Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let it snow...

I was given a little thermos mug for my birthday to keep my tea and coffee warm when get distracted in my studio.  It also came in very handy for doing a 'take out' morning coffee when the first snow of the year fell on Yorkshire Wolds.  There is really nothing more transforming that a clean, fresh, dusting of snow and ice.  These snowflakes managed to build up an impressive volume on all the twigs, branches and wind weathered stalks.  It was a beautiful start to the day.  I shall have to remember to take my morning coffee 'out' more often.

Snow, January 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Mosaic for Monday

Can there be a more beautiful time of the year?  Every morning has a crisp, clean edge and the evenings are edging each day with more seconds of light that gives everything a palpable tinge of something hidden and waiting, unfurling from a quiet hibernation.

Can there be anything more beautiful than waking up to the altered reflections of light levels in your upper rooms that can mean only one thing - that snow has fallen silently in the night with a muffled hushness.

1. red grouse-2, 2. Early Morning Light, Lochan Hakel, 3. fly past, 4. Clouds gather below Volovec, 5. cancellation hole, 6. sparkle wonderland, 7. Cyan and red, 8. finally, 9. Untitled
All of these, from my flickr favourites, convey a tiny corner of this state of winterdness.  In the meantime, I shall keep making up words that end in the suffix 'ness' and perplex English teachers everywhere with my irreverent attitude.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First new design off the bench for 2015

Towards the end of 2014 a new client got in touch with me.  They had seen my 'Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve' cuff-links (which can be found here) and wondered if I could do the same but use a jigsaw motif for the cut out piece.

I have got to the stage now in my practice as a goldsmith when I can say with certainty and confidence 'yes, I can do that' even though I may never have executed the design before.  I've done my 10,000 plus hours or however many hours it is that you 'need' to do in order to call yourself an expert (more on this theory can be found on the BBC's website here).  I don't mean to say this with arrogance or pomposity, I say it with a hard won confidence.  I say it with a quiet certainty.

And so, after a quick practice cutting into copper, testing the tight curves that make once piece tessellate with another I made this:

A Piece of You and a Piece of Me, cuff-link and necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes 2015
The leaf pattern comes in handy here, linking each piece to the next, showing that they were indeed cut from the same piece of silver.

Details, cuff-link and necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes, January 2015
So there you have it, a puzzling little piece to kick the year off with.  Oh so many more things to come!  My schedule is busy, the workshop is humming with many little machines, I am wearing my studio apron with pride and I'm ready for everything that 2015 has to throw at me.  Onward mes amis.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Traditions and the Manifesto Ring

One of my clients was kind enough to email to let me know that Pearl Manifesto Ring that I had made specially for her played a supporting role in a PBS Food video that came out last Christmas. You have to keep your eyes out for it, but at around about 2.10 you'll see a quick flash of it as my client cuts into the tourtiere!

The music and atmosphere in this little film is really rather lovely, and rather appropriate for this time of year.

I actually made another one of these rings recently using a leaf sent to me by the client - a leaf from an important place.  I rather enjoy this process of rooting a piece of jewellery to a particular place by imprinting it with specific botanical specimens.  It seems to be an ancient, vital thing with a lineage that stretches way back.

Silver and Vintage Pearl Manifesto Ring on Etsy by Cari-Jane Hakes
I'll leave you with this image that I found on Pinterest, a timely reminder to all of us who feel a little stretched at this time of year.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Really Rather Wonderful Things

I have been wanting to share the work of Ford Hallam for some time now.  This beautifully languid film goes some way to capturing the work of this master Metal Artist.

You may find it hard to believe but I do not own a jewellery box.  If I do ever purchase one then these boxes by Sobre Tronks and Co would be top of my list.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Ready For The Holidays?

I'm taking part in the Etsy Metal blog carnival this month which has asked Etsy Metal members to share their tips on how they get through the busy run up to Christmas.

Well, one of the reasons it has been rather quiet in and around the Hybrid Handmade blog is that I have been getting ready for Christmas since July because that is when I found out that my work was going to be published in the Notonthehighstreet Christmas gift guide.

This rather fine 162 page catalogue began falling on doormats all over the UK on Friday 25th October.

I'm on page 140, in case you were wondering
In July I began researching and purchasing new tools and machines and since the beginning of September I have been making as many components as I can in advance.  I've been told there is no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to being part of a notonthehighstreet Christmas so I'm taking no chances, belt, braces and any other holding up accessories will be employed at all times.

tools, packaging materials and bench pegs
I'm trying to keep my tools tidy....well, at least I try to tidy them away at the end of the day so at least I can reach for them and find them the next day.  I may even change by bench peg (bottom right image). Elsewhere in the studio I'm trying to streamline each process by keeping all my supplies, ribbons, mailing labels, washi tape etc boxed and compartmentalised to within an inch of its life!

I know I'm going to be spending a lot of time in my studio so recently I made a little extra effort to decorate it with a few coloured lights, pictures and I even painted a few of the walls a bright chalky white to reflect in as much of the fading autumn light as I can.

The little hanging birds in the window remind me to get outside in between intense periods of engraving and cutting, spread my wings a little and recharge for the next set of orders.

'Drop & Go'
Being totally over prepared and stocked up to the max with components is going to be no good at all if I end up wasting precious minutes lining up in my local village post office.  I'm very thankful to Chris, the most excellent postmaster, who got me all signed up with the Post Office 'Drop & Go' service.  Not only does it save me time but I get this rather fantastic orange Santa sack to put all my completed parcels in.  And yes, before you ask, I did co-ordinate my scarf to match the sack.

I have no idea how I will feel when the final posting date for Christmas comes round but I hope I can keep working with a happy heart and that the stresses and strains of being a solo entrepreneur are resolved and rationalised before I step out and celebrate this beautiful time of the year with my family and friends.

To all my fellow Etsy Metalers I wish you Bon Courage, Use the Force and just make sure all your washi tapes are lined up and you'll be fine!

If you want to see how other Etsy Metal members get ready click on the links below:

LjB Jewelry
Node Form
Beth Cyr

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wedding Lists and why I never look at them.

Oh, I love a good wedding.  I love all weddings.  What's not to love?  Sometimes it's the chance to save up and go somewhere you've never been before, a mini adventure with a big party thrown in.

There is something so poignant about two people, making a stand, in public and declaring 'I choose you, out of everyone there has ever been, you are my special person and we are going to walk into the unknown together'.

I arrive on the day, empty handed, as many of us do since the advent of the Wedding List, so there is nothing unusual, I don't arouse any suspicion, no one guesses that in fact, I am waiting for a moment, when the bride has left her bouquet unattended and the groom has got a bit hot from all his dance floor routines that he HAS to take his jacket off.  Then I pounce...stealthily, carefully, like a ninja, disguised as wedding guest.

Sometimes I take a wingman with me, a co-accomplice who I have to carefully brief before the extraction can occur.

Cuff links for the Father of the Bride, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
To obtain the leaves for this set of cufflinks I tested out a very young, but willing wingman, only 10 years old.  I must say, he excelled in his task of pretending to take pictures of the wedding cake whilst I deftly 'organised' the positioning of the bouquet. At the same time, unbeknown to the packed room of wedding revellers, I lightly caught thin stems between thumb and forefinger, plucking and then concealing a few choice specimens.

With button hole blooms and thistle fronds carefully stashed, our job was done.  The rest of the evening spread out before us and we relaxed knowing that another successful 'operation secret wedding present' mission was now complete.

Button hole blooms from the Mother of the Groom, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
Once the leaves were pressed and the petals had dried out, retaining a beautiful blush of colour from the special 'Big Day', the hard work began.

Even though no one knows I'm creating these presents, I still feel the pressure of expectation.  I have a finite resource.  If the leaves don't transfer properly into the silver they are crushed beyond redemption and can't be used again.  With these cuff links, the first attempt failed and I held my breath as the second and final leaf made its way through the rolling mill.

A perfect rose leaf from the wedding bouquet for the bride, Cari-Jane Hakes, October 2014
The same happened with a rose leaf from the bridal bouquet leaving me with just a small section left. Thankfully it was enough to create this monogrammed necklace for the bride.  Just a little something from that special day when two people said 'I do, I do'.  A little piece from a beautiful day to wear in the present and walk with into the future.

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