Sunday, July 31, 2011

Etsy Front Page!

My Summer Roses brooch made it onto the front page of Etsy today!  Top row, second from the right.

Hybrid Handmade Jewellery by Cari-Jane Hakes on Etsy's front page, 31 July 2011

A big thank you to Qenbleu in sunny Greece for featuring me in this beautiful collection.

I'm in a 'New York State of Mind' today.  The Hybrid Handmade Husband is currently heading there on a jet plane to present his Mojito shoe (more information here).

Therefore, in the spirit of the Gerard Kenny 1978 hit song, New York, New York (So Good They Named it Twice) I'm going to import that front page treasury again, but this time in all its fully clickable glory!

'floating' by Qenbleu

thank you atstuart for the titleenjoy!

VINTAGE ///// Plastic S...

Floating . Concrete . S...

Silver Summer roses bro...

Black Headband/ Handmad...

Dark Grey Arm Warmers

Catch me if you can

Intelligent design - Fi...

Crocheted bracelet GUIA...

Antique Deed no. 3 -Abr...

Plain 300 watt Moss Ter...

Armour necklace

Plummy Wine Cork Wreath

Vintage Metal Rolling T...

Action Mole with Mint M...

River rock pillow cover

Serene Seas - 8 x 12 Fi...

Onwards and Upwards mes amis!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monster Trucks go 'rarrrw'!

It's not always pink and beautiful gems and burnished moonlit silver round these parts.

Yesterday evening was a case in point.  Every summer the Monster Trucks drive through, tempting the tourists with their monsterous fayre.  We have seen them arrive.  We have seen them leave.  In between we have heard them roar, from afar.  But last night, we went to see them.  Much excitement for my small boys.  In amongst the dust and the noise, the petrol fumes and the heat I found all of this:

Monster Trucks, July 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
I have to say, there was something a little sad about seeing a lovely little Renault 4 being squashed to smithereens.  There are a fair few of them still tootling about on the roads round here and together with the Citroen 2CVs I find them to be such friendly little cars (especially the 2CV I saw this week with a mattress happily flapping in the wind, poking out of the roll down roof frame). They are quintessentially French.

I'm flying towards the weekend on the the golden orange light that is streaming through my little house!  Here is hoping yours is glowing and sparkly all over!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm Pink Therefore I am!

It's time for what it turning into a regular monthly dose of pinkness!  That said, I really recommend that you introduce a little bit of pink into your daily routine.  It would be sad not to don't you think?

Bonne Nuit mes amis!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mosaic Mercredi

Picking up from the last Mosaic Mercredi back in May here is my considered collection of current flickr favourites.  If you click on the links below the mosaic you can dive and delve into the wonderful world of flickr and maybe discover the work of these talented people for the first time!

1. Imaginary Landscapes I, 2. Robby the robot., 3. toronto, ontario, 4. Untitled, 5. eternity, 6. fox sketch - for nevering, 7. Aaron Pahmier, 8. Admirers, 9. Manifesto

Monday, July 25, 2011

London Town - a moment in time

Here is one of my favourite 'London Moments'.  You emerge from the density, the traffic lights, the closure of surface and elevation and fly through the light!

Traversing the Divide, London, July 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
Crossing the River Thames marks the transition from North London to South London (or vice versa).  If you have lived in London for any length of time you will know how important this distinction is.  Like Canada is to USA, like England is to Scotland.  It matters.

Geography aside, this actual moment of crossing the divide, when you open out suddenly into the light that the river has carved through the seemingly solid urban fabric, is one of pure magic.  You see for an instant your city laid out like jewels on a necklace.  They twinkle and refract the light and make you smile.  The river shows you briefly the monuments, the contraptions, the gymnastics of engineering ingenuity and makes you believe that London really is a city to be proud of.

Elsewhere today, I spotted an urban fox.  To be honest, he wasn't hard to miss.

Urban Fox, South Bank, London, July 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
The fox has a beautiful melancholy pensive air about him.  He is made of straw and is perched on the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Waterloo Bridge Terrace which is part of the South Bank.  It has been created by Mike de Butts and Alex Geldenhuys of Pirate Technics and is part of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.

He was a delightful surprise as I traversed the divide with my two small traveling companions.  We were off in search of adventure and intrigue - we were not disappointed!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

Well, if I'm honest, it wasn't so fabulous as I felt the end of my time at Morley College Summer School.  I had raw minutes of time left in a well equipped workshop.  I felt the limits on my time and my creativity.  That said, in those closing hours I shifted a fair amount of work.  Enough base material to get me through the autumn.  In those pressured moments you throw caution to the wind, you stop musing and pondering and wondering and just have to DO!

And so, without further ado, my new favourite texture:

Frayed Fabric Texture, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Who knew open weave fabric could look so good on silver?  Just beautiful, and I haven't even panitanted it yet (the process whereby I artificially blacken the silver and then knock it back so that the darkness just rests in the creases and crevices).

Frayed Fabric Texture Edge, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Conceptually I feel this is a very strong direction.  I'm still working out the finer details, but you'll all be the first to know when I do.

I'm steadying myself for the next few weeks.  They look like they may be a little testing.  A little stormy perhaps.  However, I'm dropping my anchor and I'm going to hold steady and weather this one as I've done with many before!

Onwards and Upwards mes amis!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer School at Morley College - Day 4

I like to make pieces in pairs, or more.  By working in series there can be 'dialogue' between the pieces.  Ideas become expanded or contracted.  Distilled or elaborated upon.  Today a did a bit of elaborating and expanding.

I took a surf smoothed pebble and turned it into 'cloud'.  A simple fine silver bezel (seen here as work in progress, the edge of this setting still has some way to go).

'Cover From the Sky 2', Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011

I added the 'rain' and gave it some extra sparkle.

'Cover From The Sky 2' detail, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
The workshop was humming today.  I've finally got used to its layout and move easily between my bench, the soldering stations and the pickle tank.  I started braching out, began some etching, experimented with texturing and started using the hydraulic press.

'Cover From The Sky' series, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Elsewhere today I discovered a new texture!  I think I love it almost as much as my beloved leaf texture. More on that tomorrow.

Bonne Nuit mes amis!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer School at Morley College, Day 3

We are all in full flow now, my fellow students and I.  After watching demonstrations and experimenting, the first finished pieces are beginning to emerge from our collective sifted thought processes.  There is a quiet, concentrated effort occurring at every bench space; interspersed with a gregarious banter that I am enjoying more than I should!  I believe this probably has something to do with the fact that the banter is in my mother tongue and I don't have to go through a series of mental gymnastics before uttering a sentence.

I took those 'maps' from yesterday and turned them into 'elevations' of sorts.  Inspired by the Deacon Blue song 'Cover From The Sky' (a good Glaswegian pop group if there ever was) I took a beach pebble and turned it into a stormy cloud.

'Cover From The Sky', pendant, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Is it a coincidence that it seems like it hasn't stopped raining since I arrived in London?

Back where it all it began.

This week I'm back at Morley College for a week of 'Summer School' with my the tutor who taught me as a beginner back in 2005.

Together with 13 other students I am busily recycling silver scrap into sleek spherical grains and amazing reticulated lunar landscapes.  I have added my recycled silver sheet to this list.

Far Away Lands, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
As the price of silver skyrockets this is an important skill to master.

These are my 4 little bits of recycled sheet.  They ended up looking like little islands.  Far away lands with peaceful coves and steep fractured fjords.

A Silvered Coast, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Island Fjords, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
I wonder what they will turn into tomorrow?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Image that started it all.

When I started this on-line design journal I wrote about a photograph of Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe that I had seen in a magazine (see here for the original post).  The image and the article that described the work and character of this radical jewellery designer totally captivated me.  When I wrote that original post back in May 2010 I could not find that image anywhere.

Today, I found it, here in a box, packed away in London.

Saturday Newspaper Magazine, article, June 1999
This image changed the course of my life.

I will leave you with a quote taken from the article that accompanied this iconic image.
"From the very beginning, Torun was at odds with the dressy, showy school of jewellery typical of her era.  She worked with silver (unfashionable at the time) rather than precious metals, a material 'from which I can coax fluid, curving movement'.  Her favourite gems were pebbles sculpted by the sea - she met Picasso on the beach while looking for stones.  'I am fascinated by the vortex, this movement which penetrates all of the universe, from the galaxies to the smallest molecule of DNA.  Everything around us swirls - the vortex symbolises to me the vibrations of life, infinity, heavenly creation.' "

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I caught in my net today.

Maybe they were always here.  Perhaps they sat quietly, watching me pass, hurried and busy, during the 5 years I lived in this dense, hard inner city location.

Seed Pod,  July 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
In any case, I notice these things now.  I spotted it and snagged it in my net and was quite taken by surprise by the torrent of little black seeds that poured out from the bottom when I snapped it off!

Seed Pod Crown, July 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes
What a marvellous little specimen he is!  A cavernous colonnade, topped by a fragile regal vanilla latte crown.

Such a thing of beauty.  I'm only sorry I didn't spot him earlier.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bon Voyage to me!

I packed up my little shop and have set sail for northern climes!  The last few times I have done this have been due to some tragedy or death.  I am happy to say that on this ocassion I will be celebrating with my little sister.  She gets married at the end of August.  This weekend will be her grand sending off (or 'hen do' as we say round these parts).

Have to say - I thought my little shop looked rather good, all packed up and ready to bestow itself upon the good people of London (and this is just my 'trimmings and wrapping').

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hidden Things

There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

This is how I started my day.  Watching this little film.  It made me smile a knowing smile.  The smile you smile when you identify with something.  A shared sentiment or experience.

I feel a little hidden away here, on the west coast of France.  After the neighbour on my home's southern edge there are a few fields, a forest and then you hit the coast.  Keep going straight on and eventually you'll hit Canada!

Like Michael in the film, I find my circumstances surprising.  It was not particularly planned.  I think this fact still catches me unawares because much of my young adult life was full of carefully planned and considered options and decisions.

This was not my ideal. It was never my dream to live in France - to some extent I feel like I've hijacked someone else's daydream; and here I am!

The move to France was in part accidental.  As weeks turned into months it became a logical place to hide from the recession.  London is an expensive city if all the projects your relied on for your income go cold.

And then there was Hybrid Handmade.  One of the best lines in this film is "if it's all about money there's just better things to sell."  Michael talks about his familiarity with failure and how he seems to manage somehow without his hidden bookshop being successful.

I'll be honest with you - the idea of bespoke, one of a kind, crafted, couture jewellery is kind of a crazy idea in a world where shops are saturated with mass produced, cheap products.  I'm feeling Michael's familiarity with failure.  And this is a tough thing to admit when I feel I'm surrounded on Etsy and the blogosphere by people who have made a success of their handmade businesses.

That said, I will find a way.  When I fish a finished piece out of my barrel polisher I hold pure beauty in my hands.  I just know I have to keep going.  One day I'll be able to turn over this expanse of random loose ends and knots and see a glorious pattern that was unfolding all the time.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Over the past few weeks my boys have found three little discarded nests.  The babies have flown and these carefully crafted things of beauty are redundant.

Pebbles and Nests, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
I am a more than a little bit fascinated by these perfectly woven assemblages.  Pliable twigs and lichen and moss create the outer shell.

A nest in the hand, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
Inside, soft feathers and fluff together with bits of animal hair plucked from barbed wire fences have been knitted together to create a little cosy cocoon.

Mossy nest and pebble, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
The birds hold onto these things lightly.  They let them go naturally when they have served their purpose.  They move on, unburdened, light as a feather!  I think they may be on to something, don't you?
Nest Edge, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2011
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