Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Zig Zags, Chevrons and Criss Crosses

One of my contributions to the European Street Team Treasury list this week.  This one took a while.  Finding products with just the right zig and zag, chevron and criss cross.  You can see it on Etsy here or click directly on the item you would like to see in more detail.

'CRISS CROSS and ZIG ZAG' by hybridhandmade

when I zig why do you zag?

modern folded embroider...

Leather iPhone (ALL) iT...

Reserved for Hallie Han...

red necklace with origa...

Sunset Zigzag Brooch

City Wall - Fine art ph...

Rainbow friendship brac...

Mountain Range No. 1

The maze hand painted p...

The Town Atop a Hill 8x...

Thread, Brass - Necklac...

SALE Needlepoint Mod H...

Black Diamond 8x10

ZigZag Bear Print

Red Hearts - Hand Embro...

Pair of Greeting Cards ...

Post Scriptus:  Just found out this made it to the Front Page of Etsy!  Stick with me kids, we're gonna go far! (screen shot from the Craft Cult vault between 7 - 8 am Central European time 1st June 2011)

Ahh, you all look so good!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award goes to....

A big big thank you to Andrea from Strong Southerly for passing on 'The Versatile Blogger Award' to Hybrid Handmade!

Here is the deal - reveal 7 things that your readers may not know about you (and would like to know, or find interesting) and then pass the award onto 10 -15 blogs that you have recently discovered.

I have to say, I have found this very difficult and after much thinking, revising and rewritting I came up with these:

Wood Wall Sculpture by saysthetree on Etsy

1.  I have never lived anywhere longer than 5 years.  So far, I've racked up 23 different address / homes.  For some reason I feel compelled to tell people this, as if it may explain something salient about my character.  But mostly, I say it because I can hardly believe it myself.  I feel somewhat nomadic.

1930's Illustrated map of Scotland,  from StoriesDivinations on Etsy
2.  That said, I am intensely proud of being Scottish.  Again, I take pains to highlight this nationality if a conversation should stray into the topic of nationality.

Spiral Staircase / Paris by zateticstudios on Etsy
3.  I adore houses that have two staircases - especially if the second one is kind of hidden away and secret.  It hinges around the whole 'surprise' element of being able to suddenly appear upstairs (by virtue of using the secondary stair).  I knew a girl who lived in such a house - it seemed like a truly magical place because of it.

'nuit' by aliette on Etsy
4.  The first time I saw the house I live in now was the day I moved in!  It was an 'arranged marriage' of sorts.  I have grown to love it all the more intensely.

5.  I've had two of my architectural drawings / paintings in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London and was part of the Architect's Journal '40 under 40' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

By BookFiend on Etsy
6.  I wanted to be an author (before I wanted to be a potter, a swimmer, a ballerina and an architect).  I had a typewriter and so I would 'self publish' teeny tiny books.

7.  The last thing that made me cry was watching Disney's version of Rapunzel (Tangled) that I watched with my sons on Mother's Day (29th May here in France).

I'm passing this award onto the following 'self publishing' authors:


Lyndie Dourthe

Eva of tinctory

Helen of henkalullah

Jamie Slade of aeonquartz

Natasha Newton of theblackbirdsings

and Geninne of Geninne's Art Blog

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Golden Moment.

I ran in the golden light of the setting sun.  A small luxury I truly appreciate.  The light is saturated in heat and makes everything glow from within but the air is cool.  I ran through a valley with wheat on one side (showing the indentations of the winds pressure, making visible the invisible) and stiff stalked oil seed on the other.

Evening Run, 27 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
The Oyster necklaces picked up a bit of the setting sun and held it close, inside their 'shells'.

Oyster Necklace 1 with gold leaf to interior,  work in progress, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Oyster Necklace 2 with gold leaf to interior, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Oyster 1 worn, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Oyster 1 Necklace, detail, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes

Bonne Nuit mes amis

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I caught in my net yesterday

lots and lots of small boys (well, one too small to climb into the net, 3 medium sized and 1 large)!

What I caught in my net, 25 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I also spotted this little gem of silvered fluffiness with a just a dash of golden sprinkled on top for good measure.

What I caught in my net, 25 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I hope you had a good haul yesterday too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Oyster.

Did I happen to mention there is a second Oyster necklace?

Oyster necklace, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Oyster necklace, detail, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Oyster necklace, detail, May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting! My Last 5 Pins on Pinterest.

Over on the Pinterest blog they have started a new feature where they interview a 'pinner' and ask them about their last 5 pins.  Rather than wait for Pinterest, I thought I'd just go ahead and do it on my own!

My most recent pin:

I'm always on the look out for 'pink pins' to add to my 'I'm pink therefore I am' board.  This board started out, tounge in cheek, as a reaction against being out numbered in my home.  I am the only female in the house - and whilst I am not the archetypal 'girly girl' I do enjoy finding images for this board.  It's pretty and I make no further apology for it.

Earlier today I re-pinned these lovely cushions to my 'nesting' board.  A collection of beautiful things I will probably never buy (seriously, how many cushions can one home have, I am officially at capacity here and besides I tend to almost always make my own).

Obviously, could NOT resist re-pinning this to the 'and it was all yellow' board (which you have to do whilst humming Coldplay).  Regular readers will know of my love of all things yellow and submarine like - this ring being a case in point.

I stumbled across this beautiful Etsy Shop today.  See more here.

And finally, a little red vintage car.  It reminds me of the box of similar vehicles that my little boys play with when they visit their Great Grandfather.  All of them are over 50 years old with slightly perished wheels.  In fact, I'm sure there is probably one it that box that looks exactly like the one in this picture.

So, there you go.  My last 5 pins.  If your on Pinterest - have a look at your own.  Why did you pin what you pinned and what does it say about you?

Until tomorrow mes amis!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Something different Sunday - Sketchbook, the sequel

Here is page 16, work in progress.  Just the words.  This continues on from last weeks pages which you can see here.

Page 16, The Sketchbook Project 2011, the sequel, Cari-Jane Hakes

If you would like to read more about the little girl's adventures, you can see the first installment over on the Art House Co-op website (click here to see scans of the first sketchbook, it is currently on tour round various town and cities in USA).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Summer is...

If the start of spring is heralded with yellow trumpets then you know that summer is dusting off her party shoes and straightening her hat when you see the two extremes of the spectrum marked out all around you!  Fluttering Red and Vibrant Violet.

Remembrance, poppies on the way, 21 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Poppies in French fields feel like a somber reminder in all their riotous colour.  Amazingly, these ones began to bloom early.  They made a timely appearance around the 8th May, in time for the commemoration of the end of World War 2.  I remember cycling past them on the 8th and stopping in my tracks to stare.  Elsewhere they are scattered through the crops.  In the wind they flutter like anchored butterflies.

Lavender Chez Moi, 21 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I'm therefore declaring, in my small corner of the world, that summer has begun!

Post Scriptus:  Elsewhere, in a land far far away....I was saving this for another post, but actually the show opens this weekend and so it seems only right to post it now (you might want to turn the volume down on your computer though.  The music is...well, you'll see).

Hush "Twin" Opening at New Image Art from G7D on Vimeo.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Fabulous Friday Feelings!

Fresh off the bench today, this perfect little faceted ring.  The first of many that will all stack together in a symphony of matt and shine, polish and glimmer.

Silver Stacker Facet Ring by Cari-Jane Hakes on etsy
The ideas for this piece began at a mineral level - chunky cubes of pyrite, so startling in their natural precise perfection.  They bring to mind some kind of sculptural engineering with their neat cantilevered masses teetering on the idea of gravity.

There was also, at the macro scale, this Faceted Ecological Skyscraper for Madrid by Addler Elizalde Lozano (click here for more information)

and finally this beautiful bronze facet vase by David Wiseman (see here).

I have some ideas for bigger pieces (personally I blame this on being an architect) but really, I wanted to challenge myself to create some more pieces for the 'Essential Simplicity' series.  A piece that can be worn with other rings, a piece that you almost forget is there, on your body, because it has just become part of you.

I've made the 'gem' from recycled silver which I have then faceted.  Each one is therefore unique.  I love the little bubbles that you find in this recycled product.  As they say, it's the imperfections that make something / someone beautiful.

It's a ring for a woman who likes to wear her individuality on her fingers.  She likes to talk with her hands and walks with her head held high!

Elsewhere, my bench showed signs of a busy day

Workbench in 'Friday Frenzy' mode
and the 'oyster' is coming on (to barnacle or not to barnacle, this is the question).

Oyster, work in progress, 20 May 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes.
And finally, I got the fright of my life when BBC Woman's Hour started following me on Twitter!  I really nearly fell off my chair!

Bon Weekend mes amis!  Here's to a couple of days of lifting our faces to the sky and stretching out our hands and letting them idle for a while.

Post Scriptus : you know that the above is advice to myself, because obviously I will probably still be re-photographing for the Etsy shop makeover!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Does Etsy Have a 'House Style'?

When I began listing my jewellery on Etsy I had a particular way of photographing my work.  Mostly on a black background.  The logic being that for a silver item to stand out it would need to be against a contrasting material.  Silver on a white or pale background just didn't make sense to me.

I did my research, read through forum discussions on the best way to present products on Etsy and looked at how other shops used props to style their photographs.

I knew I needed to make my 'thumbnail' image stand out on search pages.  I knew my image needed to be 'click worthy'.

This resulted in my shop looking like this:

hybrid handmade , Jewellery by Cari-Jane Hakes on Etsy, May 17 2011
Now, I admit, my sales on Etsy have been less than stellar.  I made the usual excuses 'jewellery is a crowded category' and 'well, I'm still new' and so on.  I make most of my sales through private commissions but I still want my Etsy shop to work.

At the beginning of the year I began to get involved with some of the teams.  In particular the European Street Team.  I loved making treasuries (a wonderfully joyus activity where you get to be a curator, collect up a whole load of beautiful, amazing, quirky products and put them all together in a harmonious titled collection, see here) and so I joined the treasury making group within the European Street Team.

hybrid handmade Jewellery by Cari-Jane Hakes on Etsy, 17 May 2011

Three things happened which caused me to radically reassess the on-line image of my on-line shop.

Firstly - I reaslised when I was making treasuries I often wanted to have a bit of negative space around each product.  This combined with the Etsy treasury format looked good graphically.

Secondly - I realised that really, using contrasting backgrounds for my products was not making my shop look very harmonious.  It is unlikely that people will find my work through searching for products of a particular colour or typing in 'necklace'.  Even if I re-list an item, when I search for it more often than not is it already buried on page 10.  Therefore, making my products stand out on search pages with the punchy backgrounds was really not helping me.  It will be a rare person who will trawl through all 1000+ pages in search of that ideal ring or necklace!

Thirdly - therefore, in my non-so-niche area of jewellery, my best way of being noticed is probably in treasuries.  The European Street Team has a pretty good track record of getting their treasuries on the Front Page of Etsy.  That combined with an email from a fellow Etsyian telling me I really should improve the photography of my products!

Before and After photography of the Summer Roses Brooch 
Thank goodness from some frank honest advice!  It confirmed all my nagging thoughts concerning my Etsy shop (which I had done nothing to alter other than tweak a few photographs).  It was the kick I needed (thank you Esra of sunshineartdesign!).

Below is a screen shot of how the shop make-over is progressing:

hybrid handmade Jewellery by Cari-Jane Hakes on Etsy 19 May 2011
Cleaner, brighter, fresher!  I am even more indebted to Esra as my work was accepted by a major juried on-line marketplace in the UK a few months ago.  I have been working hard sorting out logistics and developing some new designs.  I'm really pleased with this new look and will use it as a basis for my photography for this new site.

In conclusion - I don't think Etsy has a particular 'House Style'.  But your own shop - it has to have consistency.  I forgot this along the way and got too caught up in props and punchy background colours. Now, I'm just focusing on the jewellery and letting each image focus on the details and the qualities of each piece.  Which is just straight forward common sense really!

Part of me wishes it was a real shop.  Fresh cut white roses on the counter, a few vintage tea cups and a mix of modern and brocante vintage furniture.  We could sit and design something wonderful for you, look at sparkling cabochons and hold them up to the light.  That would be fun, don't you think!
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