Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saint Andrew's Day

I have celebrated in style.  Singing songs by 'The Proclaimers' at high volume whilst happily soldering a periscope and a cabochon setting.

Ascending Ben Nevis by Gregor Samsa on flickr
I am inordinately proud of being Scottish.  In perhaps only the way a displaced Scot can feel.  In fact one of the first things I learned to say in French was "Ahh, mais non,  Je ne suis pas anglaise.  Je suis écossaise!"  I felt the distinction was incredibly important.

I have ascended Ben Nevis twice.  This majestic view of big country and wide sky is your reward for getting up half way on a clear day.  I remember feeling just incredibly impressed with my own country.  I almost wanted to tug on the sleeves of my fellow English climbers and say 'look at that, that is part of me. It's what I'm made of!'

And so to my fellow Scots, at 'home' and in far flung places all over the world, I hope you are having a great St. Andrew's day and 'lang may your lum reek!'*

*Which roughly translated means 'long may your chimney smoke' but the sentiment behind the salutation is actually to wish someone long life and prosperity....just in case you were wondering.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sketchbook on a Monday!

Pages 44 and 45, The Sketchbook Project 2011 by Cari-Jane Hakes

The Sketchbook Project, detail page 44 by Cari-Jane Hakes

"Apparently" the girl said to Cedric "you don't truly belong here till you've climbed that tower."

Cedric regarded the girl with a mixture of wide eyed shock and a nonchalant grimace.  He disliked the cold and he was afraid of heights.

The Sketchbook Project 2011, detail page 45 by Cari-Jane Hakes

Pages 46 and 47, The Sketchbook Project 2011 by Cari-Jane Hakes

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something different Sunday - The Sketchbook Project 2011

Pages 42 and 43, The Sketchbook Project 2011 by Cari-Jane Hakes

She followed the coastline, that turned into an estuary, that turned into a river.

They followed the bank until they came to a place where the river began to speed up.  It crashed and rushed around huge boulders as if it were in a terrific rush to get somewhere.

When the girl and Cedric looked up, on a distant hill they could see a tall tall tower.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Le Weekend

Ah, I wish you could all come round for tea (how beautiful is this teapot?  It has its own necklace!).   Bon weekend mes amis!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday mémoire (or, here is one I made earlier)

Wycoller Visitors Centre near Colne in Lancashire, UK.  Partly designed on the train back to London from a New Years celebration in Glasgow, Scotland.

Axonometric drawing produced for competition submission by Hakes Associates
It was one of those rare projects where the conceptual idea matched the aspirations of the client and the abilities of the contractor.  The finished constructed product mirrors the drawings produced for the competition boards.

Wycoller Barn with Visitors Centre by Hakes Associates
The barn dates back to the 16th Century.  It has been adapted and modified by many previous occupants.  This modern insertion rests lightly.  It was largely built off site by a shopfitter.  

Wycoller Barn with detail of access ramp / exhibition wall by Hakes Associates
The steel is Corten.  Over time, the humidity in the air will cause it to produce a protective layer of rust and so the modern will blend in tone with the ancient timbers.  It will however remain unapologetically modern, sharp of line and crisp of edge.

Wycoller Hall ruins & Wycoller Barn photo by Johnathan Farman

I have no doubt that in time the park organisers may construct a new visitor's centre, apart from the historical structures.  In which case, the insertion that we designed can be dismantled and taken away.  Leaving Wycoller Barn exactly the way we found it.

Wycoller Hall photo by Mickey Tage  thought to be the inspiration behind Fearndean Manor in Charlotte Brontë's Jayne Ayre.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Busy busy busy....

I have just finished packing up a number of important packages for my husband to 'courier' to England.  Some to be engraved.  Some to be given.  Some to be tested for size.  This little video by Etsy is so apt for me today.  I always take a great deal of care when I package the articles I have spent many hours creating.  I have my custom made ink stamp that I got made up for me in the summer.  I use it on any yeilding possible surface!  But in a restrained, professional way you understand.  I put in little notes, choose a card and clip them together with a special spiral paper clip.  I use ribbon - even if the contents are for a male recipient.  It just extends the whole 'giving' ritual.  I don't see why the men should miss out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mosaic Mercredi

I'm altering the format for this Mosaic Mercredi.  Each picture is a mosaic in itself.  A blast of colour and cacophonous hues to wake up your eyeballs!

Ah, that feels better doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The end of a perfect day.

Ah, the soldering gods were smiling on me today.  It flowed, metal fused, I ate warm croissants straight from the oven in celebration.

Today, 1700hrs by Cari-Jane Hakes

I miss the daylight in the winter quarters when my workshop resides.  However, I popped outside to get some natural light on a piece I had just finished. I just caught the sun going down.

Perfect days are rare.  But every day is filled with little moments of perfection.  I have had more than my fair share today.  I'm holding them close.  

The Dead Star

I keep looking back on my Pinterest board at this sculpture made from discarded batteries by Michel de Broin.

It reminds me of this

Fierce rings by Cari-Jane Hakes
and this

20,000 Leagues under the Sea necklace clasp prototype by Cari-Jane Hakes

and by implication this also.

seaweed root by Cari-Jane Hakes

He looks very at home don't you think?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Much more joy

Some where in land far far away, in a city so good they named it twice, a man asked a woman if she would like to be his wife.  She said yes.  He proposed using this ring.

Yellow Submarine Ring by Cari-Jane Hakes

Yellow Submarine Ring detail by Cari-Jane Hakes

I heard the news the following day.  Surprised, honoured and overjoyed all at the same time.  Here's to good times, long travels and deep sea diving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something different Sunday - The Sketchbook Project 2011

I've reached the middle of the Moleskine sketchbook!

Pages 40 and 41, The Sketchbook Project 2011 by Cari-Jane Hakes

Pages 42 and 43 are on the 'drawing board' and nearing completion.  The girl and Cedric have come a long way.  I've enjoyed the journey so far and have a good idea of where they will go next.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jewellery and other stories

My late Grandmother took out her jewellery box during a visit I made to her last year.  I sat, as I have done all my life, and listened to tales and stories of family and events.  Each piece had a story to tell.  Every piece had significance.  Some pieces held secrets that had not been told for over 50 years.  These stories are our heritage and I love the way that jewellery is often a vehicle for the transmission of the memories.  It keeps the words safe.  Concretes them.  Each one a metaphorical locket that can be opened and remembered from time to time.

One of the favourite parts of my occupation as a designer and maker of jewellery is that I get the chance to orchestrate the fabric that supports this history.  I feel like I am part of a tradition that stretches way back through time.  We have always told stories.  The way in which we illustrate them has evolved but the core is still the same.

Recently I was asked to make a pair of cuff links.  The surface of the silver was to be imprinted with the leaves from an important apple tree in the Netherlands.  The tree is important because it is from the recipient's childhood home.  Soon this tree will be pulled down.  Developers have been pursuing the land for 17 years.  The inhabitants have fought long and hard to keep this tree and have only recently agreed to the developers requests.

Cuff links, November 2010 by Cari-Jane Hakes
The creation of these cuff links turned out to be extremely difficult.  A kind of resistance was put up by the piece at every turn.  Firstly, I could not get the leaves to imprint into the silver.  They were dry and flat but would not give up their texture.  I tried everything.  I annealed the metal multiple times to increase its softness.  I swapped the outer plates from copper to brass and so on.  I translated my difficulties into french and discussed it with my neighbour!  We decided the leaves were not dry enough.   The damp maritime environment that has caused my windows and doors to swell and stick had somehow re-hydrated the leaves.  I considered putting them in the oven.  However, a little spell under my desk lamp crisped them up.  Their brittleness told me it was time to pass them through my rolling mill.  

The next obstacle was soldering.  I have soldered hundreds of things.  But these cuff links put up a fight. I sat back and surveyed the variables.  I cleaned my flux.  I used different heating arrangements and positions.  The solder refused to run and I came close to melting the entire construction at least twice.

Cuff links, November 2010 by Cari-Jane Hakes
There was a point when I really felt as if all my hard won skills had deserted me as I really could no longer do the simplest things.

On the fifth or sixth (I lost count!) the solder flowed.  I relaxed.  Patinated, polished and buffed.

Looking back now the making of these cuff links mirrors the human story.  It is a curious thing.  The tree, the inhabitants resisting and fighting, just like the cuff links did on my workbench.  

And so my hope for them too would be that there would be silver lining to the cloud, something brighter, something shining on the horizon.

I have a month of such commissions in the run up to Christmas and I am so happy to be weaving stories into silver.  I just hope that not all of them resist creation and transformation!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

La Tranche, France, Wednesday 17 November, 1500 hrs

Mosaic Mercredi

Starting with Ikram el Messaoudi's portrait from the last Flickr Mosaic Mercredi I give you a collection of text and 'tattoos'.  Some ink on paper, some ink on skin, some stitched on a cuff and others made of delicate lace imprinted onto clay.

1. Ikram el Messaoudi, 2. love charm - poetry cuff, 3. Playground, 4. mylife, 5. falls end, 6. The little red book, 7. yummy a new favourite & she's in my etsy for sale drawer, 8. I'm back, 9. feu d'artifice 1

Monday, November 15, 2010

My pinboard for today

I describe my 'Cari-Jane adores....' pin board over on Pinterest as 'a nest full of beautiful and inspiring things collected from the web where I fly with my magpie eyes'.

Here is what I collected today...

Today's pin board by Cari-Jane Hakes
What I love about this site is that it provides a really interesting visual record of where you have been / the contents of one's head.  A snapshot of colour, tone, hue and image.

Sketchbook on a Monday!

You didn't think I was going to leave you to wait a whole week to find out what was on the horizon did you?

Pages 38 and 39, The Sketchbook Project 2011 by Cari-Jane Hakes

"Suddenly, on the horizon, a shimmering diorama of feldspar, mica and quartz settled on a golden line of silica."

Can you figure out where she is?

Elsewhere today:

15 November 2010, Cari-Jane Hakes

The first verse of the 'Hope' poem by Emily Dickinson has become grafted into my consciousness.  I turn it over and over and have sketched out many possibilities for a new necklace with these words in mind.  You might have noticed the little boat in yesterday's post paid homage to this beautiful collection of words.  I have made my own copy.  It now rests amongst my wooden letterpress blocks.

'Hope' verse 1 by Emily Dickinson.  Photograph and arrangement by Cari-Jane Hakes

Sunday, November 14, 2010

something different Sunday - The Sketchbook Project 2011

Tomorrow, Monday 15th November 2010, is the last day to sign up for The Sketchbook Project 2011.   I am pressing ahead, embracing the double page spread at every turn of the page.  My little girl (and her stuffed newt, Cedric) have started their voyage of discovery 'In Search of Home'.  My theme, Nighttime Stories, has almost taken me to the stitched centre, midway point in my Moleskine sketchbook.

Detail from page 37, The Sketchbook Project by Cari-Jane Hakes

Detail from page 36, The Sketchbook Project by Cari-Jane Hakes

Pages 36 and 37, The Sketchbook Project by Cari-Jane Hakes

I'll be busy working on the next two pages tonight.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today I...

moved my workshop into its winter location.

Doesn't it look cozy?  As the wind and the rain blew in through the perforations of the 'adjunct' there was no nostalgia for the passing of the season - just a readiness to be a bit warmer and less damp!

I'm excited by new possibilities, new creations and forms that are gradually taking shape.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mosaic Mercredi

No flickr favourites today.  After a few days of Pinterest I just wanted to focus on the here and now.  The things in my hands, on my bench and on the walls.
aujourd'hui dans l'atelier, 10.11.10 by Cari-Jane Hakes

From left to right:  Making recycled silver, workshop door handle, vice, dusting brush, saw frame, silver dust, workshop escutcheon, sandbag and steel block, the eternity ring.

It is almost time to move into winter quarters.  I love my spring/summer location.  An uninsulated adjunct made from re-claimed materials by the previous house owner.  When it gets too cold, my fingers stop working.  This usually happens around 7 degrees Celsius.  It is heading that way, so I need to move the 'hybrid handmade' empire into more temperate climes.

But that mes amis, is a job for tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am in love with...

my Pinterest board!  It's like bookmarking pages but so so so much better.  If you are anything like me you have a ton of links all stacked up on your bookmark bar.  As a method of organization it works fairly well. But this appeals to my magpie instinct that wishes to collect and surround myself with all the greatness and beauty that is out there.

My pins can be found here and my boards here.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

I do...

I'm working on an eternity ring.  I'm carefully cutting and filing and imprinting silver with letters and leaves.  I found this beautifully apt video and watched it just before soldering the first joint.

You can read more about April and Jeremy's wedding over on Design Sponge.  I really admire the spirit of this wedding.  If I could do it all again I'd choose the same man and we would do something like this. Simpler, essential and concentrated.  It is all the sweeter don't you think?  Now back to the ring...

Starting with some sketches

and some lower case 1.5mm letter stamps

eternity...it's a long time.

The exacting task of getting two side to match perfectly

and carefully sawing and sawing the joint until the two sides marry up and  become perpendicular to each other.

When they touch perfectly, it's time to bind it all up and solder the joint together.

P.S. At the end of the video, he surprises her by hiring the guitarist for their first dance.  Sigh.

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