The Artworks of Phyllis Kluger
The Eureka Flag


Right after a band of snarky soldiers rebelled against the far-off government of Mexico in 1846 and declared the province of California free and independent, they hurriedly stitched together a flag depicting a mangy grizzly bear – a formidable critter not to be messed with – and the words “California Republic” underneath and ran it up the pole to see if anyone saluted.  Mostly Californians yawned, if they noticed the flag at all.  There were a lot more bears in other places, but nobody seemed to have a more suitable idea for a flag, even after gold was discovered a few years later. and California turned into a big, overnight bonanza.

The time has come to create a new flag that captures the spirit of the most populous, picturesque, and zaniest of the United States.  Let’s call it The Eureka Flag, since the official state motto – “Eureka!” means “I have found it!” in ancient Greek (not often heard on Pacific shores) – is emblazoned across the top.  The left side is devoted to a vertical film strip, a reference to the state’s preeminence in the entertainment industry, with frames emblemizing (top to bottom) California’s Gold Rush days, the clandestine marijuana crop, Hollywood hoopla, the Spanish Mission era, Wine Country, and Gay Pride.  The main panel is dominated by the state’s iconic architectural landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, surely the most photographed span in the world, and a cornucopia overflowing with the fruits, veggies, and high-tech bounty of the Imperial and Silicon valleys – all set against a backdrop of California’s superb landscape, from the snow-capped Sierra Range to the Pacific surf.  Oh, yes – the bear is still there, at the center of the action, but his role has been reduced from superstar to bit player.
23 X 35 inches, machine & hand pieced, hand quilted, appliqué, embroidery