Friday, April 27, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

Well, I can tell you, I could hardly contain myself when I realised that Sania Pell's book signing for her newest publication 'The Homemade Home for Children' would occur whilst I was in London.  Oh, the serendipityness of it all!  I RSVP'ed immediately and went skipping down to Liberty's of London on Thursday of this week to meet the lovely lady herself.

And oh what a treat it was!  Sania had arranged a big table with a gorgeous array of Liberty fabrics all prepped and ready for us to try out a few projects from the book.  I settled in next to Heleen Miller Aberson (who started her online children's wear business earlier this year - check out Shop Yuko if you  would like to see her own label Rokje along with the others that she stocks on the Shop Yuko site) and we got busy chatting and making these beautiful little puffed up flowers with the aid of Caroline Davis (who writes the Trend Daily blog) on hand to help us.

Flower brooch and hair bobble from Sania Pell's book 'The Homemade Home for Children'
Detail of the flowers made with Liberty fabrics
For me, sitting round chatting and crafting is pretty much my idea of heaven on earth.  What a perfect afternoon!  As I had been unable to bring my book from France, Sania kindly signed a little tag for me so that I could stick it into the book on my return.

As I've already said, all of this actually took place on Thursday - the Fabulous Friday Feeling was of course was stepping out bedecked in my all my flowery finery the next day!

Post Scriptus : I'm pretty sure 'seredipityness' is not a real word, but I'm also pretty sure it should be.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lovely places in London to have a cup of tea - Part 2

I put all errands and tasks on hold this morning and dashed out amid flurries of silvered showers and sparkling, sky splitting sunshine to meet, regular reader of this blog and long time friend, Mrs L in The Hummingbird Bakery, Islington (click here to find out more about them).

The Bakery is a perfect little pint sized place, cute as a button and filled to bursting with pink and rose and all the shades of pastel in-between.

When I'm given the chance to talk in my mother tongue, well, I will just chat away to anyone and everyone and so it was that I had a lovely chat with the lady behind the counter who made me a perfectly fabulous mocha coffee.

We were spoilt for choice but opted for the classic Red Velvet cupcakes.  They were obviously delicious and tasted as good as they looked.

I can't really think of a better way to start the day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lovely places in London to have a cup of tea - Part 1

There is one little extravagance I allow myself from time to time.  A cup of tea (although I often opt for coffee) and a sit down in a lovely place.

Peter Jones in Sloane Square London is on my list of lovely places to do such a thing.  What a treat!  This was actually a belated birthday treat.  I enjoyed it immensely.

view from the top floor cafe, Peter Jones, Sloane Square, London, 23 April 2012
Climbing up through the atrium on silvered silent escalators you emerge into a gently curved ramped space.  The top seats to bag (if you can) are by the windows overlooking the Chelsea skyline.  It is all London brick, terracotta and clay with a dash of copper for good measure round these parts.  London was grey and gleaming with a post April shower dousing and it was beautiful.

I particularly liked this jumble of chimney pots jostling for attention and position; tiny humble serrated towers standing proud against a back drop of more majestic domes and spires.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Something Different Sunday

Congratulations to the Hybrid Handmade Husband for making the front page of the Irish Times magazine on Saturday 21st April!

For more information see here and here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling - Listening to the Radio

I listen to a lot of things while I work.  Podcasts, music, 'teach yourself french' recordings....but my favourite thing of all to listen to, has to be, the radio.  As a solo worker it makes me feel connected to a bigger environment, it makes me more aware of the passing time, it gives me a structure, it is my metronome.
I've been painting walls this week.  Lots of walls, lots of paint and listening to the radio.  Every now and again, a programme comes on that captures so much of your attention you begin to falter somewhat in your primary task!  And so it was when today, BBC Radio 4 broadcasted 'The Ice Mountain'.

I stopped, mid stroke, to ponder the length of time it takes a snowflake falling upon the interior of Greenland to reach the sea (over 200,000 years since you ask).  The names for the smaller icebergs seemed incongorous (bergy bits and growlers), almost comical, and therefore in direct opposition to the threats they cause to shipping.

And then, when they began to describe the motion of a large iceberg, with its root hundreds of meters into the ocean depths, caught up in a deep sea current so that the bergy bits and the growlers on the surface flow one way, whilst the icebergs moves in the other direction, I began to stop painting.

And then, if you look at them from above, overtime, the combination of the tides pushing and pulling with the deep sea currents - well, those chunks of frozen ice mountains, they dance in a slow spiral.

That, mes amis, was my 'Fabulous Friday Feeling'.  I hope yours was as awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2013

It doesn't seem that long ago that I signed up for Art House Co-op's Sketchbook Project 2011.  You can find the two submissions I did for them for the 2011 and 2012 tours here

Well, today marks the launch of sign ups for the 2013 project.

So, what is it all about?  This little 96 second film will tell you all you need to know.  To become part of the project click here.

I often describe my sketchbook as a laboratory.  It is a place where things are tested out and examined.  That said, the ones I created for the Sketchbook Project 2011 and 2012 were more like little story books - I used a narrative to string together the drawings.  In the end, the story became the important thing and the sketches served as illustrations.

Looking at other people's sketchbooks is always inspiring. Here are some of the books I've been 'looking' through of late:

A collage of chance encounters, faces in a crowd and speeding mopeds from Taylor White, whilst in L Filipe dos Santos' book a series of drawings are created on top of a gouache stains.

See Saw by L Filipe dos Santos
And finally some very fine doodling by Mattias Adolfsson.

Inspiring stuff, mais non?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Something different Sunday

I've spotted a little boat on the horizon.  Was it washed up by a exceptionally high spring tide, surging up the tidal Thames with such volume and force that the little boat became lodged on this precipice?  Or perhaps a modern day Noah has had a word from God and he waits, with his army of miniature beasts (guinea pigs, gerbils, field mice and a few shrews) for the coming flood?

In actual fact this rather substantial coracle of a boat was created by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner.  It will rest here, atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the duration of London's 2012 Olympic year.

Members of the public can book the 'boat' for an overnight stay. In addition, it will also become a studio for various artists, authors and musicians who will be asked to share the work conceived during their stay in an audio broadcast.  Others will use the boat as a stage and perform live from this perched space.

If I were to stay there, I wonder what new designs I would come up with?  Armed with my sketchbook and a pencil case full of colour and graphite I would probably sit for a while, watching the busy flotilla of active vessels traverse the sifted tonal depth of the Thames.  I imagine the light would be rather good and the restful jagged skyline of all man's endeavors would wink back at me with reflected sunlight.

I will leave you with the words of the philosopher Alain de Botton who features in the above film about this project, 'A Room for London' :

"It makes you feel playful and optimistic. It makes you think, well, if this thing was built, then all sorts of things are possible.  And I think it's as simple as that sometimes."

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling - Looking Up

In amongst the errands and industrious working I took time to gather up a bunch of eucalyptus leaves from Borough Market (I always admire the shape these leaves create, as they stick out at an almost un-naturally rigid 90 degrees from their stem, when ever I see them),

and I stopped to look up...

in amongst the traditional leaded and copper spires a new bright and shiny neighbour is making its presence felt round these parts.

Renzo Piano's Shard is nearing completion.  It is adding a touch of brilliance and shine to the horizon. 

The sunshine through the rain always makes me feel like, yes, it will all be ok in the end!

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Traveling North

The great thing about traveling north is that you follow a trail of blossoming blossom!


From the top deck of a London bus I get a pretty good view of these boughs.  They sweep past the windows, tapping as they go.

Russell Square.

From here I can see into building sites, barristers chambers and bedsits. I can be a secret sartorialist. I can see on top of things where forgotten things dwell, where dirt has collected, where old disused mechanisms languish and moulder.

The Aldwych

Intricate carvings in portland stone around windows, atop columns, not clearly seen from down below, but up here, the craftsmanship from over 300 years ago is shining sharply with the shadows cast by an intermittent light.


I can hold a small, slightly falling asleep boy as the urbanity shifts and moves past me.  I quickly find my place in amongst the many inhabitants.


It is a home from home.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling - A Few of my Favourite Things

I have a little secret cupboard where I keep some of my precious things.

Ingredients: Secret Cupboard: Ikea, Grow Love print: Bates Merchantile Company on Etsy, wooden pebbles, old capital 'A' letterpress block and desk by Muji.

Do you have somewhere special where you keep your treasured things?

Selected Ingredients:  Pink rabbit purse by Julia Laing of Materialised on Etsy, little pink book by Smythson of Bond Street, Moose by Muji.

Secret cupboard tray ingredients: pebbles, wasp nest, driftwood, spinning top, old tin, pottery star by Jo Heckett, lime green measuring tape (thank you lovely Mrs L) and a 'Winter Song' brooch by me (similar to this one that I sold last week in the hybrid handmade Etsy shop).

Here's hoping you all have a peaceful Easter weekend.  Rest up mes amis!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Memory Locket for a Diamond Birthday

A day later than planed - but here it is!  I poured love, effort, concentration, frustration, elation and a whole other mix of things into this one.  It is for my Mum's 60th birthday, her 'diamond' birthday, as she has been known to call it.

A Memory Locket pour Maman, Cari-Jane Hakes, April 2012
This is the back of the 'Memory Locket'.  Much much effort went into creating that tiny pocket like recess into which the vintage pearl sits.  As I created this tiny aedicule (it is less than half a centimeter in diameter) I pondered the significance of why, in this case, I probably spent more time creating the back of the locket compared to the front.  The back is always as beautiful as the front on any necklace I make.

But why?

It is the part that is hidden.  It is the 'soul' of the piece.  It is the personality of the piece, the foundation.  I like that it is hidden when it is worn, but sometimes, it may flip round, unnoticed by the wearer.  In a similar way, when we are at peace and truly comfortable, we let those close by see a little bit of what is deep inside ourselves.  Our real personality - not the altered one that we have to concentrate on and fabricate.

A Memory Locket pour Maman, Cari-Jane Hakes, April 2012
ingredients: sterling silver, hydrangea petal (sketetonised by the winter of 2009 in the garden of my Mum's house) and pearl (left over from my Gran's necklace that was shortened in Hong Kong in the 1950's)
I go on the premiss that deep down inside, beneath the foundation of 'us', that everyone is good.  There is a core of beauty.  It may be buried under the dirt and debris that the world has thrown our way as we make our choices and find our way, but right down at the bottom, it is all good, it is pure and it is beautiful.

And that is why, in part, the back is as beautiful (or even more beautiful) than the front.

A Memory Locket pour Maman, Cari-Jane Hakes, April 2012
Perhaps in part it has to do with a gathering wisdom and a contemplation on the joy of becoming older.  That with each advancing day, week, month and year if there is a concentration on developing all that stuff inside there is a sense of a building beauty, an increased grace and a greater capacity for compassion and a deeper well of wisdom.  Many of my pieces hint at this concealed interior - sometimes there are little glimpses of that interior, little details, smudges of gold, pearls and such like.

On another level - I feel like I'm kicking against jewellery as an outward show of wealth, position and power.  I'm not interested in creating pieces that have these things as a conceptual start point and perhaps that is why, in part, I labour on the unseen (or infrequently seen).

I shall think on this matter some more whilst I dream up more interior details and hollow forms that hold space between sterling silvered walls.  For now, I will leave you with an image of the front of this pendant.  It has a curious little lens that covers a photograph of my sister's wedding bouquet - a glorious shock of pink hydrangeas.

A Memory Locket pour Maman, Cari-Jane Hakes, April 2012

À bientôt mes amis!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Desktop

Need a dash of spring to brighten up your desktop?  Well, look no further, here it is, the April calender image, fresh off the press.

April Calendar for screens 1280 px wide

All you have to do is click on the image above or below, save it to your desktop and then use your settings menu (or equivalent) to change your background desktop image.  I've added an extra image this month incase you have a screen that is a little bigger than 1280 pixels wide.  

April Calender for screens 1600 px wide
Of course if your a wizz you can download either of them and adjust the size yourself - but I just thought I'd make life a little easier for you all - and goodness, we could all do with some of that!

I'm busy working away on an important commission. I've invented a new little detail which I'm rather pleased with - photographs to follow tomorrow.
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