Friday, November 7, 2014

Really Rather Wonderful Things

I have been wanting to share the work of Ford Hallam for some time now.  This beautifully languid film goes some way to capturing the work of this master Metal Artist.



You may find it hard to believe but I do not own a jewellery box.  If I do ever purchase one then these boxes by Sobre Tronks and Co would be top of my list.

 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ready For The Holidays?

I'm taking part in the Etsy Metal blog carnival this month which has asked Etsy Metal members to share their tips on how they get through the busy run up to Christmas.

Well, one of the reasons it has been rather quiet in and around the Hybrid Handmade blog is that I have been getting ready for Christmas since July because that is when I found out that my work was going to be published in the Notonthehighstreet Christmas gift guide.

This rather fine 162 page catalogue began falling on doormats all over the UK on Friday 25th October.

I'm on page 140, in case you were wondering
In July I began researching and purchasing new tools and machines and since the beginning of September I have been making as many components as I can in advance.  I've been told there is no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to being part of a notonthehighstreet Christmas so I'm taking no chances, belt, braces and any other holding up accessories will be employed at all times.

tools, packaging materials and bench pegs
I'm trying to keep my tools tidy....well, at least I try to tidy them away at the end of the day so at least I can reach for them and find them the next day.  I may even change by bench peg (bottom right image). Elsewhere in the studio I'm trying to streamline each process by keeping all my supplies, ribbons, mailing labels, washi tape etc boxed and compartmentalised to within an inch of its life!

I know I'm going to be spending a lot of time in my studio so recently I made a little extra effort to decorate it with a few coloured lights, pictures and I even painted a few of the walls a bright chalky white to reflect in as much of the fading autumn light as I can.

decorations
The little hanging birds in the window remind me to get outside in between intense periods of engraving and cutting, spread my wings a little and recharge for the next set of orders.

'Drop & Go'
Being totally over prepared and stocked up to the max with components is going to be no good at all if I end up wasting precious minuets lining up in my local village post office.  I'm very thankful to Chris, the most excellent postmaster, who got me all signed up with the Post Office 'Drop & Go' service.  Not only does it save me time but I get this rather fantastic orange Santa sack to put all my completed parcels in.  And yes, before you ask, I did co-ordinate my scarf to match the sack.

I have no idea how I will feel when the final posting date for Christmas comes round but I hope I can keep working with a happy heart and that the stresses and strains of being a solo entrepreneur are resolved and rationalised before I step out and celebrate this beautiful time of the year with my family and friends.

To all my fellow Etsy Metalers I wish you Bon Courage, Use the Force and just make sure all your washi tapes are lined up and you'll be fine!

If you want to see how other Etsy Metal members get ready click on the links below:

LjB Jewelry
Node Form
Beth Cyr


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wedding Lists and why I never look at them.

Oh, I love a good wedding.  I love all weddings.  What's not to love?  Sometimes it's the chance to save up and go somewhere you've never been before, a mini adventure with a big party thrown in.

There is something so poignant about two people, making a stand, in public and declaring 'I choose you, out of everyone there has ever been, you are my special person and we are going to walk into the unknown together'.

I arrive on the day, empty handed, as many of us do since the advent of the Wedding List, so there is nothing unusual, I don't arouse any suspicion, no one guesses that in fact, I am waiting for a moment, when the bride has left her bouquet unattended and the groom has got a bit hot from all his dance floor routines that he HAS to take his jacket off.  Then I pounce...stealthily, carefully, like a ninja, disguised as wedding guest.

Sometimes I take a wingman with me, a co-accomplice who I have to carefully brief before the extraction can occur.

Cuff links for the Father of the Bride, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
To obtain the leaves for this set of cufflinks I tested out a very young, but willing wingman, only 10 years old.  I must say, he excelled in his task of pretending to take pictures of the wedding cake whilst I deftly 'organised' the positioning of the bouquet. At the same time, unbeknown to the packed room of wedding revellers, I lightly caught thin stems between thumb and forefinger, plucking and then concealing a few choice specimens.

With button hole blooms and thistle fronds carefully stashed, our job was done.  The rest of the evening spread out before us and we relaxed knowing that another successful 'operation secret wedding present' mission was now complete.

Button hole blooms from the Mother of the Groom, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
Once the leaves were pressed and the petals had dried out, retaining a beautiful blush of colour from the special 'Big Day', the hard work began.

Even though no one knows I'm creating these presents, I still feel the pressure of expectation.  I have a finite resource.  If the leaves don't transfer properly into the silver they are crushed beyond redemption and can't be used again.  With these cuff links, the first attempt failed and I held my breath as the second and final leaf made its way through the rolling mill.

A perfect rose leaf from the wedding bouquet for the bride, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
The same happened with a rose leaf from the bridal bouquet leaving me with just a small section left. Thankfully it was enough to create this monogrammed necklace for the bride.  Just a little something from that special day when two people said 'I do, I do'.  A little piece from a beautiful day to wear in the present and walk with into the future.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Layers of Light (and Jimmy Choo)

Have you noticed how each place has its own particular type of light?  It's a transient quality that transforms and shifts through the seasons as the zenith waxes and wanes.

Here, the light is settling into a series of gentle layers; a gradual fading of intensity, getting quieter and more hushed as the land rolls outwards and away.  In the summer months, the distance registers more smoothly, the light is more even, but now, there is a staccato quality and so the layers present themselves, each distinct and increasing in opacity.

layers of light, September 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
Then there is a time in the late afternoon, when if the light manages to struggle through the clouds it lights up the green of these undulating wolds with an intense emerald hue.

Late Emerald Light, September 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
On the bench I've been catching a few autumn leaves, before they fall and disappear for a few months, and mixing in a few monogram elements to see how they lie together.


on the bench, September 2014
Working for notonthehighstreet.com this year really has me on my toes.  I'm working 6 months ahead and have just finalised prototypes for Valentine's Day 2015 (!).  Whilst I was doing that, the Hybrid Handmade Husband found himself chatting with Jimmy Choo at London Fashion Week (as you do).  Mr Choo was kind enough to spend time imparting wise words - what a gentleman and a scholar!

Jimmy Choo with Julian Hakes, London Fashion Week, September 2014
And so, back to the bench I go - some preparation for that time of the year that starts with 'C' that no one should really be talking about or thinking about until at least mid November....


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holiday Necklaces

Let's face it, you don't want to be sporting your grandmother's hand me down rope of pearls whilst on the beach getting sand in your sandwiches!  On occasions like these I wear a paired down assemblage of accessories.  Less is More, in life and whilst on holiday.  These are so simple, perfectly fuss free and totally beautiful in an unassuming casual way.  Come to think of it, these are ALL the qualities I strive for when I'm designing a piece!

Holiday Necklaces, August 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Learning to write

A childhood of moving around between seven different schools left me with a few gaps in my knowledge; number bonds, multiplication tables and an almost complete inability to spell were among the most noticeable voids. I mostly worked out my own systems and strategies to deal with the shortfalls and I can't say the chopping and changing has held me back in anyway.

Oh, and I also managed to miss all the classes on 'joined up writing'. This summer I therefore purchased myself a little calligraphy kit from Linea Carta (here) and decided it was high time I learned to do some proper joined up writting!

Tessellated Pebble and Thyme Branch, Cari-Jane Hakes
That said, I've been reading that some schools in Europe are beginning to phase out any kind of focus on handwritten skills, so perhaps I was just WAY ahead of my time!

Learning to Write
The summer is the perfect time to try out something new as it is that time of travelling to new places  and revisiting old haunts with new 'one year on' eyes. When the everyday routines are disrupted and rumpled new spaces seem to open up for new thoughts, concepts and learning new skills.

Are you taking the time to learn something new? Leave a link if you like to your newest pursuit in the comments below, if you feel so inclined.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to practicing my penmanship!

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