Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1 year on, or, 'what I caught in my net'

A year ago this week we bundled up our little family and packed all the things that were vital for living (tools, lego...) into a big metal trailer and moved across Europe.  From France to a little island called Great Britain.

A year ago today I came to see the house that is now my home.

Over the year, I've watched the light fade into a blue hum that signified a coming winter colder than I'd known in a long long time.  Then I've watched it lengthen and creep into the various corners of the house and light up the details (and dust) that I hadn't noticed before.

Over time I've ventured out from this place in ever increasing loops, running up the dales, measuring the land with my stride and keeping time, not looking back until, up on the top the whole landscape rolls out and away, eventually dissolving into the bright streak of wide river.

I still go on 'fishing' trips with my camera.  The haul is somewhat different from France. The light is often quieter here.  The time is often a little more rushed.  I have to look more carefully, more deliberately.

A year ago today it was raining and this house was someone else's house filled with 40 years worth of another family's memories, traditions and life.

A year on, the sun is brightly shining and I'm wondering, after never living anywhere for longer than 5 years, if this is the place that might hold on to me a little tighter, a little longer. Perhaps, perhaps...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Emerald Pools, a rock pool ring for Andrea

What began here with a sketch and a little bit of musing with a few card models thrown in for good measure has become this:

Emerald Pools, a rock pool ring for Andrea
These fragile vintage emeralds were set very very carefully in tiny silver tubes.  They have a lovely dusky cloudiness to them.  They have travelled far and bear the marks of perhaps being set in some other creation, from another time.

Emerald Pools, rock pool ring for Andrea
I didn't want to carve away much of the tube once it had been bent over to set the stones.  They are securely cushioned in their new incarnation.  Floating in a seaweed pool, shimmering just below the surface.

Side view, Emerald Pools ring, sterling silver, patinated, hand fabricated, tube set vintage emeralds by Cari-Jane Hakes 2013
One more trip to London and back for this piece, to get hallmarked before it can be sent to its owner.  These stones have traveled from the southern to the northern hemisphere and soon they will travel back.  Something tells me though, that this ring is in for a treat, I'm sure it will get taken on a great many adventures and travels in the years to come!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Capsule Collection

The Hybrid Handmade House has been a hive of activity over the last few weeks.  I've been busy working on a little capsule collection that will be showcased on a well known UK retail site.  A few more tweaks and a final polish before it can go 'live'!

I'm so excited (that is the over-riding emotion in between the tiredness, late nights and frustration when things don't solder first time, which they should when you are in a rush!).  This venture has been in the pipeline for a good 3 years.  A small matter of geography and complicated shipping arrangements have stopped me from finalising this new retail platform.  But not anymore!

Here is a little sneak peek, especially just for you all.

Cascading Leaf Pendant, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2013
Family Tree Necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2013

Stacking Rings, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Downton Abbey - the finished piece

After much cutting and sanding and buffing and soldering and re-soldering and threading through the tricky ball chain that really didn't want to be threaded through...the piece was finished.

"I am a Lady Mary. I can be as contrary as I like."  Downton Abbey necklace, worn, October 2013

The ball chain drapes really well.  I've used two different diameters of chain; the larger of the two is a continuous piece that threads through the lace ellipse.  When worn, this chain moves around slightly inside the void, running up and down a few links as you turn and move.

Tiny handmade brooch fittings are soldered to the back of two larger components so that the composition and drape of the ball chain 'pearls' can be fixed.  Perhaps this piece could more accurately be described as two connected brooches.

I am really pleased to have found a use for my friend's handmade lace.  I remember at the time she explained how many hours and hours had gone into the painstaking pining and knotting and weaving of the minute threads which made up this tiny scrap of material.  I deliberately placed this material so the hanging threads would be seen on the imprint in the silver.  Conceptually, the unravelling of the lace suits the piece perfectly.  These threads then lead into the two strands of ball chain hanging down from the bottom of the lace ellipse.

Thank you to Etsy Metal for setting the challenge.  Time to start thinking about the next one!

But before that I have some important stones to set for an important client!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Etsy Metal Challenge - Downton Abbey (or New Horizons part 7)

I recently applied and was accepted into the Etsy Metal Team (you can find out more about them here http://www.etsymetal.com/).  As a new member, I have to say, joining this team was a bit daunting.  It is a professional group where the majority of members make their living as Goldsmiths, designing and fabricating their pieces for sale on Etsy and elsewhere.  Their collective knowledge on all things jewellery related is astounding.  Navigating the on-line forum was a little difficult at first whilst the facebook group page was a great introduction to the team.

I thought that participation in one of Etsy Metal's Monthly Challenges would be a good way to feel more part of the group and less of a newcomer.

This month's challenge was to make a piece of jewellery inspired by the television series, Downton Abbey, a period drama set on a fictional Yorkshire country estate.  Having been recently transplanted to Yorkshire myself, this monthly challenge seemed to be made for me.

The inspiration for my design came from looking in detail at the costumes of the cast and the contrast between the image above and the simplicity of the wedding dress image below.

Downton Abbey is set in the post Edwardian era (post 1910).  For me, I think of this time as just before the explosion and radicalism of European Modernism.  Set against this backdrop, it makes you realise just how challenging this movement was.  This was the time when Adolf Loos (an Austrian architect) stood up and lectured on 'Ornament and Crime'.  It was a time of stripping back and examining what was good, pure and essential.  For me, the costumes in the first and second image perfectly pick up on this change.

I thought about the piece all month but many other responsibilities and work commitments meant I was fast approaching the end of the month and the deadline for the submission, with nothing to show for all my 'thinking time'.  Luckily, a little window of opportunity opened up on Friday so I set to work!

The Downton Abbey Necklace, Work in Progress, Friday 27 September 2013
I wanted to use 'Big Jaffa' my new hydraulic press so I made a new die from 12mm MDF.  I moved away from my organic pebble shapes and settled on a neat ellipse. The silver to be formed was textured first using some handmade lace that a good friend sent me.  I have kept it safe for a few years now, thinking that one day, the perfect project might come along which would allow me to use it.

I found a perfect little quote from Lady Grantham; 'I am a Lady Mary.  I can be as contrary as I like.' and used this on the back plate of the lace ellipse.

The last image, on the bottom far right, is what I found on my bench the next morning.  My oldest son had found 'a really amazing feather' and had put it on my peg for me.  The gesture was just so lovely, I kept it there all day and somehow managed to work round it!

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