Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beginning new work with old ideas

When I was learning to design we were encouraged to come up with concepts, with philosophies and great grand ideas that we could pin our creations upon.  If the concept was strong enough it could help you make decisions, if you listened to it closely it would tell you what material all the components should be!  And then, just when you had got rather comfortable with this new way of thinking, using a new fantastical language suggested to you by these lofty ideals, ideas and theories, it would be time to start a new project with a new concept and new, bigger, shinier idea.

There is a gathering space that grows ever larger between myself and those days.  I like to rest a little longer with my concepts now.  I'm enjoying letting them grow, re-potting them, and letting them grow some more.  Their matted roots are becoming a foundation of sorts.

A simple quartz line against a contrasting background has a very basic, simple appeal.  At its primordial root I suppose it is a gestural line. A precursor of more sophisticated drawings and representations of hunt scenes on a cave wall.  On other levels it is a boundary, a division, a path, a route, a map with all extraneous detail erased until all that is left is a salient line.

I like this idea of a path, a journey, of traveling because even when stay still, inhabiting somewhere for sometime, the journey is still continuing on inside.  The surrounding geography remains the same but the internal landscape shifts continually - we are not the same people we were yesterday.

Points of departure, points of confluence, points of bifurcation.  Winding less travelled paths where a clear view of the route is obstructed by twists and turns.

And straight broad routes where everything is open, clear and revealed.

I often feel that in holding such a tiny piece of the earth's substance in my hands I am holding all and everything - all that there is to know about life, love and loss is wrapped up in crystal and element and rock.

It feels like there is a life's work in deciphering and unpacking the all the possible representations and projects latent within this concept.  Which at the end of the day is just a line.

In conclusion - I have embarked on a new piece.  It feels good.  And they way I know it is good is because I'm annoyed that I have to stop and sleep rather than just continuing on and on!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Sycamore Necklace - final installment

I breathed a sigh of relief this morning when I received word that the Sycamore Necklace had reached its final destination.  When I cast my creations off into the big wide world I am glad to release them on their travels but I don't rest easily until I know they have arrived safe and sound, in one gleaming glowing piece.

This project has had a long gestation period.  It began in my sketchbook back in 2007 :

Sketchbook Number 8, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2007
At that time I had been reading Khalil Gibran's The Prophet and had begun to connect his words with this idea of the sycamore seeds.

"Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days,
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you."

I stitched and sewed and riveted and tested and stress tested and form tested and drew and thought on it some more.

Sycamore necklace original form prototype (see also here)
Copper and paper test maquettes (see also here)
Melding 1mm sterling silver sheet and 0.5mm 18 ct gold wire I cut and rolled and soldered and filed and sanded and wire wooled...

Sycamore Necklace, sterling silver, 18ct gold, Cari-Jane Hakes, May 2012
This piece has weight to it.  Physically, when held in your hands, you know it is there.  Once resting in place though, it settles, warms up and becomes light.  It was commissioned to celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary.  As always with these important pieces I become conscious of the weight of the occasion as well as the importance and the significance of creating something to mark a point in time.  I take all these things and weave them until they achieve some kind of lightness through detailing, form and shape.  It has to look effortless.  Like it simply came into being by some kind of magic and to be honest, this is often how I feel when I hold a finished piece for the first time.  All the hours of work dissolve and fall away to leave a silvered light and a golden glow.

Elsewhere today I found this totally delightful little film.  It feels like an apt little piece to accompany the Sycamore Necklace.  Enjoy mes amis!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Silent Sunday

A Time Pebble, Cari-Jane Hakes, 27 May 2012
First time contributor to #silentsunday (more here) - so slightly breaking the 'rules' because I'm not being very silent but I sort of wanted to let you all in on the deal just incase you too wanted to take part.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Something different for a Saturday

A very special customer came to me with a very special request; please could I make him a mouse from a piece of grass?  Well, but of course!  I made another one for this post just incase you get asked the same question - well, you never know!

To make your mouse you will need: 1. a pair of scissors  2. a pair of twezers  3. some black thread for the whiskers  4. black seed beads for the eyes and nose  5.  leaves for the ears  AND 6. a fluffy bit of grass.

You'll also need some glue which I didn't put in this picture because it didn't look as pretty as everything else and totally screwed up the rather nice composition I had going.

Step 1 ::  you need a steady hand for this one, so if your over caffeinated just give up now!  Use the tweezers to pick up a seed bead, get a blob of glue on it and stick the beads into the fluffy bit of the grass.  I had to give the fluff a bit of a trim so I could get the eyes stuck right in there.

At this stage, your mouse will look rather funny, like Cousin It from The Addams Family (but without the glasses).

Step 2 ::  fold over some thread, knot it in the middle and trim the ends, stick this into the fluff.  Your customer will start to get very excited at this stage, as yes indeed, the piece of fluffy grass is beginning to look like something!

Step 3 :: Add another seed bead with the tweezers to make the nose.  Cut some circles from the leaves, and glue them into place to make the ears. Stop holding your breath and go and make yourself a coffee - all the tricky fiddly bits are done.

Step 4 ::  Present the completed mouse to you small 'jumping up and down on the spot' customer!

Field Mouse, Cari-Jane Hakes, 26 May 2012
Bon Weekend mes amis!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Really Rather Remarkable Thing

I found this little scrap of remarkableness on the high tide line.

I believe it to be a scoured portion of a seaweed root.  I picked it up because of its delicate mottling which suggested some kind of aquatic leopard.

It is the colour of dried out peat mixed with mocha and a dash of rich balsamic vinegar.  It is soft with a pliable mossy spring to it.  It is really a rather remarkable thing.

I collected together a little seaside sampler (and then got frustrated with my camera for falling out of focus around the edges).

Seaside Sampler, Cari-Jane Hakes, 23 May 2012
Number 1 - a fine purple variegated oyster shell.

Number 2 - a crab the size of your fingernail.

Number 3 - an aquatic leopard (whom you have already been introduced to).  Number 4 - a large limpet shell (or a chapeau chinois (a chinese hat) as the French sometimes call them).

Number 5 - assorted seaweed fronds.

C'est tout for today mes amis!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When I grow up I STILL want to be a potter

Back in 2010 I revealed here that really, when I grow up, I want to be a potter, or to put it more accurately, a ceramicist.

Well today, I saw the work of Clare Mahoney of CRM Ceramics and it reminded me again of that small childhood dream that was sparked by looking into the studio space of a 'potter in residence' at a National Trust property up in Scotland.

Clare's work totally distracted me from a rather tricky soldering job for a good while and I kept flicking back to these images to enjoy again the pebble forms, the indigo, blue and cyanotype hues, the botanical prints and winged creatures.

CRM Ceramics, photograph by Jon Rolfe
CRM Ceramics, photograph by Jon Rolfe
Elsewhere today on the bench, what began here as a sewn sycamore seeds is beginning to unfold, in an articulated, architectural way writ in silver and gold.  It is a rather fine thing in deed, even if I do say so myself!
work in progress, sycamore, Cari-Jane Hakes May 2012
work in progress, sycamore, Cari-Jane Hakes May 2012 
I can actually get this piece to balance on its back, it rocks slightly, arcs upwards and hovers, each end curved in a tethered levitation.  It is a labour of love.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mosaic Mercredi

The monthly Mosaic Mercredi is back after a brief hiatus.

I started with a photograph that I took of a little fly having a rest on the allium here at the Hybrid Handmade House and then gradually unpacked the colours in each image to make a connection to the next.  The purply pink of the alliums led to the background on the next image and the orange fox in that one introduced the little stitched composition by Cathy Cullis and so on!

1. fly on allium, 2. Still life with stuffed fox, 3. untitled, 4. Bradwell Common, Housing, Milton Keynes by Martin Richardson, 5. Untitled, 6. Tomatillo husks, 7. Cirque. Jongleurs, 8. Untitled, 9. Quick Footed, 10. Dense, 11. water snake, 12. FOR A BETTER FUTUR. Sarayevo. 2012, 13. Open fields, 14. souvenirs, 15. honey balsamic strawberry galette, 16. allium
Until I ended up back at allium via a few lovely friends on the way, Jana Gering, fellow Etsyian Paul Bailey (his Etsy shop can be found here) and Joel Robinson (who incidentally also sells copies of his magical photographs on Etsy, you can find them here).  Goodness, I think thats quite enough links in one sentence, don't you think?

News around these parts - the forms are filled and posted - I'm back in the atelier weaving something rather epic from silver and a bit of 18ct gold.  It really is rather something.

More on that later mes amis.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What I Caught In My Net

I've been casting my net far and wide of late; on grounds that are far far above the high tide mark.  Looking closely, things are really rather magical.  Surface tension is a marvelous thing don't you think?  Without it I think pond-skaters would have a rather tough time of it all.

A little closer to the high tide line I found this teeny tiny orchid on the protected dunes....

and elsewhere, flowers of a more common sort, but beautiful nonetheless.

And on the edges of this little microcosm I found new life pushing through the dune margins.

I cycled along hedges of bright yellow with three baguettes in my bag, practicing my French pronunciation out loud whilst the church bells peeled out for midday.  With an amusing shock of realisation I amused myself with the fact that I had become a cliché of sorts.  In a good way.

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We Have a Winner!

After carefully listing you all (comments and likers on Facebook) I used the handy random number generator (which you can find here should you ever feel the need to generate a truly random number) to give me the winner for the 2nd blog-iversary grand giveaway.

So that makes Leona Weaver the winner!  Congratulations Leona!  Leona is a fellow Etsyian and hails from Covington, Georgia, USA.  You can find her shop here and check out below for some of her beautiful prints that you can buy in her Etsy shop.

Pink Peony Photo by Leona Weaver on Etsy
Source: via Cari-Jane on Pinterest

Fall Pasture Grass Fine Art Photo by Leona Weaver on Etsy
Source: via Cari-Jane on Pinterest

Leona, I will be in touch via an Etsy convo to pass on the good news!

Thank you to every one who took part it was really lovely reading all your comments and for joining me on the Facebook page.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Last 5 Pins on Pinterest

Social media is a curious thing.  Us solo designer / maker - preneurs can't browse the web for more than five seconds without tripping over some well informed article on why we should be tweeting, instagraming and facebooking at the same time as we solder, sew and sticky tape our creations together (I should point out, that I don't actually use ANY sticky tape in my jewellery.  I just used that word because it began with a 's' and I'm a sucker for a good alliteration).

I think I manage all these arenas fairly well.  I accept that they are a necessary part of my business and will blurt out the occasional tweet and facebook post.  To be honest though, I'd rather just be in my workshop making things or sketching new designs (I know this is BAD business practice and I probably do have a problem with my production v's promotion balance). But oh!  When it comes to pinning.  Well, I just love to pin!  As a forum, for me, it feels very unforced, natural even.

And so without further ado I give last five pins on Pinterest.

What a fabulous little house this is!  You can find out more about it and its desginer Jessica Helgerson here.  In total, this little house takes up a mere 540 square feet (not far off the Hybird Handmade Home here in France) and for my money, the smaller and more compact the better!  Less to clean, more time to create!

Next up, a new product from those wonderfully talented people over at Pigeon Toe Ceramics.

These facet magnets bring a whole new meaning to 'fridge chic' (I don't think there is actually such a thing as 'fridge chic', I think I just made that up, but if you needed your fridge to be chic then these fabulous morsels of colour would do the trick).  As a jeweller and wannabe potter (see this previous post) these are right up my street.

Next, a skirt I love, but don't need and probably couldn't wear anyway. I think I would be swamped by it. In any-case, I like its name, Strolling Stems Skirt (oh, another alliteration). And its yellow, which I like.

Elsewhere, I spotted these on Etsy.  If they don't make you smile/giggle or at lease raise a quizzical eyebrow then there is something wrong with you (or maybe you just need a well earned holiday in which case I'll let you off).

Source: via Cari-Jane on Pinterest

A super secret agent Tapir with his friends the polka dot giraffe and zebra. Check out fellow Etsyian The Good Machinery for more day-glo and spotted fabulousness.

And last, but by no mean least, a pin that shows that I can be super grown up and glamourous if I so choose.

Big branches, inside.  I've been trying this out in the Hybrid Handmade House with varying degrees of success.  I think the spaces here lack a certain volume necessary to carry this look off.  Added to this, my branches are more gnarly and less slender and graceful.

Oh that was fun, I haven't done a 'Last Five Pins on Pinterest' for a while.  If your on Pinterest feel free to leave a link to your page below and perhaps a natter about what you've been pinning of late.  Now if you'll excuse me, I think I should go and pin more things!

Post Scriptus: Don't forget to comment on the 2nd anniversary blog-iversary post here for a chance to be in the running for $50 off Hybrid Handmade jewellery.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Two Things

This quote that I found on Pinterest has been rambling through my thoughts.  I do believe it may very well be the answer to ALL of the word's problems.

And I'm patiently waiting for this to open up and do its 'yes I'm a flower but I also look like a static firework'.

Here is hoping your Saturday is full of love and fragrant blooming things.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Rather Remarkable Fabulous Friday Feeling

I was completely captivated by these buttons whilst in Liberty, London after the Sania Pell book launch.  Let's start with their shape, decidedly pebble like and very similar to shapes that I draw as a foundation for many of my designs.  So you see, there was no way I could leave without taking a few with me.

Buttons from Liberty, London
The detail is really rather remarkable and leaves me wondering if they are carved by hand or a very delicate careful machine.

Liberty buttons, detail
They now sit on my workshop table waiting for a free moment, although I have already begun sketching some designs in my mind; minimal necklaces, flat rings, each adorned with these little bits of ivory, grey and creamy white.

Elsewhere this week, the shadows cast by this sea holly leaf had me reaching for my camera.

I really have no words to describe this fragile brilliance so I will just let the photographs speak for themselves.

And where, I hear you cry, is the 'Fabulous Friday Feeling'?  Well, that came in the shape of a call from the Hybrid Handmade Husband, very early in the morning, 2am if I am not mistaken.  He simply had to call though to let me know that he won 'Footwear Designer of the Year' at the Drapers' Awards in London last night.  I'm rather speechless on this too - suffice to say my heart is full to bursting with admiration and respect for all that he has achieved with this project.

Julian Hakes London, The Mojito 
Don't forget to click and comment here to be in with a chance to win in the Hybrid Handmade 2nd blog-iversary giveaway!

Bon Weekend mes amis!

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