Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Challenge of Literature - Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

It's been a while, hasn't it?! It seems that the only things that make me post right now are blog challenges - life seems to have got the better of me at the moment. But that's part of the reason I sign up for these challenges - to make myself keep creative, to challenge myself to move in new directions. 

This particular challenge to which you are tuning in today for, is Erin Prais-Hintz' The Challenge of Literature. I  love Erin's challenges - they are always SO well organised; she really pours her heart and soul into each one. We have had two Challenges of Colour and one Challenge of Music and I have loved every one! This one was my most last minute one yet, and that is saying something. I got in last night at 9pm, after starting school at 8.30, teaching through until 5.30, then moving over to the drama studio to set up for the school spring concert starting at 7. A long day! And since our wonderful trip to Cornwall (can't believe I haven't shared with you some of the amazingly inspirational places I visited....) I have been running around trying to catch my tail. 

So I got in last night, shattered (I'd been awake since 3.30am for some extremely irritating reason), and knew that I wanted to create my Challenge of Literature piece before sleeping, although I'd leave the photographing and blogging until today. Where to start....I used to be a voracious reader, but I don't read so much now - I have a subscription to audible and listen to SO MANY audio books (and yes, I know it's not the same, but it's better than not reading at all, surely?!) but somehow I felt this should be based on the written word, not the heard word. I also posted on FB that I was very last minute with this and Lesley and Erin suggested short stories or poems....my partner said "You should use something by Shakespeare as it's some celebration of his this year" {NB I don't know what this is. I tried googling 'Shakespeare' and 'Shakespeare 2012' but I can't find what resonance this particular year has with Shakespeare, other than he is of course pretty awesome every year}. Immediately I thought of one of the few sonnets that I know (partially) off by heart....Sonnet no. 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare


The reason that I know this off by heart is that when I was at primary school, a boy a couple of years above me set it to music(I went to a specialist music school) - voice and piano. And yes, primary as in 5-12 years old, he was a very young composer, but this setting still haunts me today. It was and is beautiful, and I can't think of these words without hearing the melody in my head. It still very much stands the test of time to my adult years over 20 years later. Gosh, how old I sound!

Here's my finished creation:

Available here

Instead of taking inspiration from the subject within the poem - the person whose very being dims all around them - I somehow found myself drawn to the idea of a summer's day - the rough winds shaking the darling buds of May. Shakespeare, although such a universal writer, always seems to me such a very English writer also. Now, I am not English, although I live in England - I am very much Scottish. Our nature is wild - mountainous, beautiful, sometimes stark, sometimes rich and abundant. The Highlands and Islands are like nowhere else that I know on earth. Very different from much of England and particularly middle adn southern England with which I associate Shakespeare. There is something altogether more refined and gentle about much of the English countryside - despite the mixed weather we might have in this country! And this is where this bracelet took me. A handmade copper daisy clasp from DaisyChainExtra, a handmade and stamped ceramic nugget from BoHulleyBeads
wooden 'teeth', Czech roses, vibrant aqua, gentle lilac, tiny flowers in mottled green and crystal clear...and two teardrops. 
I wanted to capture the beautiful colours which appear in British gardens - I imagined a sunshine-filled garden, with roses, sweet-peas, daisies and many other flowers for which I do not know the names....but with a gentle summer shower not so far away. Swaying trees (like the ones outside my city window right now) move with the breeze, along with the bell-like flowers 'shaking' in the wind. 
 I've knotted it all on undyed linen cord - a wonderful oatmeal shade. Rustic, yet delicate; feminine yet earthy. I am happy with it, despite it's last minute inception! Available in my etsy shop.






27 comments:

Kristen said...

I see the summers day and love it! Gorgeous work. Isn't it funny if things are set to music we tend to remember them so much better.

Amy said...

Wow - this is just as sweet as the summer day is long! I love this bracelet and it is so perfect for that poem... Well done!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

You create well under pressure! It looks like you thought about it for weeks, or longer! You have certainly captured it all, the gardens, the tears, all of the colors! And I love the clasp, it stands out just enough, but contributes to your theme. How can you go wrong with Shakespeare!? A beautiful bracelet!

Heidi Post said...

I think you did a beautiful job - and how you used actual English-made components to go with the very English Shakespeare sonnet. You absolutely captured the summer's day :)

Shaiha said...

I can't believe that you put this together at the last minute! It is gorgeous and so fitting for the piece of work that you chose.

Therese's Treasures said...

Wow Rebecca,
The bracelet inspired by Shakespeare's Summer's Day is gorgeous! I can see a summer's day in your piece all the beautiful colors of the flowers and the drops of rain from a summer shower.
Therese

Lesley said...

Well Rebecca as someone born in the south east and living about as far south as a you can go in the UK - I can totally see those soft summer days in your bracelet. In fact, I can see the summers days of xx years ago when I was studying Shakespeare and we'd head out into the school grounds to read in the fresh air...life was so much slower then - alas alack. Anyway - It's a beautiful bracelet - especially for a rush job.

Copper Diem said...

That is perfectly summery! gorgeous!

TesoriTrovati said...

Wow. The last minute certainly agrees with you Miss Rebecca! I think we were on the same schedule but on different time zones and continents. I am very impressed with the poem and the interpretation. I love the flowers and the idea of the rough vs the refined. You have captured this so well! Thank you for playing along with me. I get great joy to share these challenges with others and it means so much to me that you think so highly of mine! I love to see what you create. Enjoy the day. And squeeze in a nap, will ya?

xo
Erin

Patti Van said...

You have certainly captured the poem in your bracelet! This is truly unique, and gorgeous! And, I love your description of each entity within your piece! Beautiful job!

Niina said...

WOW so beautiful. I love it !

AntiquityTravelers said...

Hi Rebecca - I'm new to your site, but I'll be back! I really like your blog and how you write about the jewelry you make. The bracelet is awesome. I like how it has some sparkle of blue, mixed with flat blue and greens .... just like the reflection of the sun from a meadow. I grew up in the Pacific NW, much like I envision the 'rougher' coasts of the UK, Ireland or the highlands of Scotland. I try to explain to people why I like beach weather where you put on a sweater! Where the wind blows sideways and all that fresh air is rushing at you. I have a tendency to pick black and white photography for the walls - particularly those with 'moody' weather as my husband calls it. It is 'thinking' weather to me. I love your piece. That it captures both a rugged topside and a softer sparkle from beneath. Just beautiful

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Oh Rebecca, I love this piece! Anything by Shakespeare always strikes a chord in me, I can only imagine hearing it done with music... it must have been quite incredible to have stuck with you so vividly! The bracelet is so perfect for the sonnet, just so evocative of soft summer garden full of flowers and greenery. One of my fondest wishes is to own a piece of your jewelry, I feel we could be kindred spirits somehow :). Thank you for sharing the sonnet and your beautiful piece.

The Crazier Sister said...

Light, airy, sweet. Definitely something to wear on a Summer Day, Shakespeare involved or not :)

Beth Hemmila said...

One of my favorite lines: "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May"

What beautiful words and a design that seems to recreate poetry in every jangle. xoxo beth

Alice said...

What a wonderful memory that has stayed with you all these years. I'm glad you were able to finish the piece for us to see. And what a lovely piece it is! I love all the beads you chose for this piece, and it surely represents a lovely garden. The little crystal drops remind me of drops of dew on a petal.

Pine Ridge Treasures said...

Rebecca - This is last minute? You work well under pressure! Just beautiful - I can totally see the garden and the Summer day.

K Hutchinson said...

What a wonderful piece! Love how you work under pressure! You used just gorgeous elements!

Tracy said...

I just love your summer's day piece...it's beautiful as is your choice of poem.

Shannon Chomanczuk said...

I love your bracelet, the linen is perfect it reminds me of the pollen we have floating all over here on glorious Spring days.

Rose said...

First of all, as a former book seller and granddaughter of a university librarian AND professor, I can say that audio books are just as awesome as actually reading. And far better than sitting around staring at a screen all day (which, I am guilty of some days).

If you think about it, most of our first experiences with literature and the written word are from people narrating stories for us... whether it's our family or perhaps a librarian at storytime. It can be a magical way of experiencing an amazing story. True, it's a different experience from holding a book (or eReader) and giving voice to characters yourself but it can still be wonderfully exciting.

I'm hopping off my soap box now. You see, I was a book snob before... shunning the idea of audio books but well, my friend gave me the Dresden Files on my iPod and I never looked back.

NOW! Your piece. You really are my kind of designer. Czech beads AND a Shakespeare sonnet? Swoon. The teal beads make this piece summery, I think. And that clasp is wonderful. I've been afraid to use those wooden teeth beads and your piece uses them so wonderfully! Sigh. I just love your bracelet :)

Jennifer said...

Rebbecca - its so spot on! THe riotous-ness of the flowers in the garden, the earthy elements. Lovely! I will admit - Shakespeare is such a classic, an icon, I was not sure...but your interpretation is fresh and new.

A Polymer Penchant said...

I started to read just as my daughter, who is 2, came home. It occured to me she had not yet heard any Shakespeare. So I read it aloud to her and she smiled the whole while. "flower" is one of the few words she can say so as I scrolled on and looked I hear flower-flower-flower over and over again :) we really enjoyed your post!

beadrecipes said...

What a lovely bracelet Rebecca, it captures the sonnet perfectly! I really love how you've put the components together!

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Wow - I can't believe this was a last minute piece - it is stunning! Love all the different elements you used to create this stunning piece of work!

Kim said...

I think you captured a midsummer's day perfectly with that bracelet. I am usually a last minute person too, I wish I could change that. Beautiful bracelet, I love it.

SueBeads said...

It's beautiful! I love Shakespeare, too (minored in English in college with mostly Shakespeare classes!) and I think the bracelet is so perfect! I really love your interpretation!

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