It’s no secret – I’m a fan of Shakespeare. And April is a special month for Shakespeare fans. April 23rd, 1616 is the day Shakespeare passed away. His final resting place is Stratford-Upon-Avon in the United Kingdom. Instead of mourning for someone we lost almost 400 years ago, I instead want to celebrate the work of his life. For the month of April, all of the Literary Paraphernalia posts will be Shakespeare themed in order to honor his memory and his work. Today’s post is all about wearable Shakespeare gear from Etsy.Com.
Kaylee Sauvey and I were both writing tutors at Fullerton College, although we first met in a poetry class. She, I, and Melanie (co-founder of this blog) all worked in the same place, were all English majors at the same school, and all had similar interests. We loved writing and we loved books.
Melanie’s love for writing and books has taken her to Portland to pursue her MA in publishing. My passions have driven me to pursue my Ph.D. so I can teach and research English around the world (hopefully). Kaylee’s passions have driven her towards law school, which may seem a bit removed from her English-major and writing-tutor roots, but fear not. Legal matters are heavily rooted in writing, and Kaylee still keeps her passions for books and reading alive with her really cool Etsy shop.
Kaylee’s favorite book growing up was The Hobbit. She has this to say about the book itself:
In the spring of 1999, during a family trip to the library (which, in itself, was a special kind of treat for me), my dad checked out a book and later that evening, he began reading aloud, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” The next pages would reveal exactly what a hobbit was, but I wanted to know more and more as each page turned. That was my introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien; the foodless dessert at the family dinner table after a feast of cabbage rolls. I even remember what we ate that evening because every detail of that moment piqued my interest and launched me into a into my own adventure from which a part of me would never completely return; I went to Middle Earth that day and now, fifteen years later, a UCLA English graduate, I can attribute my passion for literature to that fateful day when an elaborately-imagined, adventurous world bloomed before my eyes.
Over the next few years, I anticipated the Peter Jackson films. My Irish twin sister and I would sit together, books in hand, and talk about what we hoped the characters would look like before they were cast. We were Tolkien hipsters and that is the one thing for which I will continue to be firmly hipster. I didn’t like Lord of the Rings or Tolkien because everybody else did, but I liked it before my age group did. I recall standing outside of a movie theater, disappointed at a missing detail in the Fellowship of the Ring film, when an eighteen-year-old friend of mine challenged eleven-year-old me about that particular detail, insisting that I was wrong and that the film got it right. We went home and checked our books. I was right. He apologized the next day. I say this to illustrate how much of an impact Middle Earth had on me. I studied it. It became more of a reality to me than my own life. I’m sure this is the description of obsession, but aren’t the greatest minds obsessed with and passionate about something that they consider special and beautiful? What is Tolkien’s world if not those two words?
J.R.R. Tolkien rewrote my future, in a sense. He directed me down the path of studying literature. He showed me that you can be passionately obsessed with fiction. But ultimately he showed me that we are capable of more than we realize; within his stories, the smallest characters have the most impact. It’s a ripple effect. You, as a single thread in the tapestry of the world, have the power make a difference; your color can be seen and admired by those who look at it and in turn, others will be inspired and attempt to be strong and stand tall. Tolkien showed me that the journey of life is often unexpected and full of death-defying obstacles, but through perseverance and belief in yourself, you can make it through Mirkwood, you can slay a dragon, you can survive being the main course in a troll feast, and yes, you can simply walk into Mordor.
Kaylee’s love for Tolkien can be found in her Etsy shop, where she has many cool Hobbit and Lord of the Ring themed items. Her clothing is hand painted and her notebooks are hand assembled. If you’re so inclined, you can find other pop culture and literature-based goodies in her shop.
Here’s a complete list of what she offers in the way of Tolkien goods.
We scoured the internet in search of bookish T-shirts for this week’s Literary Paraphernalia post.
This T-shirt is the perfect mix of modern, vibrant colors and the classic Edgar Allen Poe.
This quote is perfect for so many reasons. Even if you’re not a huge booknerd, it still has meaning. The full quote comes from Cassandra Clare’s book Clockwork Princess.
During my undergraduate years in college, I read Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House. To this day, it’s probably one of my favorite plays. Without giving away any spoilers, A Doll’s House was quite controversial when it debuted in 1879 because the female lead, Nora, made a life-changing decision that seemed to spit in the face of typical gender roles of the time. This T-shirt is created from the classical text. You can actually read it!
I’m a bad booknerd, in the sense that I rarely go to libraries. To be fair, I think I’m doing libraries everywhere a favor—because much like with movie rentals, I can never seem to return items that I borrow. I also like giving friends old copies of books that I love—in part because I hope they’ll enjoy it as much as I did but also as an excuse to buy a new copy. But if you’re a proud library-card-holding book lover, this T-shirt comes with a library stamp graphic that you’re sure to love.