Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Making Visible That Which Is Invisible

So it was with many clicks and google searches that I persued the creator of this piece that popped up on my Pinterest feed this morning.

Liz Collini Refractions 2012, screen print on paper
A grand sweep of beautiful typography is really rather beautiful and I often found, in my training as an Architect, that a drawing didn't feel finished until it was covered in text, notations and labelling.  The text made visible what was unseen and only implied in the drawing.

Liz Collini 'versions' detail 2009, chalk and pen on blue emulsion (image: Stephen Walton)

The day I learned how I could put text in any font I so desired onto silver was an auspicious day indeed.  There are some words, some phrases, poems and lyrics that embed deep into your fibres in a way that make you understand why Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword".

pebble pendant
'We've still got time', Cari-Jane Hakes, 2009

'Love Letters Written by Moonlight' stage 1
Love Letters Written By Moonlight, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2009
winter song brooch/necklace 2
Winter Song, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2009
Les Petites Callioux, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2009
What words are burned into your being?  Words to live by, words that play on repeat in the background of your life.

To find out more about Liz Collini, visit her website

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

I've been rather captivated by the BBC's 'Hebrides: Islands on the Edge' (click here to see a clip).  For a long time, I have been fascinated by these islands.  I wonder what kind of treasure I would find there that I could incorporate into my work?  I may just have to go some day and see what there is for the taking.

In the meantime, I took my gathered gleanings from my last trip to Scotland and began on another important commission.

Some auburn bracken, winter weathered and a little fragile was my plant of choice for a neat little oval brooch.  I held my breath a little as I passed this through the rolling mill; there was a danger that it wold just crumble and disintegrate.  Thankfully, it remained intact and the resulting print was just beautiful.

A Brooch of Bracken, May 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
Elsewhere today, in my little corner of this island, I'm waiting for the honeysuckle to pop!

Luckily, there are a few others things in bloom that have managed to distract me from my impatience.

Bon weekend mes amis!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orchids, Hydrangeas and Vintage Pearls

I am always really honoured when someone chooses me to make a piece of jewellery to commemorate a special occasion.  The responsibility of that honour rests with a palpable pressure on me as I make these pieces.  The pressure is good.  It gives the work an edge.  It means that 'good enough' is NOT good enough and pushes me to look for perfection in every tiny detail.

I also consider the faith that the person, who commissions the piece, has in me.  I am often someone they have never met.  They see my work and they ask me to make something special for themselves or for them to give to someone special.  Of course, it would be much easier for them to just pop out to the shops and buy something ready made.

I owe my business to that fact that they do not.

And for this, I am truly thankful.  It means I get to make beautiful things like this:

Hydrangea petal print and vintage pearl detail, May 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
Creating these roll printed textures can sometimes be a bit hit and miss.  With silver sheet so expensive these days, mistakes are expensive.  I will always do a test roll on a smaller piece of metal first to test the pressure; but this isn't always foolproof.  A bigger piece of metal often produces more of a drag on the rollers and then you are stuck, half way through a print, with no momentum to go forwards!

That didn't happen with this piece.  The petals veins and intricate cul-de-sacs left their beautiful impression; as it popped out on the other side of the roller I knew it was a perfect print.

Orchid detail to rear of the 'locket', detail, May 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
This commission called for a little extra detail to be added around the side wall of the 'locket'.  I couldn't stamp into the fine silver bezel that is bent over the perspex lens that holds the photograph in place.  The bezel is a more pure silver and therefore very pliable.  Stamping letters and numbers into it would squash it out of shape.  And so, I created a ring of 0.7mm sterling silver that slotted into place around the 'locket's' bail at the top.

Hand stamped detail to edge, May 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
Elsewhere today, some Scottish bracken got put through the rolling mill.  It came out the other side a little worse for wear but the impression it left was delicate and magical.  More on that tomorrow mes amis!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Looking out to Sea - New Horizons part 5

On a weekend excursion to explore the edges of this island we now live on I found this old man gazing out to sea!

Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers, sculpture by Ray Lonsdale
A patchwork of corten steel knits together to produce a seated 12 foot man with a troubled face that has perhaps seen too much of man's inhumanity to man.

You can find out more about the sculptor, Ray Lonsdale here.

On a slightly different scale, the Hybrid Handmade workshop is full to the brim with commissions and projects.  The workbench is in productive disarray.

The Bench, May 2013
I'm pulling together some beautiful ingredients - hydrangea petals, pearls and orchids with a generous sprinkling of silver and topped with a dash of fine silver bezel.  This evening, I have made the tinniest pocket for the pearl to rest in and tomorrow I'll begin the larger housing for the orchid.  More on that later mes amis!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Forgotten Ferns

I opened up my flower press today to prepare a piece of bracken from Scotland that may be used in a piece I am working on.  As is always the case, I had forgotten what last went into the press.  Inside, a tiny little forest of ferns were waiting for me.

I did what I normally do when I find an amazing natural texture - I annealed some silver and rolled the fern into some silver sheet.

A hop, skip and a jump later I had a new pair of earrings for the Etsy shop!

Silver Fern Earrings, Cari-Jane Hakes, May 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The writing IS on the wall

I went on a jaunt inland to meet new clients in Sheffield and in amongst my walk up into town I followed this joyful splash of gilt and rose and raspberry.

It led me to this poem, writ large, shining across the city.  Photographing the city is a very different thing from photographing rock pools and lichen!

Elsewhere I searched out for more gold, pressed in and upon old stones.

I'm hoping my next jaunt will let me visit fellow blogger and textile artist Hannah Lamb's work at The Bowery (see here for more details). Hannah will also be participating in The Saltaire Arts Trail (more information here).  See below Hannah's beautiful cyanotype postcards.  You can find out more about her at

Cyanotype postcards by Hannah Lamb
The workshop is buzzing with a little pile of commissions.  Busy but happy.  A bientôt mes amis!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Scottish 'Fishing' Trip

It was high time I went 'home' and so I took the train from here to there and caught a few things along the way.

Distant topography along the east coast, Scotland, May 2013
I snapped a few views from the train window and wondered if the sky was in fact different, or was I just imagining it.  The visit was over so quickly it feels like it might have all been a dream!

River Dee, Scotland, May 2013
There were bigger spaces between things and there was a quietness that almost seemed 'loud'.

Haar (fog) rainbow, Scotland, May 2013

I managed to gather and glean a few treasures for an important commission.

I spotted this lichen wafting on a Highland breeze.  It really is rather remarkable.

A Really Rather Remarkable Thing, May 2013

I have preparations today for another private commission today and then a little gallery visit to see my good friend and fellow Etsyian, Alexandra  (you can find her Etsy shop here and her website here).

Here's to all your weekend plans mes amis!  May they all be 'rather remarkable'.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Listening to your customers

I can say quiet seriously that the first time my jewellery teacher showed me how to roll textures into silver my life was changed.  It was like he had just performed a magic trick.  It seemed so implausible that a delicate flimsy bit of stuff could be robust enough to imprit itself into a sheet of silver.  But it works and it still seems like magic to me now.  In fact, if I do a roll print of a leaf texture I will STILL go and show the amazing result to whomever happens to be within shouting distance of my rolling mill.

I gathered up all of this magic and worked solidly on this epic piece for a week a couple of years ago.

Fiercely Feminine silver necklace with chalcedony by Cari-Jane Hakes 

Many people tell me how beautiful this piece is.  It is big, bold, intricate, strong and delicate all at once. The amount of silver and the time it takes to fashion such a piece is reflected in the price.

The challenge I set myself today was to capture the essence of this piece and fabricate it so that is did NOT take a week to make! The result was this:

Fiercely Feminine silver necklace by Cari-Jane Hakes 

All the same fierce femininity but with a less fiercely expensive price tag!

Bon Weekend mes amis!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Right Here, Right Now - New Horizons part 4

I've been stretching my legs, measuring new territory and trying to run further than I did the last time.

 A little bit of potting and planting and putting down new roots.

The Greenhouse, May 2013
And bringing bits of the outside....inside.

Inside, May 2013

 Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to 'Work like a Captain'!

(The fabulous Captain/Pirate print can be purchased from Monorail on Etsy, click here to visit their shop.)
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