The Armorial Achievement, more commonly known as a Coat of arms is maybe one of the most iconic symbols of fantasy and medieval settings. They conjure images of nobel knights in shining armour battling for the affection of a fair maiden. Ever since I was a kid the idea of having a Coat of Arms sounded amazing and after seeing an old video from one of my favourite Youtubers Sadiversity I was inspired by his design and his openness about the design and its meanings to him.
The nature of a Coat of Arms as a visual representation of an individual means that they are inherently personal to the owner. Like Shad I’ve decided to include what’s important to me so there is some religious symbolism etc. in my Coat of Arms. I presume most people are fine with that and at the least are respectful of others beliefs even if they don’t believe them too. However, if you are totally put off by religion and religious symbolism then I can understand that and recommend you don’t read on.
Before introducing my own Coat of Arms I wanted to briefly go over what one is. Shad conveniently has an in depth video on What is a Coat of Arms for those wanting more detail. As quickly as I can put it a coat of arms or more accurately an Armorial Achievement is a symbol gifted to a nobel or someone who had performed a great deed as recognition of that achievement by the King/Queen in medieval europe. These were gifted to an individual (not a family) and could be passed down the paternal family line often being changed slightly to signify the change of ownership. As a result the term Family Crest is inaccurate.
Coat of Arms can be given to people or to companies or towns/cities and are the historical origins of modern logos. Most countries now don’t gift out coat of arms or police their use however nations like the UK with their monarchy and love of tradition still do grant coat of arms. If like me you’re British and unlike me have £8,000 to spare you can be granted a coat of arms through the College of Arms!
History lesson over, here is my own Coat of Arms!
I know pretty cool if I do say so myself 🙂 Done with watercolour and a fountain pen for detailing I’m pretty amazed with how it’s turned out! Going through the symbolism (for those interested) I will break it down into three sections: The Shield, Supporters and Motto.
The Shield is perhaps the most important part of the Coat of Arms, often used on its own. This is the part of the design that would be on a knights shield or armour.
Colour wise throughout the design I chose to use Blue and Green. The blue is a symbol of loyalty, faith and strength (as well as being my favourite colour!) Green is a symbol of joy and hope/optimism (traits I value) but for me it also symbolises my love of nature.
I chose a circle instead of a traditional shield. Ordinarily a shield is used as a symbol of the individual’s actions in combat and war. Circles, diamonds etc. were traditionally used by woman and priests (people who traditionally didn’t fight in war). Not being a fan of violence or conflict I chose the circle.
The shield’s design uses a wavy pattern (I forget the technical term), the design mirrors the flag of Cumbria (my home county) while the two green segments divided by the blue represents the journey my dad’s family had made from Italy and my mam’s from Ireland to the UK.
Over the top of the shield is a quill wrapped by a ribbon with two charms. The quill represents my love of creativity, drawing and writing, the quill is black a colour symbolising the challenges and hardship I’ve experienced. The ribbon is divided in blue and green, green to represent earth and blue to represent the imagination and also the spiritual side of the world (the two golden orbs hold the same meaning). The triple spiral present in my Coat of Arms is a celtic symbol representing my Pagan faith. The three spirals represent the various threes in nature: mind, body, spirit; Earth, sea, sky etc.
Supporters are largely decorative, however they do hold some symbolism. The Unicorn represents my hometown who has a Unicorn on its Crest and the Dragon represents my love of fantasy, magic and myths.
The motto is traditionally a phrase identifying the individual’s attitude to life, aspiration or morals.
My motto is wrapped with the same ribbons as on the shield. The Motto itself is written in my own version of runes that I use in my faith.
The words read “Create The World You See”, more or less it means be the change you want to see in the world, to use your imagination, be creative and express what is in your mind. (creating a short phrase that literally sums up yourself and your aspirations is pretty hard!)
So that’s my Coat of Arms. Making it was a pretty fun and interestingly reflective activity that fulfils those childhood desires to be a knight in shining armour! My challenge to you is to think about what your coat of arms would be? You don’t have to make or post it (unless you want to 🙂 ) but it’s a pretty interesting activity to think what your motto would be or what personal traits or beliefs you would find important enough to put on your shield. Well that and they just look cool!