Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finished - The Dawn Chorus

The Dawn Chorus, worn, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
These pieces that take about a week to build, are a test.  I push the limits of my skills.  Taking up my piercing saw, when I started the delicate sawing of the silver sheet that formed the bird silhouette I pushed the limits of slenderness and soldering.  Too much heat applied in the wrong place could have melted the delicate connections of twig and leaf.  I've done it before where many hours of work have been rendered useless by the immutable melting point of silver.  Solid sheet shrivels up into a liquid ball.  It is fascinating and devastating in equal measure.

Dawn Chorus, hand forged chain and closure, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
On a piece such as this, a bespoke, handmade chain was demanded.  I set to work forging 2mm silver rod into an undulating series of links and turns.  It needed to have a certain fluidity about it, musical. lilting as if floating out of the little singing birds beak.

Dawn Chorus, detail, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
And woven into all of this is the first verse of Emily Dickinson's poem, Hope,

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune - without the words
And never stops at all

These big pieces are declarations.  The amount of time and the investment of materials is huge.  I make them to prove that I can. I make them surrounded by all the pressing demands that are part of being a woman who works, who also has a family that depends on her and needs her.  And in all of this, I am hopeful.  In all of this I am grateful.

Detail to back, recycled silver and pearl, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
To see work in progress on the piece, click here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Les Petites Cailloux

I feel like these rings may be part of my signature as a jeweller.  They have been very popular and so it was time to make some more!

Les Petites Cailloux, pebble rings with recycled silver
I used some recycled silver for the back plates of each pebble 'cup', this gives a slightly weathered look to the silver which tones in perfectly with the surf tossed, aged, pebbles.

Delicate quartz lines, Les Petites Cailloux, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes

These are my favourite kinds of pebbles.  Shot through with white, tiny little minimal canvases of tone and line.  The one pictured above has the most delicate of quartz lines running through its basalt body.

Detail of recycled silver back plates with leaf textures, Cari-Jane Hakes, July 2013

And of course, it wouldn't be a Hybrid Handmade piece without a secret little extra texture.  This time I used a sycamore leaf skeleton and a fern.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Really Rather Remarkable Thing

I'm still stopping to look closely at the things on the margins, on the edges, discarded and hidden.  Whilst in France, this came very easily.  Back in England, even though I'm living in a place and a position on the island of the UK that I have never lived, I'm finding it a little harder to 'see'.

And then I found this.

Perhaps, at first glance it is not such a remarkable thing.  And indeed they are common as muck around these parts.  But they exhibit a delicate variation, and certainly, at this time of year, as they shed their snowy whiteness a whole panoply of colours and tones have begun to develop.

I must admit I am a little shocked to see so many things coming into seed.  I was under the impression that perhaps summer was spreading out in front of us in a never ending unfurling carpet.  Not so.  The time has unspooled quickly and is lying in a bit of a mess all over the place!

I took some time to photograph this seed head from a few different angles.  From here and there it begins to resemble a very delicate tensegrity structure - like the ones Gaudi used to make as he pondered the whys and where-fours of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Antoni Gaudi and his upside down structural model

Summer Seeds, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
I rather like the distribution and orientation of these seeds, the way they lie and seemingly swarm with a  kind of static energy.

Elsewhere - many things are taking shape on the workbench.  More on that tomorrow mes amis.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dawn Chorus

The piece that I have been working on, in between important commissions, is beginning to take shape.

The Dawn Chorus, Necklace, Work in Progress, Cari-Jane Hakes
The original idea for this piece was rooted in the deciduous forests that weave and climb and cling to the steep inclines that cut into the land that rises up from the back door of my workshop.  I've navigated these spaces over the last 7 months and watched as the canopy of leaves grew and began to make verdant tunnels of dappled light.  What was once an silent minimal graphic expression of bare branch against bleached out chalky winter sky has grown into a vast kaleidoscopic cathedral.

Detail to back of Pendant, Work in Progress, Cari-Jane Hakes
And so this piece has an interior, a 'floor' covered in leaves, a sifted foundation of root and vine and folded veins.  The back of the piece holds a similar, smaller pocket of space and is textured with a leaf skeleton that I found this winter past.  I've made the back from a heavy sheet of recycled silver which shows a bit of roughness in places.  It is timeworn, aged.

It's been a while since I made something on this scale, with this amount of detail.  Now all I need to do is make a chain link the whole story together.

Elsewhere on the bench, what began here, is being made in silver and precious stone.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Work in Progress

The Hybrid Handmade workshop is a hive of activity!  Amongst other things, this little bird has flown in for a while.  Some tricky work with my piercing saw ensued.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wedding Season - Part 2

Two years ago Andrea, of Strong Southerly fame, asked me to create two pieces of jewellery for her wedding day.  What an honour!  I wrote about the process of making the necklace and the brooch here and  here.

It was interesting to see how the photographer commissioned to capture The Big Day photographed the jewellery.

Photographed by ngg (now 'Byron Loves Fawn)
Photographed by ngg (now 'Byron Loves Fawn)
I particularly love the last photograph, with Andrea wrapped up in her feathery, foggy shawl.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's Wedding Season!

I've just finished this beautiful commission to make a necklace and cuff links to commemorate a happy couple's wedding day.  I've done a fair few of these for various clients and friends but no two are the same and each project has its challenges and design issues to consider and work out.

Leaf cuff links, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
For the cuff links, I took a dried, pressed leaf, that was plucked from the wedding bouquet by my client, and rolled it into the silver.  Cutting the silver in half gave me the pieces I needed for each cuff link.  With the patination my aim is always to make the botanical print look photographic. It worked particularly well this time.

Cuff Links, detail, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
For the necklace there were a number of pressed flowers I could have used but I picked this one as it looked like it would transfer well into the silver (some soft petals just don't have enough fiber in them to make an indentation in the silver).

Necklace, July 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
I always imagine that these must be lovely gifts to receive.  By virtue of the fact that they use flowers and leaves from the wedding day, they have to be presented after the spectacle of the big day has long died down.  And then, out of the blue, a little something arrives that perfectly preserves something fragile and fleeting from that important day.  A silver imprinted memory to take into the future and a bit of the wedding day that you can wear everyday.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Really Rather Remarkable Thing

These seem to be popping up everywhere.

I think they are rather remarkable.

They have a kind of statuesque architectural quality.  But in all honesty, they give concrete, glass and steel a good run for their money.  They have grace, glowing colour and exhibit a certain kind of 'garden gravitas' that I can't quite put my finger on.  Oh, and, the noise the bees make when they are busy inside each bloom makes me smile.

Elsewhere, I've been Instagraming.  I know, I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm here if you fancy a peek.  Let me know where you are on Instagram and I'll seek you out.
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