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 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.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Button blog hop

Welcome to Cindy Wimmer's button blog hop. My partner was the lovely Emma from Fred Bean's Nook - a fellow Brit, but one who lives over in Rhode Island. I find the idea of emigration so intriguing....I'd love to live abroad one day but I feel the moment may have passed for me....I love to hear what direction others' lives have taken in this way. Emma sent me some beautiful buttons, two matching brown carved buttons, a ceramic green heart and a stunning vintage orange flower button. It is absolutely huge and was just crying out to be a focal. Emma also sent me some stunning beaded beads but of course, they're in Manchester, not in Cornwall where I am, and I don't have any photos on my phone....needless to say they are perfectly amazing! Thanks again Emma :-)

Clearly because I am me, I left this to the very last minute! Some of you may know I've been working towards a production which took place on
Friday night. Yesterday I had to get up (slightly worse for wear...!) pack, see a friend off on the train, and then get in the car and head off to Cornwall for a holiday. Then at about 8.30 I sat down with my buttons....and came up with this:

Sweet, simple and I am genuinely very pleased with how it turned out. The leather cording is quite new to me, I haven't worked with it much before and I love the simplicity of it. It's 2mm diameter and I like that it's a bit bulkier than others I've dabbled with previously. The button didn't need much - just a bit of linen cording and some opal green czech glass beads that arrived last week.

I love it when designs just come together like this! No fuss, just a few knots and you're done. Here's the clasp:

One of those lovely carved beads and a simple loop.

Here's what I have left over for a rainy day:

Sweet. Thanks Emma! And thanks Cindy for organising this fun hop. I love buttons and it's been great to try out using some in my jewellery. Because I'm on my phone and wasn't organised enough to schedule this post, I don't have the list of other participants to add here but if you hop over to Cindy's then you'll see the list there. Off to check out what Emma's created with the buttons I sent her! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday 6 May 2012

i heart macro

If you are looking for my One Colour Crayon Post, here it is.

I haven't joined in with i heart macro for a while but I thought I'd share this shot of some earrings I made earlier this week. I haven't been too happy with my photography recently but this shot I quite like. I couldn't use it for etsy of course, but I like the angles and the fact you can see my work surface. Hope you are all having a lovely weekend - mine has been work-filled. I've had a fairly crappy week but I will tell you about it later - it's too upsetting to think about right now. Those on facebook will know why. Bronze clay flower charms by TheaToo.

studio waterstone

Saturday 5 May 2012

One Crayon Colour Blog Hop

Sally challenged us to come up with a monochromatic design in a crayon colour of our choice - I chose blue. I often work with teals, aquas and turquoises, but usually more green in tone. I love blue though. Here's my blue on blue:

a mixed media cuff

hand dyed silk ribbon -

patinated blue chain -

 enamelled flower -
gemstones, including labradorite with the most amazing blue flash I've ever seen -

Please visit the other participants and show them some love:

Hosted by:

Sally Russick


Bobbie Rafferty


Linda Landig
Renetha Stanziano
Tanya Goodwin
Amy Severino


Heather Powers


Rebecca Anderson
Hope Smitherman
Alicia Marinache
Charissa Sloper
Sandi Volpe


Jenny Davies Reazor
Elizabeth Auld


Jennifer Judd Velasquez
Lori Anderson


Diana Ptaszynski
Janice Everett



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