Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wild Running

A carpet of heather, bracken and wild bleached reeds rolled out and off to the horizon beyond us; a ubiquitous covering only broken infrequently by boulders and tors.

We scrambled and clung to that solid rocky horizon and danced on its edges.

And inbetween I fished for colours and textures, sillohettes and shapes.

I hunted and gathered and walked with my boys until they began to slow and complain of thirst with cheeks full of pink from the wind.

It was the best of days.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Year in Review

In the rush and hurry, in amongst the wild blowing winds and the fallen leaves, the end of the year sometimes makes me feel like I could have done more.  When that feeling winds its way through my head I like to stop for a moment and make one of these mosaics, just to remind myself that I did enough.  I did what I could.  I did my best.  I worked hard.  I worked with some doubts.  I sometimes worked with a bit of fear.
1. Echelon Revisited, 2. texture to back of Hepworth ring, 3. big&small rock pools, 4. Oyster necklace with gold, 5. photo-1, 6. The Proverbial Brooch, 7. Of Land And Sea And All That Rests In-between, 8. Hydrangea, Orchid and Pearl Memory Locket, 9. Full Moon Ring stacked with others, 10. Les Petits Cailloux, 11. Les Petits Cailloux, 12. The Dawn Chorus, 13. 'I am a Lady Mary. I can be as contrary as I like.' Lady Grantham, 14. rock pool ring for Andrea 'Emerald Pools', 15. The Myth of Aurora Borealis, 16. Oh that I could take the moon from the sky...
At the end of each and every piece though, I was thankful for the opportunity to make something beautiful, something quizzical, something thoughtful and sometimes, just sometimes, something shiny.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Race to the Finish...

Oh my, what a busy time this last part of the year has been!  But busy for a solo goldsmith is a GOOD thing so I am not complaining one little bit.  I can sleep in January.

Last thing on my workshop schedule was a prototype to develop one of my favourite designs - the pearl and hydrangea memory 'locket' that I have making for the last year and a bit.  The first one I made, was for my Mother's 60th birthday.

Memory Locket for Mum, April 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
Memory Locket for Mum, April 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
With this one, I used a vintage pearl from my paternal Grandmother's necklace, a hydrangea petal from my Mum's garden and a picture of my sister's wedding bouquet (which was composed of shocking pink hydrangeas) for the picture.

I then made a second one for my sister as a wedding present.  This one used another vintage pearl, leaves from her husband's button hole and a picture of her bouquet.

Wedding Present for Cora, August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
And then a client asked me if this design could actually open, be more like a traditional locket.  I toyed with the issue of adding a hinge to the design but decided against it as I didn't want to disrupt the clean lines of the circular shape. To make sure it was going to work....I made a full material prototype.  We are not doing anything by halves in the Hybrid Handmade workshop!

Prototype swivel Hydrangea and Pearl locket, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013
 Regular Hybrid Handmaders will know that I am fascinated by the hidden spaces within jewellery.  I invest as much time in the back of my pieces as I do on the front.  I install obscured details that will only be seen by the owner when they take the piece off.  It's a quality and attention to detail that I feel is one of the hallmarks of my work.  It is wonder therefore that I didn't develop this piece sooner.

Below, shows the interior of the locket, looking at the reverse of the 'pearl pocket' which I have given a little hydragea petal texture.  The back of the pendant has the same texture, but it is not patinated as this face will sit against the skin.  The surface of the interior compartment has had silver 'dust' soldered and fused to it.  A tiny interior landscape that is just a delight to find hidden away.

Prototype swivel Hydrangea and Pearl locket, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013, interior detail
And then of course the most important part.  The secret chamber for the photograph.  For the moment, I've placed my little Hybrid Handmade Helpers in there, just to test the scale and to show that the size allows for a legible photograph to be inserted into this space.

Prototype swivel Hydrangea and Pearl locket, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013, interior detail
It was in the fading winter light that I took these photographs.  Racing against the close of the day at the end of the week.

Elsewhere today, I'd like to take the time to celebrate the achievements of Pamela Bates of the blog, The Muse.  It has been a long held ambition of Pam's to publish.  And this week she did just that.  I happily read the first edition of her magazine, The Muse over on Issuu, from cover to cover.  After a hectic week it was a perfect little winter pick me up.  Her wonderful photographs, recipes and craft tutorial got me in the mood for a gear change. I highly recommend you have a look.  I was actually surprised to find myself in there on page 13.  I did an interview with Pam earlier in the year which she published on her blog.  It was funny reading over my answers to her questions again!

Bon Weekend mes amis!  I think I can smell the mulled wine from here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Supbrooch, exhibition

Really rather honoured to have been picked from 138 entrants to be part of this exhibition which celebrates The Brooch, made for and worn exclusively by men.  A big thank you to Julian Hakes (aka 'The Hybrid Handmade Husband') who happily modelled my 'The Myth of the Aurora Borealis' brooch.

Supbrooch online exhibtion, December 2013, featuring work by Cari-Jane Hakes

To view the exhibition in its on-line format click here.  To view 'The Myth of the Aurora Borealis' click here.

Screen shot from the Supbrooch, One-Wall-Gallery site, December 2013

A big thank you to the jurors and organisers Cortland Dewitt and Sharon Massey.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Fabulous Friday Feeling...

Fabulous Friday Feeling posts have been a little thin of the ground here.  This is not to say that things have been less than fabulous, it perhaps just means that I haven't taken the time to settle down and record them.

First up....I received this lovely little package from Laura from Little Shop of ElleSee (you can find her Etsy shop here).

I have the most lovely clients!  
I made a brooch for Laura's mother this year (I wrote about it here) with some bracken that I picked up on a trip 'home' to Scotland.  Laura writes:

"My Mom and I have not forgotten the love that you put into making that beautiful brooch for her."

Thank you once again Laura!  And no...I STILL haven't opened it yet.

Elsewhere, a piece of rose gold was cut and filed and rolled and buffed and polished until it looked like this...

Rose gold and sterling silver 4mm wide bracelet, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013
1mm of rose gold and 1mm of sterling silver - a tricky combination but the outcome is really rather beautiful.  I think I'd like one myself!

Goodness, isn't this month galloping by?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Warming up...

Before a big important job (like setting precious stones in gold) I like to do a bit of a warm up. I suppose it's a bit like doing scales on the piano before playing Rachmaninov's 3rd or doing a few pliĆ©s and then launching into Act 1 of the Nutcracker.

Stone setting burr at the ready
Actually, for a warm up, I'm rather pleased with the results.

The 'warm up' is complete, time for round 1 with the engagement ring
This one is a mix of sterling silver spheres and a sparkly 4mm diameter aquamarine.

'Oh that I could take to moon from the sky...' ring, sterling silver and aquamarine

'Oh that I could take the moon from the sky...' ring worn, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013

Time for round 2 with the gold and topaz I think!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On the 5th Day of Christmas my true love sent to me.... kilt pin with a chanter on it, 

....two pairs of cuff links; one with the latin motto of Everton football club, nil satis nisi optimum, which translates as "nothing but the best is good enough" and the second pair with a leaf from the Groom's button hole that he wore on his wedding day.
Hot off the Hybrid Handmade Workbench, December 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
.....three.....not sure I keep this going!

The last three pictures in this little collage show a very interesting piece I created for one of my clients.  She asked me to melt down an old bracelet that had been given to her as a young woman and then use the silver to make a necklace for her daughter.  The first picture on the left, on the bottom row, shows the lump of melted silver that was created from the bracelet.  It actually had some lovely engraving on it so I kept a little part of it.  Then I created a flattened sheet by passing the silver lump through my rolling mill.  In the last roll through the mill I textured the recycled silver with a rose leaf from the daughters wedding bouquet.  The last picture shows the finished necklace.  I feel like a bit of magician!  What a wonderful present this will be to open on Christmas morning.  A piece so full of tradition, heritage and history.  It's why I do what I do.
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