The design came out much better than what I expected and I’m absolutely stoked about the final result.
In early 2016, I joined the ‘United Supreme Grand Chapter of Mark and Royal Arch Masons of NSW and the ACT’ the chief associated Freemasonic order in NSW. When I received the Mark degree, I was given a ‘mark’ in the same way that ancient stonemasons were as far back as the building of the Pyramids or King Solomon’s temple.
As this mark is unique – the USGC keeps a record of all marks ‘registered’ so it can never be repeated, I wanted this to form the central part of a personal seal, something that I could show people and use formally business cards etc, to help make my mark on the world.
Expanding out from this, the Square and Compasses are the classic masonic symbols which describe the individual’s attitude they should take in relation to the rest of the world. The Compasses, at the top, represent that the judgement of intentions can, in the final analysis, only be done by the individual and God, while the Square represents how we enact those intentions to the world, good or bad.
For me, find that my life is spent interacting with either the pen or the sword. As a teacher, the idea of education and interacting the world matches the pen image, while swords can be used to defend as well as as a tool for a variety of different applications.
The Eagle and the motto, similarly, both have a couple of meanings. The Eagle is an Australian Wedge-Tail, a bird that is a hunter, unlike its American, bald counterpart, and can operate in packs or alone. It is the largest bird-of-prey in Australia, fiercely protective of its family and young but social. It lines up with the motto which, translated with a little interpretations means “Not in my name, O Lord, not my name, but to you be all the glory.” As a Christian, I believe all glory should ultimately be given to God and we soar on his grace as on the wings of an eagle.
Framing everything is a book which matches all these elements. I write the story of my life which is a combination of education and fighting for what I believe to be right, which only I am capable to Judge, but God must take the credit, all under the watchful eyes of the Australian Wedge-tail Eagle, and like the book described, there are white and pure patches and frayed, torn edges mingled together.
The service with Dark Design Graphics was exceptional. I made a few, conceptual mistakes at the very beginning which Alasdair was very understanding and quick to offer good and easy solutions to that made the project work. I had planned to talk to a tattoo company as they understand what ‘unique’ truly means and I originally approached Dark Design as I saw both a Templar sleeve and because several heraldry samples, all of which really struck a chord with my history brain.
I wrote a brief and Jenn ran with it – and boy did she know how to run! Her first design was, conceptually, almost exactly what I wanted and needed only a little change to make it perfect.
By the time I got her hand-drawn design sample, I was astonished by the level of research she must have done to get to understand both Freemasonry and how colours work. The rich browns of the Eagle is something I hadn’t thought of, but she captured that with a determination in the Eagle’s eye that captures the boldness with which Mason’s walk the earth. The blueing in the elements is a colour very widely used in Freemasonry but something I had not expected to see, but it also matches the blueing found in very high-quality metal working. This shows the exceptional research Jenn did to get to that point, and I was hugely impressed.
She really read into my description to interpret elements that I had not explicitly stated but that made it pop. The use of a Roman Gladius rather than a more generic sword is something Jenn picked up from my History background, which matched the classical fountain pen perfectly.
I’ll be back to Dark Design Graphics for my next project and cannot recommend them highly enough.
James Boyce – To see the full project write-up A Freemason Personal Illustration