This post contains gifted items
Happy Shakespeare Day everyone! Without a doubt one of the most important figures in both British history and in worldwide literary history, on the 23rd April every year he’s celebrated, and today I’m working with Viking to celebrate him in my very own way.
I have some really strong memories attached to Shakespeare, all in very different ways. I can still vividly recollect sitting at my desk in English class as the teacher went round the room getting everyone to read a paragraph each – I can still feel that dread and fear in the pit of my stomach, knowing it would be my turn soon, and I can feel the fire of embarrassment sweeping through my face as people heckled “We can’t hear you” as I quickly tried to read my paragraph to get the moment over and done with. But, I also have memories of a brilliant, sunny weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon last year for Ben’s birthday, visiting Shakespeare’s old haunts and being wowed that a man from such humble beginnings over 400 years ago is still such an important part of society today. I also had the pleasure of spending an evening watching the Royal Shakespeare Company performing The Merry Wives Of Windsor with the wonderful Grace last year (read her review of it here), and I think watching it being performed is definitely my favourite way of hearing his stories, although I am going to try and read some of his stuff soon and see if my brain can cope with it yet!
Anyway, Viking contacted me and said they would like to challenge me to create something in honour of the big man himself, and being an absolute stationery addicted fiend I jumped at the chance!
I’m not naturally a very creative person. I don’t have a very good minds eye – I struggle to see things unless they’re in front of me – but I was determined to really put myself to the test with this and see if I could make something that warranted being kept on display rather than hidden in a drawer or shoved straight into the recycling bin.
So how did I get on?
Well, when the package arrived I was absolutely blown away – there was so much in there for me to get to work with!
Inside was: An A4 sized photo frame, coloured paper, three sheet of papyrus style paper, a sharpie, coloured pens, letter tiles, fake rose petals, a modern text-speak book of the Hamlet story, some loose leaf tea and the most incredible calligraphy pen – when I saw it I literally gasped and whispered “Oh my god” to myself. It has to be one of the most special things I own and I am completely in love with it.
As we are moving soon (more on that in a separate post soon) I decided I wanted to try and make something that could be hung on the wall. I began researching Shakespeare quotes and after a little bit of umming and ahhing, I settled on the one I wanted. It was only after I had spent bloody hours creating my masterpiece that I found out the quote isn’t actually one of Shakespeare’s and has just been mistakenly credited to him with the passing of time.
Yep, in true Penny style, I have celebrated Shakespeare Day by using a quote that isn’t even his. Perfect.
Anyway, putting aside the fact that I am a complete idiot, let’s just focus on the fact that I managed to make something that I’m really proud of and will actually be happy to hang on the wall in our new house!
I spent a bit of time messing about with ideas – working out the spacing I needed to fit all of it on to the page, trying out the different nibs for my quill to see which size I preferred, playing with colours and designs etc.
I also accidentally drew the best dog I’ve ever drawn. Look at it!
As there is the mention of the sun and the stars I wanted to try and add some colour in by making the ‘S’ at the beginning of each word stand out, but I couldn’t make it work so I binned that idea and suddenly I found myself with a design I thought I could make work.
And so to the finished product… put together using the quill and ink, letter tiles and the rose petals to add a flash of colour – I’m so pleased with it! It’s simple but I think it looks pretty good and I’m genuinely so chuffed with myself.
It might look like a school project, but for someone who has never made anything worthy of being shown off, it’s a big thing for me and I’m over the moon with it.
Ignoring the whole nothing-to-do-with-Shakespeare thing, obviously.
A massive thank you to Viking for sending me across the box of goodies and pushing me to try something I wouldn’t usually have attempted. I had so much fun doing it! Sorry for messing up the brief entirely but y’know, the thought was there…