Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Final Mosaic for 2012

I'm gathering images and colours, seeking them out whilst tramping on the slopes.  The landscape here feels full of grey and gold, mitigated and sifted through by a scrim covered light.   With this wintered lens firmly fixed in my mind I've been filtering through my flickr favourites - here are a few of my finds.  Click on the links below the image to find out more about these talented artists.

1. happy happy holidays!, 2. Yellow tree in the sun, 3. Untitled, 4. Burden of the Path of Least Resistance, 5. nature specimens collection, 6. Untitled, 7. 40x40 plouf de mer, 8. wish you were here, 9. mendonponds13

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Looking back, looking forwards.

I've just received word that one of my custom orders has reached its destination in Canada.  It has been a busy time in the Hybrid Handmade workshop this year with orders going out to Brazil, USA, Australia and Germany.

Selected highlights from the bench this year. Which one is your favourite?

Hybrid Handmade Jewellery 2012
I wanted to take this chance to wish you all a peaceful and joyful Christmas time and to thank you for coming to visit the Hybrid Handmade blog.  I really appreciate it and love to hear from you all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hybrid Handmade Christmas

It's rather lovely to see lots of 'handmade-esque' type christmas decorations in the shop.  The thing is though, I look and them and think 'meh, I'll reckon I'll make my own!' Which is what I have been happily doing over the last two evenings, continuing the 'Hybrid Handmade Christmas' tradition that began here with an advent calendar and continued last year here with festive Christmas tags.

The inspiration for these snowflake decorations came from Pam on Mercantile Muse (see here) - she made a lovely bowl some months back rolling a lace texture into the clay, and more recently the beautiful little pendants / tree decorations featured in her most recent post.

I used this air drying clay.  The snowflakes do take a few days to dry out (I sped my drying time up by putting my snowflakes on top of the storage heaters here, in the new Hybrid Handmade Home).  I like the alternative that Pam used (Sculpey polymer clay) because you can 'cook' this in the oven.

I used these cutters to make my snowflakes made by Tala but there are lots of different shapes and sizes on amazon and elsewhere.

After the snowflakes have dried out string each flake with coloured embroidery thread and hang them on your tree (or use them as super dooper christmas present decorative tags).

I say!  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Horizons part 2

Now, don't get me wrong, the coast is a rather lovely place to be.  The shifting tides, the wild waves and the silvered sands covering tiny treasures with sparkle and silica.  That said, a bit of elevation is rather fantastic.  The new horizons around these parts are best seen after a ten minute hike from my new back door.

Exploring, December 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
I walk and run and save the prize of the view for the end, for the highest point.  It unfolds, each progressive layer misted with distance.  The Humber is a friendly silver streak of glinting glimmer from this distance.  I have a feeling this adopted homeland will begin to weave its way deep into my heart and soul.

Resting and Catching Up, December 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
I was rather thrilled to put two and two together when I realised that the landscapes that David Hockney has been painting that were featured in his last exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in January of this year ('A Bigger Picture') are of this same horizon.

A move back to his native East Yorkshire from California has been the catalyst for his recent paintings, iPad sketches and collaged photographs (more here if you are interested).

Elsewhere, some rather lovely things have been happening on the workbench - however some are Christmas presents (I rather like being one of Father Christmas' little elves) and others were finished and posted without a pause for photographing.  It is a busy time this end of year thing, is it not?

The New Horizon, December 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
A reminder, if one was needed, to take a moment to lift your eyes up from the hustle and busy bustle that seems to permeate the core of December and survey your horizon, where ever you may be.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What I caught in my new net.

There is a little part of my northern soul that is singing a little louder at the moment.  The dark afternoon hours are sparkled and sprinkled with twinkling fairy lights.  They are springing up everywhere and they just make the dark even more lovely.

As the temperature dropped and dropped this week I watched as frost grew on frost until the landscape looked as if it were in fact covered in a light dusting of snow.  It stayed all day.  There was no 'melting in the rising sun' kind of a frost, oh no, this stuff was in for the long haul.

People would remark to me 'oh, you must find this cold after France' and I would just smile and proudly proclaim of my even more northerly latitudinal origin.  The frost warms my heart and makes me feel 'at home'.

There is so much beauty and light.  I have to believe on a day like today, with the news of such atrocities and so many lives lost that somehow there is more good than bad in this world.  That the beauty outweighs the bad so many times over, for if it was not so I don't know how we could all go on.

I can't fathom the loss.  All I can do is cry with them.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

And so, a home has been found and boxes have been moved and moved and unpacked and a new life has begun to unfold in a gracious old house on the edges of a wild wood we have yet to explore (but on first impressions it seems to be stuffed full of ambling pheasants and a few shy deer).

Precious pebbles and pictures and small possessions have been hastily shown their new lodgings and have been left to discuss their arbitrary placement among themselves.  I have assured them, I will be back, but there are more pressing matters to attend to!

Between here and there I catch the light and familiarise myself with the way it moves round these new spaces.  I measure time and distance, judge heights and lengths in this unfamiliar territory.  Over the past week and the days leading up to the 'big move' I kept remembering a poem by Sheenagh Pugh titled 'Sometimes':

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you

I remembered this poem because it is rare to set out on a quest, to move your family from one place to another, to find a home that you fall in love with and to move into that home.  It is a rare and beautiful thing to have things line up and fall into your lap.  A gracious gift.  I am thankful and grateful in equal measure.

I bought this little house as an early Christmas present for the Hybrid Handmade Husband (I wrote about it previously here), it seemed only right to turn it into House Warming gift.

And for the record, following on from the last post - I think my letter to Santa would include: red wellingtons, white ink and a calligraphy set with dark grey papers to practice on.

I feel the need to see the year out with a December Desktop calendar, even though it is a little hopelessly late.  I shall be back with that one in due course mes amis!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Santa..

A lovely vintage typewriter has been unearthed!  It is in partial working order in that it is missing the 'J' key.  I rather like the fact that the typewriter is 'local' (this reminds me of the Portlandia 'Is it local?' sketch which is rather funny if you are in the right mood - you can find it here if you are so inclined to check it out).

The 'J' -less Spink Typewriter,  November 2012
We are putting it to good use and have begun the slow process of typing our Santa letters.  Here in the UK it is actually possible to post your letters to Santa!  If you don't believe me, check out the Royal Mail website here.

Dear Santa...
We will be fine so long as we don't want to ask for any jelly beans, jam or jungle animals!

What would be on your list?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling on a Sunday

I was treated to a night at the ballet.  It was magical.  It was spellbindingly beautiful.  Hopefully this little video will you an idea of the performance, but really, without the music and the darkness of the theatre surrounding you it is hard to communicate the essence of a live performance.

In the moments when I wasn't caught up entirely in the story it struck me how 'handmade' the whole performance was.  No snazzy wizzy CGI effects, no 3D glasses required here.  I felt the tug of a link between what I do in my workshop and what I saw on the stage.

balletLORENT's Rapunzel (click here for information on the photographer)
The metal work of the stage set, the costumes and the props - all 'one offs', all original and unique.  The knowledge and an appreciation of the time it takes to produce such things added immeasurably to the experience for me.

balletLORENT's Rapunzel (for credit see above link)
What's more, the venue made the performance accessible and affordable.  It really was the most fabulous Friday I've had in a wee while.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Light on the Horizon

Light is in short supply round these parts at this time of year.  A creeping darkness begins to unfurl and tuck itself round all the houses by mid afternoon.  I find myself racing out at this time to catch the last bits of luminescence. I parcel it up and save it for later.

At this time I'm collecting finely drawn sillouettes and looking for textures and juxtapositions of colour and tone.

There is a kind of magical thirty minutes just before dusk, when the light renders everything with an insistent intensity.  A fanfare of sorts, before dipping, prematurely it seems, below and away. Today I managed to sneak out to go 'fishing' in my new temporary territory.  Testing the waters.

The houses begin to light up like lanterns around this time and they reveal their interiors for a short time before the gathering darkness propels their inhabitants to draw the curtains and regain their privacy.

And the ground my friends, oh in places it is a carpet of copper!  I dig right in and under with my boots and shuffle right through it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Horizons

I admit.  I am yet to make friends with this new aqueous neighbour.  I pass it on journeys here and there.  It is a solid presence, somewhat threatening, as if at any moment it might spill over.  The volume of water contained between the banks and the force of its movement is both majestic and menacing.

The Humber, 19 November 2012
From other vantage points on the elevated dales this slice of water shimmers innocently, a silvered bright sparkling surface, hunkered in the landscape.

I shall have to go and walk along its receded edge some day soon.  Perhaps on a frosted wintery day, when the wind is still and the surface is less agitated.  Perhaps then, I can shake its hand, become its friend, begin to build a bridge of sorts between where I was and where I am now.  Perhaps then, I can find a level, and balance this new horizon and begin again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

News from the Hybrid Handmade Husband

Whilst my workshop maybe a little bit out of commission at the moment (however, it is looking likely that I will be up and running again next week after locating a space in a rather delightful garden shed) elsewhere in the Hybrid Handmade 'Home' things have been rather busy.

The Hybrid Handmade Husband took the Mojito shoe to the Start Up Hub competition.  The event showcased new, emerging businesses and entrepreneurs.  The Mojito received the highest number of votes and the Hybrid Handmade Husband had a chance to present 'the shoe' to no less than the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Start Up Hub competition, Julian Hakes London with David Cameron, Birmingham, October 2012
Gwyneth Paltrow kindly donated her pair of Mojitos for an auction in support of the 'Stand Up To Cancer' fundraising event.  You can read more about it here.

Gwyneth's Mojitos, London, Leicester Square, London, November 2012

And if all of that wasn't enough, the Mojitos got a monochromatic mention in the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2012
I have to say, it is rather difficult keeping track of all the comings and goings associated with these shoes and their creator!  (I confess, that sometimes I just check the facebook page to keep up to date)

You'll be glad to know that I proudly wore my pair last night teamed with a smattering of Hybrid Handmade jewellery.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Dreaming - Houses

Houses are permeating my dreams.  Some imagined, some real and some from childhood memories.  I've been walking around a fair few of late.  It is an onerous task when there are other little lives at stake...'will they be happy here?', 'will this be a good home for them?'

I seem to be finding a whole host of little houses dotted all over the internet.  Perhaps I am homing in on this shape (pun intended).  These little sculptural ceramic houses by Rowena Brown are particularly lovely.  You can see more of her work on her website Rowboat London.

I think I may very well be purchasing one of these 'Smoke House Incense Burners' by Design Im Dorf (see here for further details) for the Hybrid Handmade Husband to celebrate the beginning of us creating a new home together.

And as for me, well, one of these luminous little tea light holders may be in order.

I'm also dreaming of wallpaper, in particular, this design by Mini Moderns.  It is called 'Whitby' and comes in three shades; stone, washed denim and lido.  I rather like the geographical significance of this print as the Yorkshire town of Whitby is not far from where I am currently residing.

Well, I think that's enough dreaming for one day.  Now for some work towards making some of it a reality!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heave Ho and Off We Go!

I'm not big of 'stuff'.  I've moved enough times (this is my 20th move, I am yet to live in one spot for longer than 5 years) to know that an accumulation of things just slows the whole process down.  I have become adept at free-cycling, re-cycling and generally shedding anything that isn't beautiful, useful or important.  That said, when your 'stuff' includes your professional life the amount of things you need to move inevitably increases.

The move from France involved packing a lot of tools.  Jewellery making tools, house making tools and a lot of surf boards!

Cedric and the trailer, ready for the off, France move 2012
So, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't quite edit it down to fit into my grandfather's old suitcase!  

And so a slow and steady shift to the north ensued.  Shunting beneath the English Channel and emerging into a bright, sunlit Dover.  The trees, in a more advanced stage of autumn-ness, put on a good show of displaying all the pantone colour shades and hues and tones that are available from the 'naturals' palette.  A creeping early darkness surprised me, tucking in and under us by the early afternoon.  

Packing up in London, October 2012
For reasons of economic necessity and fragility we did the move ourselves.  The Hybrid Handmade Husband and myself hefted and heaved our architectural 'baggage' which included whole hunks of delicate architectural models that we have no desire to throw away.  Perhaps in our professional lives we have become hoarders of sorts.  

And now, for the moment, we are in limbo.  Waiting for our new life to begin.  I know that in the waiting there will be a need for grace, for patience and understanding.  It is in the waiting that we get tested and refined.  I only hope I make the grade and come out the other side with a quiet and calm spirit.  

You know what.....I reckon I can do it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Calendar

I am safely roosting under a borrowed roof, tucked in under the eaves, snug in a nest of duvet and pillow, listening to new early morning wildlife calls.  The November calendar is auspicious in its publication date as it neatly marks 'Bonfire Night'.  All over the UK, the early November night sky is bursting with phosphorescent colour and noise.

Catherine Wheel, November desktop calendar, 1280 px wide
So, join in the fun if you will with this 1280 px wide desktop image for you to download and stretch to fit (or shrink to fit if you are sporting a smaller device).  I'm rather enjoying this explosion of light in the winter darkness on my borrowed laptop screen - you can too if you click and save the above image onto your desktop.  From there, it's a brief hop, skip and a jump onto your system preferences (or settings or whatever moniker your preferred computer supplier has decided to name this area) to save this pyrotechnic blast as your new wallpaper / desktop image.

I took this picture last night at a little family gathering on the edge of the Peak District.

Before the darkness fell I gathered holly leaf skeletons and held them in my blue tinged hands and pondered when and where I will be able to roll them into silver.  My tools and stacked and packed and will remain so until a new next can be found!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not au revoir but à bientôt

The time has come to move the little Hakes Herd onto pastures new.  There is a certain sadness and anxiety that seems to get packed into all the boxes.  The last few days have hovered with unsaid thoughts in parenthesis (this is the last time I will do this), (this is the last time I will see this place like this).

The Sketchbook Project 2011, Pages 6 and 7
I was writing to a dear friend this week, explaining how the uprooting is for the best and yet it is painful.  Bits of the roots get left behind, deep in the earth, unseen.  The wrench and tear is unsettling, makes one question reasoning, decisions and logic.

The Sketchbook Project 2011, Pages 28 and 29
I've been remembering the sketchbook that I did for the Art House Sketchbook Project 2011 (you can see it online here).  In the sketchbook I was given as part of the 2011 project I illustrated a little girl and her stuffed newt, Cedric, and told a story.  A story about the search for a place to call Home.

The Sketchbook Project 2011, Pages 68 and 69
With scissors, brown parcel tape and bubble wrap in hand I wonder about our new home.  I wonder about the colour of the light in this new place we have yet to find.  I wonder about the new places we will discover, new wild places, new shorelines.

The Sketchbook Project 2011, Pages 52 and 53
Expect a somewhat intermittent service here on the Hybrid Handmade blog and some periods of radio silence.  On wards and up wards mes amis!

The Sketchbook Project 2011, Pages 24 and 25

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Wednesday saw me outnumbered by 5 to 1 on the male / female ratio front.  What to do with a house full of boys?  Well, we made aeroplanes from balsa wood and a sheet of styrofoam.  Other ingredients included - copious amounts of gaffer tape and a little nut and bolt taped to the nose to balance the whole ensemble.

Ready for the first flight!  
The concentrated calm that overtook these four little bundles of energy was a sight to behold.  They cut and sanded and watched and waited patiently.

Up, up and away
Last flight
And then they threw and retrieved and ran and threw and ran some more as if their lives depended upon it until the sun began to dip.

It was a beautiful thing to be part of.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

I'm not rushing this one.  I rushed the last one and at the last crucial moment the delicate leg of my stag melted.  It curled up and began to liquify into a stubby ball.  A good two days of worth of work, ruined.    But you know, I knew there was something not quite right about the design.  Some of the thicknesses lacked gravitas.  Edges of the composition were not 'singing'.

I dusted myself off, turned up the volume on my music and decided determinedly that the next one was going to be better, more beautiful, it would 'sing'.

Here is where I got to by the end of today:

Into The Wild - components, October 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
I feel like I am weaving some kind of magic here.  Creating a miniature world full of wild and wonderful things.

Into The Wild, components, October 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
As I carefully test these pieces and the small structures that are hidden beneath each piece, I remember that I have done this before.  As a child I would take empty matchboxes and create tiny little 3D scenes not that dissimilar to these ones I am now rendering from honeyed copper and moonlit silver.

Into The Wild - test assembly, October 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
Every now and again, I stop in my filing and sanding and cutting and put all the little pieces in and smile as this tiny little world begins to take shape.

Into The Wild - test assembly, October 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
The soldering, well, the soldering will have to happen sometime.  But not today.

Bon Weekend mes amis - here's hoping you get to assemble a little magic of your own.
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