Pattern Without Borders

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“Patterns Without Borders”; Flags for Our Human-Unity, 22 Hand sewn nylon flags 3’ x 5’ each

This community based project for the City of Sonoma was initially conceived in response to the events associated with the Bear Flag Rebellion of 1877, at which time the California flag was first created. The heart of this project involved working with a group of middle school students to create a series of flags to be hung in and around Sonoma’s central plaza.

Flags are often used as a means of identification. However, similar to other signs and language, the by product of this process of distinguishing, is the false notion of difference and separation. For instance, when we cut an apple in half, we might say something like, the smaller half, or the half on the right, or the one with the spot on it, etc… We do this in order to simply identify/ differentiate one half from the other. However, what is often forgotten in this process is that these two apple halves, are in reality one, sharing one fundamental nature. Consequently, this project was envisioned as a means to celebrate our diversity, while also acknowledging the underlying essence that unifies all of life, including our human communities.

The participating students were from four different Sonoma middle schools; Altimira Middle School, Adele Harrison Middle School, Woodland Star School and Sonoma Charter School. Together we searched for a common thread connecting and unifying all of life. We discovered an underlying structure that has been best expressed in terms of numbers, geometry, and mathematical proportions. We realized that mathematical patterns are fundamental to all life forms, making them a perfect means to visually express our discoveries.

We then created individual designs to be used as flags for celebrating the unique relationship between unity and diversity. The final result is an attempt to focus on that essence which makes us human beings; that fundamental core which transcends nations and borders.

With Special Thanks To : The students of Altimira Middle School, Adele Harrison Middle School, Woodland Star School and Sonoma Charter School, Peggy Fever, John Graham, Elizabeth Tashman, Shelly Willis, Vintage House and their volunteer seamstresses-Linda Arnold, Patricia Bolton, Mary Minton, Bonnie Orr, and Florence Osuma.