Friday, August 31, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

Created by Tim Etchells for the Glastonbury Festival 2011 this beautiful artwork / installation features a flock of over 700 daylight LEDs.  These luminous words were taken from the Cat Power's song 'Colours and the Kids'.

It has a kind of fragile innocence about it.  It is inspiring in its simplicity and makes me wonder again about the power locked up within words and phrases.  Words are truly mightier than the sword!

The piece was resurrected for the Thames Festival in London in 2011.
You can find out more about Tim Etchells work on his website by clicking here

"it's so hard to go into the city, 'cos you wanna say 'hey, I love you' to everybody....
when we were teenagers, we wanted to be the sky..."
Cat Powers, 'Colours and the Kids'

Here's to dropping some off the world weariness that oftentimes rests heavily on our shoulders, to regaining our innocence, turning to those around us and saying 'I love you' and becoming part of the sky.  It is the weekend after all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Introducing Clementine

Meet Clementine (pronounced the French way clem-uhn-teen), procured at a local Brocante, aided and abetted by Henkalullah.

She has a unique colouring that means she stands out in a crowd.  She revels in the attention that this brings her way, but it has not always been so.  In her younger days, the day-glo neon pink was something of a burden, but with time and patina she has grown into her bodywork.

She likes to go off-roading, taking the road less travelled and so she keeps her load light.

She has a few dents and scraps, bumps and marks but these too she has learnt to live with.  They give her a 'I've been places' look which she prefers to the box-fresh 'I've never been off the shelf' look.

More adventures from Clementine, coming soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple Summer Necklaces

There is nothing I love better than the beauty of complexity, intricate details and layers of materials, hues and tones.  I see it in nature and I reflect it in my work.  One of my favourite pieces is the 'Midnight Bird Singing by Moonlight' brooch, which is also a necklace (and a spoon, should you so desire).

Midnight Bird Singing by Moonlight, Cari-Jane Hakes (on Etsy)
Lately though, I've really enjoyed wearing these simple summer necklaces.  Little treasures collected by the Hybrid Handmade Helpers have been easily converted into fuss free minimal accessories that sit lightly and don't mind going for a bit of dip in the ocean!

Simple Summer Necklaces, Cari-Jane Hakes, August 2012

Simple Summer Necklaces, detail, Cari-Jane Hakes, August 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

The sky has been doing a bit of this...

French Skies, August 2012
....which may well be my favourite kind of sky along with the kind of dark, pre-storm kind of a sky with strong sunlight which makes certain colours vibrantly sing as if they are lit from within.

I'm still a bit obsessed with the gummy, semi-translucent seaweed which keeps floating around me and distracting me from my 'lifeguard' duties.

Seaweed, collected for possible future use, August 2012
I scooped these specimens up and took them home to the Hybrid Handmade atelier for a closer inspection.  I think they may become incorporated into something once they dry out.

Elsewhere, this perviously made piece found a new home and set sail, off on adventures and voyages with its new owner.

'Betwixt Wind and Water', pendant on turquoise cord, wood and brass, Cari-Jane Hakes 2012
You can read more about this piece here (design sketches and inspiration) and here.

And finally, if all of the above wasn't fabulous enough for your Friday, I fished this out of my polishing tank!  More on him next week though.

'Stories Set in Stone', necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happiness is...

Tomorrow is the last day of Pam's Photography Challenge.  Click on over to The Muse to see what we have been up to.

Throughout this challenge I have had to keep track of the deadlines for each topic in my diary, 'send sky high' 'send dark of night' 'send colour of love' have been scribbled in amongst other appointments and happenings.  For tomorrows challenge I wrote 'send happiness'.  I liked how that looked.  And for me, that is largely how I see the internet and all its associated mechanisms, be it through blogs, Pinterest or Facebook.   I generally post and write about all that makes me happy.  I seek out all the things that are beautiful, clever and wise.  The people I meet in this place also fall into that category.

For the 'Happiness is..' topic on day 12 of Pam's list I thought I might shoot something with depth and philosophical meaning.  Then I sliced into one of my fresh picked tomatoes from the vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden and smiled.  My boys thought it was funny too and demanded I took a photograph before I ate it.  So I did.

Day 12 of The Mercantile Muse's Photography Challenge, 'Happiness is'
Elsewhere today, the Hybrid Handmade Atelier is back up and running after a quick jaunt to the hardware shop in the next village to purchase some very essential butane gas.  I rather like the quizzical looks I get as I fill my basket with hefty plumbers canisters and other such things. "Ce qui  se fait Madame?"  It is rather fun being a slightly curious foreign person here in France.  That makes me happy too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

Fabulous Friday feelings seem to have been a bit thin on the ground of late so I thought it was high time I redressed the balance.

Today, in our small corner of the world, here in France, the tidal co-efficient is high which means the sea retreats out far at low tide.  It seemed like the volume was turned down as the waves sank back into the deep blue yonder and the waters receded and secretly, silently began to show some mostly submerged shallows that are usually far far beneath the surface of the sea.

Day 10, Sky High, Mercantile Muse's Photography Challenge, 17 August 2012
And perhaps there was more sky than normal.  It seemed that way.  There were acres of blue, edged lightly with a floating, feathery seaweedy line.  There was enough for everyone to take a square home.

Bon Weekend mes amis.  Here's hoping there are some acres of blue for you to harvest too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A couple of things in other places.

The London Hybrid Handmade Home made a little appearance in last night's Evening Standard Homes and Property section (page 14 to be exact).  In case you happened NOT to be in London to pick up your very own copy (that would be you and me both then), I thought I'd do a couple of screen shots for you (I've lined them up as best as I can).

Evening Standard, Homes and Property, Wednesday 15 August 2012, page 14
I particularly like the fact that the boy's special toy animals managed to make an apperence in the kitchen picture, on a little shelf, just below the clock!

Elsewhere on the web, this rather neat little film was published featured the Hybrid Handmade Husband doing his thing.

I'm so pleased that we have these bits of documentation to remind us of this special place.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home is where the heart is

I've spent the last few weeks in our London home, packing, cleaning and packing.  We haven't officially lived there since we accidentally moved to France four years ago (for more on that and the rest of an interview I did with Kate of Crafts on Sea click here) but it was a very important 'home' for us.  We took it from a blown out old factory shell and made it into the place where we brought up our two baby boys and established our architectural business.

Colour of Love, day 9, Mercantile Muse Photography Challenge
As I packed away the personal belongings we had used to furnish the place (to make it easier to sell) I looked around at the bare walls and walked through the echoey spaces and didn't really recognise the place.  It had had all its soul and personality sucked out of it.  It had become a shell again.  There were no sad emotions here, there is nothing there made of brick and plaster, concrete and wood that I wish to hold onto.  All the bits that are important I carry with me.  I have taken my 'home' with me.  Upwards and onwards mes amis!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Make mine a Mojito

I was completely over the moon to be able to finally get my hands on a pair of 'Julian Hakes London' Mojitos!  You see, I am not 'sample size', so I have watched and waited as many wondrous lusterous coloured shoes have come and gone from the Hybrid Handmade House.  'Shoe shoes everywhere but not a pair to wear!' I would lament to anyone who would listen.

But, good things come to those who wait.

What can I say about these shoes that hasn't already been said?  Well, when I wore these shoes I felt like I had silvered moonlight wraped around by foot.  The neon orange leather to the inside of the shoe is just simply fierce with a capital F (and probably a capital I, E, R, C and E as well come to think of it).

Now, I did choose the boldest, blingest pair and actually found that I had to tone down the rest of my outfit. Everything else had to be simple and minimal.  The shoes are the jewellery, the accessories and all the embellishment you need.  I just added a dash of black and I was ready to go.

These shoes made me happy.  These shoes made me proud because I could say 'yes, my husband designed these'.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hidden London, Red Cross Gardens, SE1

We all get super excited about traveling, visiting new countries and places but as I've found over the last few weeks, living in London again (albeit temporarily), there are often some surprising hidden treasures on our doorsteps!

A case in point is this delightful little pocket of a park that I discovered last week.  Before de-camping to France 4 years ago I had been living in the Bermondsey / Borough area of south London for just over 4 years and had NOT come across this perfect little space.

The Red Cross Garden, London, SE1, August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
After the demise of a paper factory the garden was originally laid out in 1888 by Octavia Hill (a founder of the National Trust, an organisation which is still going strong to this day in the UK).  The garden was described as 'an open air sitting-room' for the people of London.

In 2005 the garden was refurbished and today an impressive panoply of plants and a chattering little fountain and pond sit neatly in front of Red Cross Hall and these teeny tiny cottages by the architect Elijah Hoole (constructed in 1902).

No. 5 Red Cross Cottages, London SE1, August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
I obviously saw the park at its very very best.  In full summer bloom I adore the way you can often photograph a big portion of a plants life cycle, from flower to seed pod, in one shot.

Teeny Tiny Twisted Seed Pods, Cari-Jane Hakes
Elsewhere I caught this frame of a downy flocked leafy plant - I don't know its correct name, other than it is rather fabulous with its curious frost covered looking fluff!

Summer Frost, Cari-Jane Hakes, August 2012
And finally, perfect hydrangeas, everywhere!  Regular Hybrid Handmaders will already know that this gorgeous bunch made it all the way onto the August desktop calendar (which you can find here).

Perfect Peachy Hydrangeas, Cari-Jane Hakes, August 2012
If you happen to be London or would like to find this garden on a future adventure, follow this link and scroll down to the third installment - click on the street map link and it will tell you where this hidden treasure lies.

One of these photographs will become my day 6 photo for the Mecantile Muse's Photo Challenge that will be published tomorrow.  You can check out our progress here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Tokonomas

It was day 4 of Pam's (of Mercantile Muse) photography challenge - the topic - dark of night.  My offering for this topic consisted of the below little interior composition.

A while back, when my husband and I were refurbishing our first apartment we had a Japanese employee working with us in our architectural practice.  He was helping us out with some of the work in the apartment and saw the little recess we had created in the side of the wall, under the stairs, and he remarked 'oh, you made a tokonoma'.  To which we replied 'a toko - what?'

The Second Tokonoma, August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
Turns out that most Japanese homes have a tokonoma (or toko).  Our friend explained that it would be a place where important treasured items would be placed along with perhaps a seasonal object, plant or flower.  In essence, I suppose it is not dissimilar to a mantlepiece or an alcove.

And so, when be began constructing the interior of our second home, we built another tokonoma.  A perfect little pocket of a space.  I must admit, I love these teeny tiny architectural details in a home - the moments when a large space becomes articulated and scaled down to the size of a hand.

I think next time round I'd like to make the tokonoma a bit bigger, perhaps with areas of differing depths of recess, with perhaps a little bit more materiality, a timber or tiled base.

I wonder, does your home have a tokonoma?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Desktop Calender

I stumbled across THE most perfect little public urban garden / park today.  It was such a surprise and left me beaming from ear to ear.  It was in full bloom and I managed to get this peachy little shot of a gorgeous hydrangea.  It just had to become the image for the August calendar.

If you want this totally fabulous flower adorning your desktop then all you have to do is click on one of the images below (one that roughly fits the pixel width of your screen will work best) save it to your desk top and then use your settings menu (or system preferences or  equivalent) to change your backdrop desktop image.  You might need to choose the 'centre' option to make sure you can see all the dates.

And so, without further ado, I give you the 1600 pixel wide image for those of you with big screens and big desks and big coffee cups and lots of important windows open at the same time.  I bet you have two phones too, one on each side! Go you! And I bet this hydrangea is going to look super dooper fantastic on such a big screen.  You will be the envy of all your colleagues.

August 1600 px wide
And then, if like me, you have a little Mac book air, here is a peachily perfect pocket sized 1400 pixel wide image that will look positively wonderful (sorry, ran out of descriptive words starting with 'p') every time you open that little silver lid to check your emails.

August 1400 px wide
And finally for those of you with 1280 pixel wide screens, here is one just for you.  I do hope one of these images fits for you - if not, let me know how big your screen is and I will happily resize my original image, just for you.  Also, it would be handy to know what the average screen size is.  My internet research has thrown up these three sizes as being the most popular and common but for all I know, you are all cursing me every month because I keep uploading totally useless images that don't fit any of your screens!

August 1280 px wide
Goodness, what a lot of hydrangeas!  I hope you enjoy re-potting them into your homes and workplaces.

All that remains for me to do is to post my photographs for the Mercantile Muse photography challenge.  Now, I missed the deadline for the 'vast' category due to extended traveling at the weekend but I managed to fit in a little visit to the place in London that to me signifies this word.

Tate Modern, the turbine hall, London, 1st August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
It is the actual containment of the space that makes it feel vast.  Of course the scale of the river and the sky outside or the structure of the Millennium bridge that leads up to it are, technically, bigger but somehow the surprise of this big empty space immediately came to me when I read the challenge list.

Tate Modern, the turbine hall, 1 August, Cari-Jane Hakes
To bring me up to date with Pam's photo challenge I also need to post my self portrait.  This was a difficult one.  I'm sure, if you are anything like me, you are happy being the one BEHIND the camera, snapping away, NOT in front of it!

c'est moi, photo challenge, day 3
Day 4 on Pam's challenge list is 'dark of the night' which is exactly how it looks outside my window now - Bonne Nuit mes amis.

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