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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Layers of Light (and Jimmy Choo)

Have you noticed how each place has its own particular type of light?  It's a transient quality that transforms and shifts through the seasons as the zenith waxes and wanes.

Here, the light is settling into a series of gentle layers; a gradual fading of intensity, getting quieter and more hushed as the land rolls outwards and away.  In the summer months, the distance registers more smoothly, the light is more even, but now, there is a staccato quality and so the layers present themselves, each distinct and increasing in opacity.

layers of light, September 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
Then there is a time in the late afternoon, when if the light manages to struggle through the clouds it lights up the green of these undulating wolds with an intense emerald hue.

Late Emerald Light, September 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
On the bench I've been catching a few autumn leaves, before they fall and disappear for a few months, and mixing in a few monogram elements to see how they lie together.

on the bench, September 2014
Working for this year really has me on my toes.  I'm working 6 months ahead and have just finalised prototypes for Valentine's Day 2015 (!).  Whilst I was doing that, the Hybrid Handmade Husband found himself chatting with Jimmy Choo at London Fashion Week (as you do).  Mr Choo was kind enough to spend time imparting wise words - what a gentleman and a scholar!

Jimmy Choo with Julian Hakes, London Fashion Week, September 2014
And so, back to the bench I go - some preparation for that time of the year that starts with 'C' that no one should really be talking about or thinking about until at least mid November....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holiday Necklaces

Let's face it, you don't want to be sporting your grandmother's hand me down rope of pearls whilst on the beach getting sand in your sandwiches!  On occasions like these I wear a paired down assemblage of accessories.  Less is More, in life and whilst on holiday.  These are so simple, perfectly fuss free and totally beautiful in an unassuming casual way.  Come to think of it, these are ALL the qualities I strive for when I'm designing a piece!

Holiday Necklaces, August 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Learning to write

A childhood of moving around between seven different schools left me with a few gaps in my knowledge; number bonds, multiplication tables and an almost complete inability to spell were among the most noticeable voids. I mostly worked out my own systems and strategies to deal with the shortfalls and I can't say the chopping and changing has held me back in anyway.

Oh, and I also managed to miss all the classes on 'joined up writing'. This summer I therefore purchased myself a little calligraphy kit from Linea Carta (here) and decided it was high time I learned to do some proper joined up writting!

Tessellated Pebble and Thyme Branch, Cari-Jane Hakes
That said, I've been reading that some schools in Europe are beginning to phase out any kind of focus on handwritten skills, so perhaps I was just WAY ahead of my time!

Learning to Write
The summer is the perfect time to try out something new as it is that time of travelling to new places  and revisiting old haunts with new 'one year on' eyes. When the everyday routines are disrupted and rumpled new spaces seem to open up for new thoughts, concepts and learning new skills.

Are you taking the time to learn something new? Leave a link if you like to your newest pursuit in the comments below, if you feel so inclined.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to practicing my penmanship!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Postcards From The Edge

I'm on the lookout for the abstract in the familiar.  I want to find patterns of light and shade, texture and form where other people see just background or nothing at all.

It is a quest that finds me crouched low and quiet, trying to find the right light and the right angle that might reveal a hidden secret or two.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Diving For Pearls

Conceptually these two pendants have their roots in seaweed fringed rock pools lined with a shimmering array of quartz lined pebbles, barnacle covered rocks with oysters, hiding in the shadowed ledged depths, quietly working on their grit with determination.

Diving For Pearls, pendant, July 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
Diving For Pearls, detail
I rather surprised myself with these pendants when I finished them.  The ideas for the components was floating and a little fluid, the making and constructing of each piece was like sketching in 3D.

They have a relaxed quality to them which is in stark contrast to the geometry and precision of my production work.

Gold and Green Pebble pendant, July 2014, Cari-Jane Hakes
 They are a welcome departure, a hint of holidays and summer sun.

Gold and Green Pebble pendant, detail
 More photographs and details can be found here.

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