Some things in life are just pure joyful fun. Making a shield for myself has been one of those adventures. Or maybe, I should more accurately say, having a shield made for me.
Before the heraldry folks get up in arms (pun intended,) this isn’t any attempt at “real” heraldry – I just wanted a personal statement symbol that is beautiful to those who don’t understand the underlying message and meaningful to those who do – and that reflects my ancestry as well by the fact that it is a shield. In other words, this could go on my tombstone and I would be happy. It says “me.” It’s my graphic signature. I think of it as my own personal tattoo on paper.
I’ll be showing you in a couple of days the original purpose of the shield, but for now, let’s take a look at what a very talented graphic artist, Nick Buckingham, did for me. I’m so excited!
Nick is a member of the Magna Carta Facebook group, which is how I found him.
Nick is known for making shields for people, so I dropped him a line and gave him a very odd list of items for my shield. This is not normal heraldry. Here’s my shopping list: turtle, eagle, labyrinth – and I sent him a link to a labyrinth site. I also sent him a photo of my labyrinth so he could see why I want one, since it’s a bit of an odd request.
I also told Nick I liked purple, but wasn’t sure if he could use that successfully in a shield, especially with the very odd list I had just given him.
Just sit and think for a minute what you might expect from that list of ingredients.
Nick was very gracious, and a couple of days later, this is what I received as a first draft.
To say I was dumbstruck would be an understatement. I love this – just love it. I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect this. It captures my spirit. I never expected to love it this much!
But, being a woman, I had to play a bit and change my mind a couple of times. It’s required isn’t it?? Poor Nick!
I asked Nick what it would look like in red.
Nice, but I don’t think this is for me. But it is striking, and I do like it.
Next, we discussed the blank area at the bottom of the shield border. I suggested maybe we could add something DNAish there. I sent him some double helix links.
We tried a DNA double-helix sword. Some days I am a DNA warrior – and I have that warrior gene you know.
Not bad, but I don’t think it adds anything and I think you wind up looking at the eagle’s feet asking “what is that thing anyway?” I have a lot of good ideas when I quilt that just don’t quite work either. I tell my friends, “the quilt will tell you what it wants” and I guess shields are the same way.
But wait…what about that DNA helix sword on the red shield?
I kind of like that – better than on the purple shield anyway. But I still like the purple shield better…I think. It just feels more me.
We returned to the purple shield and added two more turtles to see if that would be pleasing.
I like this, but now I think maybe those turtles are too much and visually distract from the eagle. Plus we don’t want that eagle to reach out and grab one of the turtles. Nick is probably getting very tired of me by now, but he’s far too much of a gentleman to say anything. Has to be that Magna Carta or maybe Crusader blood in his veins!
Next, Nick inserted a couple of softer double helix strands in the borders.
Hmmm…..no. I’m beginning to wonder if DNA works in contemporary heraldry.
I asked Nick to put the turtles back, but on top of the DNA strands. Turtles climbing the double helix – that might be very interesting and symbolic.
This too sounded like a good idea, but in reality, I think I liked the very first rendition best. It truly was love at first sight!
If anything, I’m overwhelmed with several wonderful choices. Nick is just so talented and I’m so grateful for his hard work and his patience! You can really tell when someone is working in the element they are passionate about – because it shines through in the final product.
Do you think I could change my shield to go with my mood or the season maybe? Now there’s an idea. Can a woman have too many shields?
What do you think? Which shield do you like best?
And before you ask, because I know you’re going to, here’s how to contact Nick. He’s very kind and gracious, does this “on the side,” although it’s his passion. Nick is probably overwhelmed with requests – and if he wasn’t before, he will be now…so be gentle.
Nick Buckingham’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org