art > The Tertium Quid Project

Made from a Japanese fishing flag
Untitled (Apology)
Cotton blend, linen, machine pieced, hand quilted


I’m sorry. I cut up a flag. It was not a bad-looking flag. Somebody in Japan painted it by hand, but I cut it up anyway.

What have I done?

I put it back together. I made up a system, a plan, a pattern. I used as much of the material as I could, but I had to leave out a few small scraps. They didn’t fit into my plan. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to the scraps that were left out.

I also left out the fringe. There was yellow fringe on all of the edges. It was too bright. I left it out. I’m sorry.

I put this flag back together, but it’s not the thing it once was.

I left one of the kanji intact. It means, to give a gift...or to receive a gift--I’m not sure. I tried to look it up.

I took a picture of the flag before I cut it up. I’m not going to show it to you because that flag is gone. Just believe me when I say, it was not a bad-looking flag. Somebody in Japan painted it by hand.

Notes on Materials and Context

Tairyo Bata are hand-painted flags that are produced for fishing vessels in Japan. Originally they were used to communicate that a big catch was on its way back to harbor. With the advent of radio communication, the flags became obsolete, but they are still used in celebrations such as on New Year’s Day, and in the inaugural voyages of fishing vessels.

I purchased this flag from an American vendor on eBay. I'm making an effort to learn about the flag's origins, and why it ended up on eBay.