclesiastical dignities followed suit and adopted Coats of Arms, mainly to be used as seals and other such insignia, and later towns and cities took up the practice as well.
Above is the Coat of Arms of Gozo. Over the shield is a mural coronet in gold with five gun-ports and a sally-port in the middle. This emblem represents Gozo as the island of the 3 Hills, its popular nickname although there are several hills in Gozo. In fact many of the quaint villages of Gozo are built on the flat hill tops.
One of the 5 Videos that explain it all
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland an individual, rather than a family, had a Coat of Arms. In those traditions Coats of Arms are legal property and are transmitted from father to son. Wives and daughters could also have Family Crests modified to a certain degree to indicate their relation to the head holder of the Crest.
On the Internet one can find many websites specializing in the origin of Surnames from all over the world, the Family Tree and other related material and one can easily find the Family Crest or the Emblem of his surname be she/he from Canada, Australia, Spain or Ireland.
There are also sites from which one can buy mugs and plates, rings and cufflinks or pendants with the Emblems printed on them. Or you can buy a print of your Family Emblem which you can then put in a frame.
My idea of a Family Crest or Coat of Arms however is something more tangible, a plaque of strengthened material like cardboard and of moderate size brightly painted with vivid colours and gold paint that merits a proud place in the home and which ANYONE can do in a few hours and at practically no cost.
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© 2012 Joseph Attard