Monday, January 31, 2011


sunset, end of January 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I almost missed this golden moment.  Absorbed as I was in a small drama.  I say small, but at the time it seemed very large, unconfined and a little bit terrifying.

January has been full of important things - none of which required me to use any of my tools.  My new 'christmas' workshop apron has remained on the back of my chair.  Waiting.

As I looked up and saw the gold slicing through the evening clouds I knew, actually, it was going to be ok.  I'm fairly good now at giving myself a stern talking too when things masquerade as insurmountable problems.  With a little time and attention they rarely are.  Sometimes, all it takes is a little time and no effort on my part to cut them down to size.

Tomorrow, I'll be back at my bench.  I'm excited.

Until then, bonne nuit mes amis.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Red Friday

A rather cheeky, and very young Mick Jagger...

to be listened to whilst reviewing my latest Etsy treasury which can be found in all its on-line glory here (for a limited time, until it drops off the edge of the 'world of etsy').

Little Red Rooster, and Etsy Treasury by Cari-Jane Hakes, Hybrid Handmade on Etsy

Here is hoping your weekend is full of bright shiny things, bells and whistles (well, why not?).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Black is Black

Well, I must say, I AM enjoying this little 'colour excursion'.  Although technically from a scientific point of view, black isn't a colour.  That aside - I'm dreaming of what it would be like to wear THAT jacket with THOSE shoes!  Can you imagine?  Where would you go? What would you listen to on your ipod as you strutted your stuff around some fabulous metropolitan enclave?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I love this stripped back minimal video of the song by Coldplay.  I think it may have been done in just one take.  I was unable to embed that one so you will have to make do with them Live in Sydney.  Don't know about you, but I always imagine him singing all these songs to Gwyneth Paltrow, which sort of makes me smile.

I took that little smudge of colour in the last picture from yesterday's post and blew it up a little to create this Etsy treasury list Fierce Golden Ochre Sunlight.  Click the links to see it in all it's full screen glory (until it drops off the end of the Etsy Treasury list!).

Fierce Ochre Golden Sunlight by Cari-Jane Hakes on Etsy
I am particularly in love with the Mohawk painting (first image) - I think I may have to wait till after the summer to get my hair done like this - I am due to be my sister's Maid of Honour in August!

Mohawk, Original Oil Painting by Larriva

Etsy Treasury

After my 'Blue' post yesterday I kind of chuckled a little bit when I saw this treasury featuring my Winter Song brooch (2nd row from the bottom, far right).  Granted, the title is 'Noteworthy Navy' - but that's close enough to Blue for me to make my spurious connection.

Noteworthy Navy by Extraspecialwishes on Etsy

To see it in all it's grand glory click (for a limited time) here.  I think you'll agree, it is a beautiful curation of all the many shades of Blue.  I'm honoured to be in such good company.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blue Monday

I've had that old Joni Mitchel song playing in my head.  Blue.  I love the lyrics in the first verse:

Blue, songs are like tattoos, 
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away

I used to listen to this on vinyl as a child - it was in my Mother's record collection along with Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.  I think it is the kind of song that really needs to listened to within the context of the album.  On its own it is a little sad and downbeat.  On the album it is more balanced and even.  Either way, the images below create a neat little visual accompaniment to Joni's slightly mournful singing.

via on Pinterest

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I'm leaving you with a graphic architectural space - a smudge of sunshine peeking out from the aquatic depth of 'blue'.  It feels hopeful and less melancholy.  And we could all do with a bit of that at the beginning of a new week!

(click on each image to see access author / original website source)

Friday, January 21, 2011

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

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ring, Cari-Jane Hakes
I was reminded of this little prototype I made a little while ago when Jewels by Renee included it in another of her wonderful galleries last week.

When I finished this piece and I looked along its surface I got a bit of a surprise.  I realised that from somewhere in the deep recesses of my architectural image bank I had recreated a little piece of one of my favourite buildings.  The Kunsthaus in Graz, Austria by Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier.

via on Pinterest

via on Pinterest

via on Pinterest

For more information and picture credits please refer to this article on Daily Icon.

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A few of my favourite things

While I am prevented from getting back into my workshop, it doesn't mean that other people aren't making beautiful and wonderful things.  Here are just a few of my favourite things from my Etsy list.

A few of my favourite things on Etsy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mosaic Mercredi - Yellow and Grey

I have a new colour obsession.  When this happens, I'm drawn to everything displaying my current hues of choice.  I see it everywhere and everything!  Yellow and Grey.

It is in this beautiful painting by the fantastic Paul Bailey

via on Pinterest

and in this little poster,
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this interior,
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and this epic skirt surrounded by blush grey walls,
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and finally this piece by the super talented Dolan Geiman.
via on Pinterest

How delighted was I then to receive this birthday present in the mail!

19.01.11, 1500hrs, Cari-Jane Hakes
New gloves, grey and yellow, perfect (and a potential pebble for a 'Yellow Submarine' ring).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

She is on her way!

I printed her on my mailing label so she can see where she is going.

The Sketchbook Project 2011, all packaged up and off we go!
Don't worry, I didn't forget the 'Etats-Unis' (underlined, in capitals, lower right-hand corner). I wrote it on after I took this photograph.  See, I'm almost half French!

When I grow up I want to be a Calligrapher.

I have tried this a few times, calligraphy that is.  I have some wonderful coloured inks and some nibs. I even have the most impossibly beautiful glass dip pen which holds the ink in the swirling grooves that ascend from it's tip.  I love the way you have to pause, sometimes in the middle of a word, to re-fresh the nib with more ink.  It is really an idiosyncratic way to write, perhaps the complete polar opposite of what I am doing now, bashing away on a key board.  But it is so beautiful. When it is done well, I am literally spellbound.

Witness, the genius that is Marian Bantjes,

via on Pinterest

and if you have the time, this TED talk by her is particularly inspiring.

Another favourite of mine, Cláudio Gil.

The Little Red Again by Cláudio Gil

Sonnet 18 by Cláudio Gil

I can hear my workshop calling me, loudly, tucked away at the back of the house.  Sadly, I will need to ignore it a little longer while I continue to organise my affairs.  I have to say though, creating a neat spreadsheet with all my expenditure and sales IS a surprisingly cathartic experience.  Not dissimilar to a detox I should imagine.  I feel very clean and organised.  This is a good way to be in the first month of a new year - well that is what I keep telling myself!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Post Sketchbook-itus & How to Procrastinate

I think I may well have 'Post Sketchbook-itus'.  The busyness of the deadline has come and gone leaving a fatigued outline of my former self.  I recuperated over the weekend with Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.  I missed out when the entire female population of the world read this book a couple of years back.  I'm a late developer, what can I say?  I only bought my first pair of skinny jeans 6 months ago!

Monday was the bringer of many mundane but important things - like tax returns - yes multiple (as if one wasn't enough).

I retaliated by doing this:

via on Pinterest

Here is hoping your Monday was more fun than mine!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something different Sunday - The Sketchbook Project 2011, the final installment

Front Cover, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I finished the last drawing on Friday night, JUST as Art House Co-op posted an extension to the deadline!  While the book was ready to be posted of on Saturday 15th January I'm not sure I was ready!  The new deadline is Tuesday 18th January 2011.  Just a few extra days but I've enjoyed holding the completed book in my hands - rather than hastily parceling it up to meet the old postmark deadline.

Pages 76 and 77, The Sketchbook Project 2011
"Shall we rest here awhile?" Cedric seemed to say as they watched the blades rotate rhythmically, slicing  the clouds and splicing the sunlight into sparkling fragments that bounced through the air creating a palpable vibration to the atmosphere around them.

The imposition of the deadline has created a much needed focus for such a self-indulgent project.  I chose to fill all 80 pages of the moleskine sketchbook that was sent to me.  The pages of intense architectural landscapes on some pages necessitated brevity and economy of line on other pages.  At times of course I wondered why I hadn't just re-bound the book with thicker paper. On reflection however I think the story needed the full 80 pages to unfold and be told.
Page 78 and 79, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes

And so the girl and Cedric learnt how to say 'goodbye' in another new language, but this time they did not leave.

Page 80 and inside back cover, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
The Alternative 'Thelma & Louise' Ending

Cedric, as a proud film aficionado, was more than a little afraid.  His eyes opened even wider as a mixture of surprise and shock washed over him.  However, he visibly relaxed in the girl's arms as she whispered "I just meant, maybe we should just keep going."

I know it is cliched, but this ending is just the beginning of a new journey.  The Sketchbook Project 2011 tour kicks off in Brooklyn, New York in February 2011 and ends up in San Francisco, California in June 2011.  I have been slightly fearful of this punishing schedule on the fragile nature of some of the pages.  To this end I have been covering some of them with clear sticky plastic and have made my own digital scans.

And so I have to bid a fond farewell to my little girl and her stuffed newt, Cedric.  Bon Voyage ma chérie.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sketchbook Project 2011 - How to do a quick smudgy sky

I thought you all might appreciate a little tutorial on how to create a quick smudgy sky!

The finished sky, Cari-Jane Hakes
Step one: Get a scrap piece of paper with a clean edge and some pastels.  Scribble a little bit of your pastel on the scrap paper.  This is a good time to mix colours too - just scribble all the colours you want to blend on top of each other.

Step 1: mixing colours and preparing to smudge.
Step two: Line up your scrap paper with the edge of your drawing where you want the sky to start. Use your fingers to sweep the colour from your of scrap paper onto your 'sky'.

Step 2: transfer the colour onto your sketch (note, the pastel is picking up the grain of the paper )
Step three: Colour in any detail with a pencil that is close to the colour of your sky.

Step 3: Filling any gaps with a close matching coloured pencil 
Step four:  I use a little bit of matte varnish to seal the pastel in - otherwise it will tranfer onto the facing page when you close your sketchbook.  Obviously, wait till the varnish is dry before you close your book otherwise your pages will stick together and rip!  (Acrylic paint artists use this varnish so you will probably find it next to / close to the acrylic paint tubes in your art shop)  I have also used it on this page to seal over my rub-down transfer lettering.

Step 4: Seal in the colour with matte varnish
I hope that was helpful.  Obviously, you don't have to just limit this technique to sky.  It could be used to create shadows or moonlight etc.

I have just finished my final drawing for The Sketchbook Project 2011.  Just need to fill in my contents page and package it up ready for posting tomorrow.

And then, I really MUST clean this little house!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sketchbook Project 2011 - the final days

The journey is almost over.  These last few pages have been hard work and have been the source of a few late evenings.

Pages 64 and 65, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Pages 66 and 67, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Pages 68 and 69, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Pages 70 and 71, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
"A place where her few precious things could anchor, where her head could rest, where her dreams could settle.  As she moved though she came to an understanding that 'home' was not a place bound by coordinates or fixed by lines of longitude and latitude."
Pages 72 and 73, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
"It rested somewhere between her head and her heart.  It was the place where Cedric's head rested when she held him close to her."

Pages 74 and 75, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes

I'll be back tomorrow with a brief tutorial on how to do a quick smudgy sky like those on pages 66 to 69.

Only two more double spreads to go!  I can feel the back pocket of the moleskine through these remaining pages.  The end is in sight.  It has been a  marathon.  I'm so glad you all came along for the ride!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Birthday Reflections

It is my first birthday 'alone' and without my Grandmother, who was born on the same day as I.  During times when we weren't geographically close I would phone her to say Happy Birthday and she would say the same thing back to me.  She was my fraternal 'twin' of sorts (see here also).

AMW in Hong Kong circa late 1940's by GAW

And so we had a little birthday coffee party, my small boys and I.  And we did it in style, using one of Gran's beautiful table cloths that she acquired whilst on her big adventure in lands very very far from her native Glasgow, Scotland.

Birthday Coffee, 12 January 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
This cloth is a thing of beauty.  I think all the counted thread work and embroidery must have been done by hand.  I'm only sorry I couldn't starch it into crispness and flatness - the way Gran used to do.

Detail, tablecloth, Cari-Jane Hakes
My little boys amused me by finding faces and characters in the flowers - just like I used to do when I was little, gathered round a table, my Gran at one end, my Grandpa at the other.

Bon Anniversaire Mamie from another land far far from Glasgow.
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