*AD-Gifted* A way with words – Celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday with Viking

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This post contains gifted items but all words, thoughts and creative endeavours are my own.

The written word has always been a love of mine. I would devour books in Primary school, soon saying goodbye to Biff, Chip and Kipper due to being told I had a super advanced reading age. Like many other girls my age I was a slave to Jacqueline Wilson and inspired by The Lottie Project, I would write pages and pages of a Victorian girl’s diary in my English classes.

It was in primary school where I was first introduced to Shakespeare in the way of a drama workshop. We were to learn all about A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, being a bit of a fantasist, the story suited me down to the ground.

When I advanced to high school, my love for books and storytelling continued. Most of the time I could be found hidden away with a book and I excelled in my English classes (apart from the speaking part – That I wasn’t very good at), coming away with an A in English Literature and a B in English Language.

It’s in high school that things were ramped up a notch when it came to Shakespeare – In year 8 we studied MacBeth, producing essay after essay around it’s characters and themes.

Then in year 9 we studied Romeo and Juliet for what felt like forever. As our English teacher was also a drama teacher (we had a lot of teachers who doubled up on subjects) the classes were a lot more interactive than they had been with the dreary tutor who taught us MacBeth. It was during this term that Shakespeare really came alive.

We read a scene where we had to bring it into the modern day which led to me slapping my English partner across the face (I know – And she encouraged it!) which was followed by us creating our own version of the apothecary scene where Romeo gets the posion that kills him (We decided to create something around this Little Britain sketch – Comedic geniuses, I know).

Our teacher showed us a whole new meaning behind Shakespeare’s words which led to a lifelong passion for his work…So when Viking offered to send me a box of arty goodies to create something for the bard’s birthday, I was well into it.

The box was stuffed to the brim with creative goodies – Coloured felt tips, paper, a photo frame, faux rose petals, a quote card, some scrabble tiles, an emoji-style copy of Romeo & Juliet (YOLO Juliet), a calligraphy pen and ink, a black Sharpie and even some Romeo & Juliet inspired tea.

After some mulling over I decided to create something around one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes:

To thine own self be true

Shakespeare, Hamlet

Polonius says this to his son Laertes, before Laertes leaves for Paris and the words have always stuck with me. As someone who struggles a bit with doing what’s best for me as opposed to what others want from me, it’s a good quote to remember when I need some direction – I should always do what is right for me, not for others.

Now the piece I created isn’t my finest work and I will be the first to admit that – It’s been a long time since I flexed my creative muscles – but when it came to making something with the products in the box, I knew I wanted to create something simple, based around a much loved quote. The scrabble tiles add a bit of extra depth to it and I think if I were to practise my fancy writing a little bit more (something I’m going to work on in the future), I could go on to make something pretty cool.

But it’s not a bad start is it?

It also felt like a good jumping off point when it comes to getting reacquainted with arts and crafts – I studied art at college but when I left it was goodbye pencils and paints and hello computers and office wear. This box has made me determined to get back into my doodles and makes this year!

Did you enjoy studying Shakespeare at school or would you have quite happily avoided those lessons if you could have?

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