Tag Archives: The Shakespeare Institute

Magic, mischief and a little ginger cat called Puck

Well here I am, back on the train on the way home after an extremely packed few days in Stratford Upon Avon.

Embarking on a few days of intensive research feels like stepping off a precipice into the unknown. I’m never quite sure where my research is going to take me and this time was no exception. But I leave with a mass of notes, images and inspiration around Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I’m hugely excited.

So now the really hard work begins. I need to take everything I’ve absorbed and pull it apart, examine it and then put it back together. In doing so, I have to somehow translate what I see as the essence of my findings into design ideas. It’s a bit daunting…I’ve reached another precipice.

But as I left The Shakespeare Institute last night, with thoughts of fairies and lovers, mischief and enchantment whirling around in my head, I experienced a bit of the magic of The Dream.

A little ginger cat appeared on the path to greet me. He apparently turned up mysteriously in the grounds of the Institute just recently and yes, he really is called Puck. I didn’t discuss any of my ideas with him, but perhaps I’ll be able to show him something next time I visit.

 

Puck

“I am that merry wanderer of the night.” Robin Goodfellow (Puck) Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 1

 

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The thing that did it for me

I began looking at how Shakespeare could inform my jewellery designs when I was in the third year of my City & Guilds.  Up until that point I had felt a bit lost – I had no real problems making a piece of jewellery, in fact I was loving it; I just struggled with inspiration. Most of the jewellers I have met use nature or architecture for inspiration and this really works for many successful designers.  It just wasn’t doing it for me.

I’m not saying I don’t find architecture or nature inspiring, I do. I just don’t feel a burning desire to make jewellery from it. I was blown away by the architecture in Dubai, I completely adored the buildings in Italy – the Duomo in Milan literally took my breath away – and I’m quite partial to the odd bunch of peonies. But inspiration for my next jewellery collection? Nope.

So that got me thinking. I needed something to inspire me and take me through my third year and beyond. I needed to find that theme or focus that would help me to find my own personal language.

Then it hit me. Why did I have to confine my source of inspiration to objects, why not find inspiration in what I love? Why not start with concepts, ideas, words, feelings? I love the theatre and I particularly love going to see Shakespeare’s plays, so why couldn’t this be my starting point?

As I sit writing this, I’m on my way up to Stratford Upon Avon to spend three days in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Library and Archive, the Shakespeare Institute and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I’ll be drawing inspiration from my surroundings, from a trip to the Theatre and from the many, many books, photographs, production records and studies of Shakespeare’s plays in performance.

When I get home, the hard work begins…turning this inspiration into jewellery. I can’t wait!

Photo taken by me

The Duomo, Milan. Both photos taken by me in August 2013