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If you have ever been part of a tour group, then you know that the guides might use colorful flags to signal where to catch up with the flock. I made a pair of pennants for some free and jolly tours of outdoor art in Ann Arbor.

Flags are fun; kids love to dance with them. Flags are functional. Just the other day I was awaiting delivery of garden top-soil when I had to go out; a flag marked the spot where to dump it! Have you invited a guest who has no GPS? Or are you having a party? Meeting a play-group at the park? Picking someone up at the airport? Meeting a blind date? Flags catch the eye and make things festive.


The fabric for the pennants and streamers is scrap from a hot-air-balloon manufacturer. It comes in bright colors and does not easily ravel.

grommets_1483I’m not good at setting grommets so thinking inside The (Scrap) Box I saw that the larger loose upholstery samples are sewn to sturdy stiff but flexible white plastic, printed with details about the fabric: logo, fiber content, repeat pattern and so on. But most importantly, each one of those has a pair of perfectly installed industrial strength brass grommets.

flag-detail-2_1239For each flag I cut a pair of 2-inch wide strips, including the grommets. Think of this procedure like making a sandwich: grommet strips are the bread (with printing, like butter on the inside) and the pennant like lettuce between and sticking out. Of course you don’t sew your sandwiches together, but for flags waving in wind sewing is necessary.

flag-detail-1_1250I have a boxful of defective venetian blind wands from U of M Property Disposition. Each one has a clip which is meant to attach to the mechanism which makes the slats open and close. Of course a dowel or a bamboo stick would also work: drill a hole near one end to slip a keychain through so you can secure the pennant to the pole.

flag-streamer_1238The Scrap Box often has connecter ball keychains. Most of them began as a way to hold formica or other samples together in an array of colors. I used these because they allow the pennants and streamers to flow freely around the pole. I cut a circle of rip-stop into a spiral so the streamers could catch the lightest breeze to flutter festively. I just looped them them through the top keychain.

Noticing some new artworks sprouting on downtown Ann Arbor buildings? Thank the Detroit Institute of Arts’ “Inside|Out” program.
Inside|Out temporarily displays full-sized, high-quality reproductions of DIA paintings, placed in outdoor settings.Every Saturday and Sunday (from now through June 23, 2013), walking art tours will depart the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum every half hour beginning at noon, with the last tour leaving at 2:30pm. Each 30-minute tour will cover a different selection of artworks from the Inside|Out program, and will also highlight other examples of public art found along the route. Tours are free and open to the public.Please watch the ninja demonstration of the tour flags at the top of this post. There is no guarantee that you’ll see a performance like that during any of these free tours…
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