Friday, May 15, 2015

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

I have been busy with this special private commission this week, amongst other projects.  It is a diffusion from a necklace made as part of my original 'Six Memos for the Next Millennium' series. In this ongoing series I create a piece of jewellery in response to each chapter in the book of the same title by Italio Calvino. This necklace has its foundation in chapter 3 which is titled 'Exactitude'.


Calvino, in this third chapter, writes about exactitude in literature.  He encourages writers to avoid language that is verbose, approximate, careless and random.  In the edit so the writing becomes 'exact',   In response to his I created a piece that represents time, the most exacting quantity I know. Whilst time seems to have an elasticity to it, it expands and contracts depending on our perception, it waits for no man and it is the driving force behind Calvino's call for exactitude.  Time is precious and writing (or design for that matter) needs to be carefully considered, honed and edited.

Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Chapter 3 Exactitude, pendant, April/May 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes
I have a little more polishing and finishing to do on this piece before it goes to London's Assay office for its last detail, a hallmark.  It has been just so lovely to work on this series again - I have some more ideas for the remaining chapters.  More on that soon - until then - Bon Weekend mes amis!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seascape Ring

I have written before of how often, upon witnessing a mesmerising piece of cinematography or becoming wrapped up in the all encompassing melody of a song, that I often contrast their mastery to the minuteness of my own art and it leaves me feeling a little bereft, sometimes.

Bereft in the sense that their canvases are so large, bereft in the sense that they can employ space and sound and colour and weave them all together into an art that can stand wide and tall.

But then I made this ring.



And I realised that although my canvas may be small I have an advantage over those other art forms in that I actually get to gather real physical ingredients, small hunks of the 'Earth' and create compositions that have a solid, real and permanent presence.

This thing that I do, this goldsmithing and stone setting and cutting and soldering, suddenly didn't seem so small anymore.


This ring was a private commission that was a reinterpretation of my 'Eat Your Greens' ring (which can be found on Etsy here).  The client loved the matt pebble in the Yellow Submarine ring and the leafy texture applied to the stone housing.  The ring needed to be part of the seaside.

I got busy sourcing this most tranquil piece of turquoise.  The organic faceted surface is just beautiful.  The lack of transparency and sparkle make it pebble like whilst the colour is just the perfect evocation of those liquid depths, shifting with time and tide.

Seascape Ring, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes
The band is textured with the silhouette of intersecting crests and troughs whilst the back of the stone housing remains firmly planted on dry land with a trademark leaf texture applied deeply into the silver.

I will still compare my art to other disciplines but there is no point in considering the limitations because, to be honest, it just depends what lens you look through.  Perhaps those limitations are actually the foundations of all that is good in this discipline of combining rock and metal.  Perhaps those limitations of scale are actually the root of this discipline's greatest power and advantage. Perhaps wrapped up in this confinement there is a freedom of sorts.



Monday, May 11, 2015

British Craft Trade Fair 2015

Around this time last year, in a small lull within my workshop, when my hammer and piercing saw were resting temporarily, I took stock.  I answered that persistent nagging business issue that comes when you know, as a business, that you are beginning to rely on one income stream too heavily.  I had the good advice from a well respected architect I used to work with still ringing in my ears : "when you are at your busiest, that is when you need to look for new projects", the logic being of course that if you wait till you are not busy, well, by then it's too late!

Lookbook cover, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

And so, in order to diversity I decided I needed to apply for my first trade show.  The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate ticked all the boxes, I took and deep breath and submitted my application. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

sample opening page from lookbook, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes
Fast forward 11 months and I find myself working round the clock preparing samples, lookbooks, exhibition stand pieces and logistically planning how and when everything will get delivered and how I will, single-handedly, get everything in a small car and arrive in Harrogate on set up day with enough energy to construct my stand.
Lookbook introduction pages, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

Turns out, helping the hybrid handmade husband at London Fashion Week over 3 seasons was a good preparation for the rigours of presenting your work, non stop, for 8 hours a day.  Preparing the exhibition stand was not that dissimilar to gearing up for a final year architectural crit with just the small issue of taking orders thrown into the mix.



Lookbook introduction, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

Turns out, nobody is really that interested in taking away copies of your lookbook, however, I found the process of putting it all together rather useful.  I used a relatively new app called Steller to pull all my thoughts and images together.  It really helped to see all the pieces laid out, side by side, each with their linage of inspiration and eventual construction.   You can see the whole book here.

views of BCTF stand, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2015

Creating those paper cut landscapes (and seascape) was my 'reward' for finishing all my samples. Even though by that stage all I wanted to do was sleep, I'm so glad I did them.  They turned out to be the perfect way to display all the pieces and created much needed focal points.

I've signed up for next year.  BCTF 2016, here I come!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In the beginning....designing a collection

There is that stage in the design process when you have all your ideas, perfectly formed in your mind, all is beautiful, all is complete and all you have to do is start making.  This is the part I love and dread in equal measure.  By delaying, the ideas remain pure, you can refine and alter each detail in a scribbled sketch without compromising the knowledge that the concept is good, noble, worthwhile.

Then comes that moment when you have to start building, making, committing in real materials.  I have been in this game long enough to know that the shining perfection of your concept can come to a shattering halt as soon as this second process begins.  I have enough experience to not ask too many questions during this time.  Just. Keep. Going.

raw materials, January 2015
At the core of this collection are some ingredients that perhaps you would not find in mainstream jewellery.  I like the idea of taking something that the 'world' considers to be common place, to be expendable, to be considered unworthy of attention and  elevate it right up to hero status.  Let the last become first and so on.

jewel like lichen, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2015
Isn't that just the way of the world?  The things we chase and pursue, the ladders we climb often end up being a heap of empty promises when actually it was all the other stuff we ignored that was shining with dim sparkle, waiting for us to get our priorities in order.

pine needles and cones, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2015
 The building has begun.  You can't delay too long, the sketching has to stop at some point.  Expect some beautiful things soon.

A/W 2015 Collection, From Land and Sea and all that Rest In-between, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2015



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.
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