"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Coat of Arms and Giveaway

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I value the most. I've read some liberating literature lately, and have been seriously pondering the last several months about what I value most in myself. I've been pondering symbolism. I've been pondering the unquenchable fire in my soul. I've been pondering my female strength. I've been pondering my ambitions.

I wanted to create a piece of art that would explain everything that means a lot to me, and had sketched out a few ideas, but what I was feeling was so big that it was hard for me to portray. Then, the perfect assignment came along that embodied what I was already working on. (Don't you just love it when the universe works out that way?) You may have noticed in my earlier post about Girls' Camp that there was a photo of a coat of arms. (Bonus points if you noticed!) We created one as a group to represent us as a whole, but we also were invited to create our own. We got a little lesson in the development of coats of arms, and what each icon, pattern, color, and element represents, then got to work:

 This is my finished piece (I used a marker to outline and colored pencils to fill in). Sure, it looks cool on its own, but I love it because of what it means to me. Would you like to know? Great, stick around. If not, you have my permission to cease reading this and I won't even be offended. Let's begin with our lesson, starting from the bottom:

The bottom section is called the foundation. It is the piece that the shield rests on. My foundation is an estoile, that 6-pointed wavy star, which means celestial. I personally base everything I value on a celestial and eternal perspective. Guiding my view and consequently my life heavenward is important to me.

Directly above the foundation is the bottom mantle, which often contains a banner with a family name or a motto. The pattern of the fringe along the motto banner is representative of the first born. Boo-yah. I borrowed the motto from the Baxter family crest, vincit veritas (truth conquers). You may be interested to know that while I married into the last name of Baxter, my great-grandma was a also a Baxter (no connection for at least 400 years back, don't worry) so I carry that Baxter legacy in my blood, too.

The shield is the main portion of the coat of arms. The shield to the arms is broken into compartments, and filled with icons called charges. The way the shield is broken into compartments has various meanings as well as the decoration around the edges. I just used a plain edge and broke mine up into four because I had approximately one million things that I wanted to include in my coat of arms and wanted to fit as much in as possible and still keep things aesthetically pleasing. The shape of the shield can also mean different things. My charges are a crescent (enlightenment), a peacock (beauty, soul, power, and knowledge), a bell (ritual), a tree (connection between heaven and earth/ life and death) and a cinquefoil (the 5-leafed icon representing hope and joy).

Next, are the supporters. There are usually two grand creatures, one on either side of the shield, that support the charges. My supporters are foxes (wit and self-defense) and they each support the shield while protecting a bee (industry) and a lamp (light, life, spirituality).

Above the shield is the top mantle, which contains a helmet and other decorative elements. My helmet is crowned with laurel leaves (my name means 'lady of victory' so I try and live up to it), and is flanked by antlers (strength and fortitude), feathers (freedom), and a serpent (female sagacity).

Lastly, the top portion of a coat of arms is called the crest, which is the pinnacle and crowning glory of the other elements. My crest contains heavenly rays as well as an owl (wisdom).

Colors also have meanings, so I used ample amounts of orange (ambition), green (joy), and gold (elevated mind).

Cool, huh! I was fascinated with this project, and it still intrigues me. I've hung mine up in a prominent place to remind myself of my goals and natural abilities. I find myself completely energized when I look at it. I've also wondered what other people would have picked for me, or what other people's strengths are that could be shown this way. This would be a great art series that I could find myself really getting into. I love symbolism!

So, I'd love to create a one-of-a-kind coat of arms for someone. Leave a comment by 10 pm on the 27th, and I'll randomly pick a commenter to win a lovely drawing similar to mine.

Now, be honest. Doesn't it make you want to create your own? If you made your own, what attribute would you be sure was represented? Don't be shy!


  1. That's super cool! I think some important attributes I would want represented would be playfulness, but also intelligence and good judgment.

    1. Playfulness and good judgement is a rare and lovely mix. You're full of awesomeness.

  2. You are so amazing with your insights. I need someone to help me figure out how to best represent ME though a crest like this!!!!

  3. I love how everything is so symbolic - it's all so interesting. You're so cool!

  4. Annnnd, the randomly-selected winner is Elaine, who said:

    You are so amazing with your insights. I need someone to help me figure out how to best represent ME though a crest like this!!!!

    I'm excited to work with you on this! It's going to be happy and incredible, just like you!

  5. I wish I would have read this post earlier! This is really cool, Laura. You are amazing. !!!