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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Arizona Tartan

A few months back I made a kilt in the Arizona state tartan for a client in (of all places) Arizona. This tartan had to be custom woven for him, and the colors of the tartan are a bit unusual, being specially selected to represent the state for which it is named.

He recently sent me an email with a link to his on-line photo album, showing pictures of himself wearing (and obviously enjoying) the kilt in and about the beautiful Arizona landscape. (I wanted to use one of those pictures here but cannot seem to get anything to upload this morning, so you'll just have to follow the link).

When most people think of Arizona, they don't immediately think of Scottish culture, but how many of you knew that the present chief of the Clan MacBean lives in Tuscon? The Caledonian Society of Arizona has held an annual Highland Games since 1968. In 1995 they commissioned Dr. Philip D. Smith Jr. (author of the Tartan For Me! books, popular at clan tents at Highland Games) to design a tartan for their state. They chose this final one from four designs.

The colors are symbolic of Arizona's geography and history. The light brown and forest green, separated by black, represent the physical make-up of the state, half desert and half forest. The overstripes on the forest green portion are yellow for gold, light blue for torquoise and copper, and red for the Native Americans. The white, green, and red on the brown portion of the tartan represents the Mexican flag.

The Arizona tartan was officially recognized by a proclamation of the state's governor in December 1995.

You can see the Arizona tartan being proudly displayed in this thread over at the X Marks the Scot forum.
--> Click Here

And this thread --> Click Here

And he even managed to post a video of himself walking around in the kilt (it's a 4-yd box pleated kilt), to show the natural swing of the pleats. Wonderful!
--> Go see the video

3 comments:

Ayin McFye said...

I love the work that you did on the Arizona Tartan there. I live in Arizona and we have a large group where we get together and have Kilt nights out on the town. If you or anyone is interested in joining us for a night out to some local Irish pubs, check out our group that we have on Yahoo Groups. Our Group name is the Sonoran Scotsmen. Again, great work on the tartan. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I have a problem: I live in Arizona and possess a sash of what I was told, and verified by Dalgleish Mills in Scotland, is the Arizona tartan. It does NOT look like the one you display, and Wikipedia, on it's US state tartans, shows yet another one! Has anyone even talked to the Lord Lyon? I realize that people can design their own tartans, but shouldn't claim them as state tartans!

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...

Anonymous,

I cannot really comment on the sash that you have, as I have not seen it. But I took at look at the Wikipedia listing of US state tartans, and what they have as Arizona does appear to be incorrect. However, that is the danger of using Wikipedia as a source -- it is only as accurate as the last person to edit the information.

Lord Lyon has no authority over tartans, and so is not involved in this in any way.

The authority to proclaim an official tartan for the state of Arizona lies with the Arizona government, and they did recognize Arizona tartan put forward by the Caledonian Society of AZ in Dec. 1995 by proclamation of the Governor. It is this tartan that I used to make my client's kilt (pictured in this post), and it also happened to be woven by Dalgliesh Mills in Selkirk, Scotland (same as your sash).

Perhaps this kilt and your sash are actually the same tartan, but appear different because of how the photo appears on your monitor?