Thursday, January 30, 2014

I have a Superhero power!

I'm very excited.  I've just discovered I have a Superhero power....of sorts.  My Aunt emailed me last week with a picture of half a pair of earrings.  One earring.  They were her favourite pair, but she lost one. She had the remaining earring strung on a chain as a necklace and began a fruitless search on the internet for a similar pair of feather earrings.

And that is when she called upon me.  Could I make a pair of feathers earrings to match?  Well, it turns out that I could.  And therein lies my superhero power....of sorts.

Feather light earrings (not my original design) replicated by Cari-Jane Hakes, January 2014
I think the original feather (on the far right) is actually a casting.  Therefore the original would have been carved in wax which would allow many identical feathers to be manufactured.  Carving something out of wax means you can get lots of delicate detail in too - to make two out of sheet silver was therefore a bit of a challenge!

Transposing someone else's design is a curious thing to do.  It's like putting on someone else's shoes.  They feel a bit different, a little unfamiliar.

Feather earrings (not my design) replicated by Cari-Jane Hakes, January 2014
After much careful engraving, drilling and filing I'm very pleased with these little feathers.  Just call me 'Lost Earring Replicating Girl'!  I wonder if I should get a cape with that on?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mosaic Monday

A Monday mosaic for the start of your week from my flickr favourites full of wilderness, frost, lone figures, isolated buildings....and some eggs!

1. Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire, 2. Burrow Mump, 3. W3649 Teasel, 4. Misty Forest, 5. The Winter Garden, 6. Untitled, 7. Mule Deer Buck, 8. 100th Photo, 9. Black&White, 10. Inside Ice, 11. Periscope Up, 12. Good morning! Fresh eggs from a friend!
Have a great week mes amis!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Wee sleekit cowrin tim'rous beastie..."

In preparations for the Burns Night celebrations on the 25th January (a celebration of the birthday of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns) I have been practicing this poem which I will be required to recite at an evening gathering.

Print by Eat Haggis on
In amongst my poetry reading I've been fashioning a few kilt pins for those who wish to give their formal Scottish outfits a contemporary edge.

Contemporary Kilt Pin, Cari-Jane Hakes, January 2014
The main body of the pin is made from wood salvaged from a bagpipe makers workshop by Dauvit Alexander (who then kindly posted it on to me).  It is the most lovely material to work with.  From a jewellery point of view, it perfect, a dense, fine grain and deep colour which gives the material a gem like appearance when faceted.

Contemporary Kilt Pin, detail, Cari-Jane Hakes, January 2014
 The top facet, in this example, was kept parallel and perpendicular to the bronze housing and becomes clad in a thin sheet of sterling silver that has been roll printed with the texture of a Highland bracken leaf.

A limited edition, available in my Notonthehighstreet shop which you can find here or over on Etsy, which you can find here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mosaic Monday

I'm busy faceting reclaimed bag pipe wood and roll printing Highland bracken into silver so my mind is full of copper tinged, heathered weathered hills and looking forward to Burns' Night celebrations on the 25th of this month.  So, naturally, I'm making Kilt Pins.

1. just before it rained, 2. storm, 3. [birthday] magic mobile, 4. #alongtheway #saturated #grayday #winterinseattle, 5. time for a bailout, 6. Night Rain 2, 7. Day 3: Colors of Unna Reaiddávággi pass, 8. linetrace (average) 0.02, 9. for the time being, 10. Day 7: Exploring Landmannalaugar, 11. Moon 11, 12. A YEAR OF RAIN, 13. Day 2: At Visttasjohka river, 14. remembering Mousehole, 15. Mens Sana, 16. Untitled
As they say, you take a girl out of Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out of the girl.  More on the fabulously Scottish pins tomorrow.  Honestly, they couldn't be more Scottish if they tried!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fallen Stars

Found, wind blown, torn, fallen and so I picked it up.  I've admired this tree from afar.  Too shy to snap a little piece of it off, to take home and look at more closely.

The needles aren't that normal forest pine colour; they have a light dusting of emerald and a tinge of a dusty marine hue to them.  Bunches of needle like stars.  A tiny little bit of almost nothing that is really rather remarkable when you take the time to look.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Etsy Metal 3xR Challenge 2014 - week 1 and 2

I am proud to announce that I am now, officially, a member of Etsy Metal.  Not only is the group a great source of expertise but they run a number of projects and challenges thought the year. 

I am really excited to be part of the 3xR challenge.  The 3 R's stand for reduce, reuse and recycle.  The challenge is to design and fabricate pieces in your workshop using materials that you already have.  The challenge also includes the re-purposing of pieces that one might have made in the past and they now lie dormant, unloved and unworn at the back of a drawer or in a scrap metal pile!

These challenges are really great for shaking up the design process.  It's the closest thing to being 'back in school'.  I'm hoping that they will inspire me to look at some of my supplies in a new way and force me to incorporate stones and metals that I've been saving for just the right commission over the last few years.

For week 1, I took the final enamel piece from a series I created on my last enameling course and mounted it in a tab setting. This series was inspired by Delftware ceramics - a clean palette of blue on white.

On the back, I plated the brass sheet, fusing the surface with silver granules which then melt and form a landscape of peaks and troughs.  This must be the ultimate 'reduce, reuse, recycle' technique!  The silver I used to do the plating is gathered from the silver dust that is created when I saw into a sheet of silver.  It is too precious just to sweep away.

Detail to back of week 1 3xR challenge

That's 2 down....only another 50 to go.  Wish me luck!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mosaic Monday

Well, the jobs are lined up for the week, but before I get started, here is a little mosaic to kick your Monday off with.  It's always a little bit of a surprise to see how all the flickr favourites stack up.  I use the Big Huge Labs site to create these (click here to make yours).  You don't have to be on flickr to use it.  The site will make a mosaic from individually uploaded pictures or your facebook albums.

Without further ado though, here it is:

1. Snowshoeing, 2. Hors-Château, 3. bowl, 4. Polar vortex day, 5. Moon 10, 6. january, 7. Fresh, 8. Thought for the day., 9. Hugo's room winter upgrade, 10. East Coast, 11. ghost of mount greville, 12. Untitled, 13. Метрр гп, 14. alien world, 15. Frosinn foss., 16. Gotham II
Well, obviously, many of my flickr contacts are in the grips of snow, ice and bare branches.  Keep warm mes amis, and for those of you in the southern hemisphere, we'll be wanting our share of the sun lamp soon, so make the most of it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 years ago today

Ten years ago today, I became a mother, at 10:25pm to be exact.  Ten years ago today, we became parents.

I remember in the months and days leading up to his birth (I was the first person to have a child in my  peer group of fellow Architects) I felt like I was heading off into a small railway siding, off the main track, a cul de sac of sorts.  The rest of them continued on wards, down the line.  I didn't actually feel any acute sadness at this.  I knew in time, I would kick into reverse and then roll off to find them.

At the time, I was running an architectural practice with my husband.  We were just beginning to pick up some momentum.  We had a RIBA award under our belts for our first completed project and had been picked by the Architect's Journal for their '40 under 40' award scheme (40 promising, emerging architects working in the UK, under 40 years of age).

New Architecture in Britain by Kenneth Powell, pg 86-87, Merrell Publishers Ltd, 2003
Somehow, I imagined that our child would slot neatly into this life, like a row on a construction project spreadsheet, and I would continue on my professional upwards trajectory.  I had absolutely no idea of the impeding derailment that was just up ahead.  In the words of Coldplay's, Chris Martin in In My Place,  "I was scared, I was scared, tired and under-prepared, But I'll wait for it".

In those earlier, over ambitious years, I declared confidently, standing by my drawing board in the undergraduate studio, "I'm going to have it all!".  After all, that was what was expected of us, living in this post-feminist, liberated society.

However, I tended to work with and intensity and focus that was often to the detriment of my health and my relationships.  To have it 'all' and work at the level I aspired to would mean sacrificing everything else.  I had enough sense to know, with the whole of my heart and head, that I, personally, could not continue in this vein with a baby that would demand an intensity and focus all of its own.

10 years ago today, he came into this world, struggling to take his first breath.  The cord that had sustained his growth and his life was perilously tightly wound around his delicate neck.  With every contraction and the impeding delivery it pulled more tightly.  Had I dug my heels in and stuck with the home birth that I had decided was my 'birth plan' I'm not sure he would have survived. Or perhaps he would have survived, but with sustained and serious damage.

As it was, something bigger intervened,  I was two weeks overdue and so was booked in to be induced, the birth would therefore need to be closely monitored and this would mean giving birth in a hospital.  It was not the start I had envisaged for the new life I was carrying, but thank God for the change of plans that were forced upon me.  Without it, that new life might have been very short lived.  I remember these details with sobriety.

Upon delivery, in a room full to the brim with doctors and nurses, with an Apgar score of 3 ('with a score of 3 or less your baby may need immediate lifesaving measures - resuscitation') he didn't cry, he didn't make a sound for what seemed like a very very long time.  Nobody told us what was going on, there wasn't time, he was taken to a corner, under bright lights, and 4 amazing health practitioners brought our little boy back from the brink.  He took his first breath, and whimpered with a mixture of hurt and confusion, so it seemed.

And it was in THAT moment, that we became parents.

And since then, that cul-de-sac, my derailment, well, I never did quite manage to kick it into reverse to get back onto that track,  that track I was on, 10 years and a day ago.  I'm probably still a little bit lost and under-prepared but I'm not scared anymore.  I'm not at all where I expected I would be.  But I'm here and I'm thankful of the time I was given when I gave up the pursuit of perfect professionalism.  I wonder if I was saved from a future derailment or burnout further down that track?  I'll never know.

All that remains to be said is... Happy birthday beautiful boy.


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Mosaic for a Monday

Whilst in France, I would partake of the odd 'Mosaic Mercredi' using my flickr favourites.  Now that I am firmly rooted on this English Isle I thought I would resurrect this little jaunt through the rather marvellous work of all the very talented artists over on the flickr site.  And of course, being in England, the mosaic will HAVE to be posted on a Monday!

1. the hole story, 2. a path, 3. cold blows the wind, 4. wall piece, 5. white porcelain beads, 6. white bowl collection 010, 7. lissabon, 8. lissabon, 9. diamond eyes, 10. • Imagination is the only thing I believe in•, 11. Ice Storm, 12. oh what a frosty, sparkly morn., 13. Nailed, 14. rock painting, 15. #люминивая #люстра #гражданскийпроспект #спб #похожанаброшку, 16. upload
The images are numbered from top left to bottom right.  Click on the numbers below to see the original post on flickr.  May be you can add some new favourites to your list.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Engagement Stories

I imagine proposing to someone must be a little bit like setting a stone.  You plan, you prepare, you rehearse, you clean your workbench (well, maybe you don't do that if your proposing) and then you take a deep breath...

Engagement ring, white gold and topaz, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013

This beautiful ring has been a long time in planning.  It has been crafted and meticulously constructed with tenths of millimeters in mind.  It is a subtle combination of tradition, personality, love and is topped with a sprinkle of oceans, seas and all the wonders that lie beneath the horizon.

Engagement ring, white gold and topaz, Cari-Jane Hakes, December 2013

A 9ct white gold band set with a 4mm London blue topaz and engraved with the line of an ocean wave.

I journeyed into the Old Town to find a new engraver and found the most delightful man, 79 years young, who had been practicing the discipline of engraving since he was 15 years old.  We talked for longer than the time it took him to skilfully trace the line (that I had roughly scribbled on masking tape) into the body of the band.  I left with a head full of tales of ships bells and golfing holidays to the continent.  A man so happy in his work that he hasn't thought about retiring yet.

Dennis, in the Old Town, surrounded by a sea of gravers!

It was a pleasure and an honour to be asked to make such an important piece.  Many many big congratulations from me to the happy couple.
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