About us

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Addicted to vintage... We are designer/makers based in the South of England with more than a slight obssession with vintage jewellery. Its past life. Its secret history...one careful owner or three? Who knows...but we just can't resist it or the urge to recycle it. Rework it. Repurpose it. Re:design it, into unique handcrafted contemporary pieces for the 21st century woman...well we can't wear all of it ourselves. That would be selfish (apparently).

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Salisbury Art Trail

The bi-annual event is well underway with only 3 days left to discover local talent and their creations. See artists’ work in galleries, studios and in their homes with some offering workshops for you to participate in. Enjoy installation art, textiles, jewellery, photography, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, painting, glass and sculpture.

This is the first year armcandii is exhibiting in the trail and we can be found in Fisherton Mill - the south of England's largest independent art gallery – alongside other invited and resident artists. We are debuting collections ‘sewn’ and ‘doodle’ with existing collection ‘couture’.

Sewn: textural hand sewn wire jewellery with suspended vintage elements

Doodle: sculptural hand 'doodled' wire jewellery with vintage elements


Couture: statement hand knitted wire jewellery with vintage elements
The Mill is this perfect place to start the trail and fuel up on coffee and cake whilst you plan your route. Or drop in for a well earned lunch halfway through and stay for afternoon tea. The food alone is worth the visit.

And if you don’t manage to get to the Mill during the trail, you can still find us there after the 16th October or purchase via our website.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Etsy and Flickr.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Circles and Treasuries

As designer/makers we not only have our own website but we also have a shop on Etsy.  For anyone who doesn’t know Etsy do check it out – it's a selling site where you can find anything hand made, many things vintage, supplies for many crafts as well as tips on running your business.

A recent app that has been added to Etsy is Circles.  This application allows you to add other Etsians to your ‘Circle’;  Etsy tell us:

‘Your circle is a great way to stay connected with other members of the Etsy community.  When you add someone to your circle, you can see their stories on your activity feed.  There are many ways to use Circles.  Some people you may want to add to your circle might be: friends, family, Etsy shops you like, or Etsians whose style you admire.’

Then there are Treasuries.  These are a hand-picked 'table' of favourite things or listings that fit into a particular category or colour which any Etsian can make.  In fact the opening page of Etsy always has a treasury listing and this is a way of your items being found quickly.

armcandii have featured in three treasuries recently:  Summer Fever featuring our Carnelian and Agate Cosmo bracelet, A Golden Season showing our Rose Quartz Cosmo bracelet and Lots To LUV about Sunday Mornings showcasing our Silver/Red SEWN necklace.

Thanks guys!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Happy Birthday www

Apparently the World Wide Web is 20 years old today! 
It seems strange to think there was a time when a wealth of information, contact opportunities from email to social networking, games, downloadable music, YouTube, Google and much more wasn’t available at a click.

I certainly remember a colleague in the mid-nineties slamming it and saying it was just a phase! Back before www, we relied on faxes and the telephone especially to contact our European client although we did have a modem which connected to their phone line directly for transferring files usually to check the translation. The documents had to be in a specific form – now my poor brain can’t remember what but I know it was a dial up system and was pretty laboured.

How things changed. Email became THE way of communicating; it was fast and meant you could tick things off your list! I got into the habit of always responding to emails immediately or as fast as I could so that the sender knew I had received it and would work on their request ASAP.

Whenever the email was down it seemed like a catastrophe. We had to resort to the telephone which was fine for messages but not so good if visuals were necessary.

Just think without the World Wide Web I wouldn’t be boring any of you with this now! I wouldn’t be able to post a link to Facebook or Tweet about it and I wouldn’t be able to direct you to our website which is currently being updated to show the start of two new collections!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Too distracted to blog

Such a lot has been happening over the last couple of weeks that the blog has taken a back seat!  Not good.

First we’ve had the fig tree dug up – a sad, sad day.  It had grown very big, was too close to the house and in the way of the new door proposed for the kitchen so it had to go.  Such a shame as it was loaded with fruit.

The same day we had the Eucalyptus tree lopped and the Olive tree trimmed.  All are growing so well in our little suntrap patch!

Next we started to turn out of the kitchen ready for the refit in September.  We still have quite some way to go; compressing all we want to keep into our already overcrowded dining room cum office cum studio will be no mean feat.

Now today the guys are here mending the sash window in my bedroom.  Thank goodness it’s warm as not only has there been NO window actually in place but the front door has been wide open too.  And they have to come back tomorrow to finish the job.  It has been quite a big one, with repairs to the frame, a new panel of glass and now rehanging and weighting – oh and of course these jobs aren’t cheap.

In between this we’ve been busy making jewellery and adding it to our ETSY shop first, a little tweeting, a newsletter and keeping our Facebook page alive.
Silver doodle necklace

And also building ETSY treasuries and being featured in one (Summer Fever).  These really are fun and I find building them very therapeutic.  I made a conscious decision with the two I’ve built this week to take a different stand than usual.  So in the first one ‘More than a doodle’ I purposely included no jewellery, but concentrated on drawings, prints and photographs.

In the second one built this morning, I thought about things I like and that make me smile and produced ‘Birds of a Feather’.  Birds and things to do with birds feature in this one.  I just had some fun with it.

Hope you like them both.  If you want to keep up with our mad and serious creative moments, please follow us here, on Facebook and on Twitter @armcandii.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Artistic friends and new concepts

You often see cafes or restaurants where the art work is for sale but a friend has been able to show off her design skills by designing a room for a hotel!

Laura Luck was invited to decorate a room in Artists Residence Hotel and Gallery in the centre of Brighton. Her room is called The Watchers and as you can see from the image here it is bright and colourful with a number of curious creatures watching over you as you sleep!

The hotel website describes the room: ‘Effortless paintings of Japanese inspired cherry blossom trees inhabited by quirky little creatures surround an elegant four poster bed. The room leads to a balcony with a gorgeous view of the sea and the West Pier.’

There are a total of eleven rooms all decorated by different artists.

Laura found out this week that hers ‘is the most booked out room in the hotel, with people coming back to stay in it every year for weeks on end’. Laura commented, “Pretty chuffed about that!”

armcandii met Laura Luck, an Australian artist living and working mostly in Brighton at a Guerilla Market a couple of years ago. She has exhibited work in New York, London, Rome, Sydney, Canada, Melbourne and Zagreb. Her work delves into the mythology of modern life and its affect on us.

Loving your work Laura!

Logo by webcandii

Last week our artistic director was busy designing a logo for Tea & Sympathy to promote them at the Feast of Dorset in September.

Tea & Sympathy offer a mobile pop-up cafe for events and boutique festivals in their large Moroccan Tent, where they serve fabulous, locally sourced, homemade food. 

So it was obvious both from a design and marketing point of view that this USP had to be conveyed in the logo.  After a meeting over tea and cake with Sharon (of Tea & Sympathy), it was clear she loved the initial sketches.
She wanted to combine the linear feel with a hand written style font and a muted aubergine/purple colourway.  A few designs later and that’s where we ended up, using a combination of two of the original sketches. And not forgetting, a happy customer who loves her logo.

You can find out more about them on their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Logo design service available, contact: mail@armcandii.com

Saturday, 2 July 2011

charming new collection

We’ve launched a new collection – Cosmopolitan - inspired by one of our commissions.  Last year we were approached by a friend’s husband to make a bracelet for Claire for her 30th birthday.

She’d fallen in love with the Links charm bracelets but felt that ‘everyone had one’ so she would like something different.
From that we developed a ‘charm’ bracelet made from semi-precious beads and sterling silver links and toggles.  We have been experimenting with them since and now feel we have some interesting ones to show you as you’ll know if you’ve read our newsletter or visited our website!

Starting with this one made from large purple crackle Agate round beads.  The first ‘charm’ we have chosen to adorn this with is a bead the same as the bracelet.  We’ve also added a recycled element with a papiѐr maché heart, a sterling silver bead and a further glossy round recycled purple bead that contrasts so well with the Agate beads.
crackle Agate

All of the new collection will have a dangling charm made from the same bead that makes up the bracelet; some like this one will also have a recycled element in the form of an additional dangling bead charm ... but only where we have something suitable in our stock of recycled beads.  View collection  Shop collection

Cherry Quartz, vintage beads, Sponge Coral, Ruby Quartz, Rose Quartz, Aventurine & Amazonite


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

5 things that have made me happy in the last week

It’s silly what makes us happy isn’t it?

Here are the five things that have given me happy moments:

1. Arrival of my shiny new black washing machine after being without one for two whole dirty weeks and having to resort to hand-washing

2. My orchid reflowering – I’ve never managed that before – and my Bromelia continuing to flower

3. A lovely book group evening with friends plus tapas and flowers reviewing The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. The arrival of some new lampwork beads from Mona Sullivan in the States

5. Seeing a new collection come together...

What has given you happy moments in the last week?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

re:designed for...Clare

Don't you just love friends?!  We do.  Ours are busy social butterflies who need accessories to complete their latest fashion looks for the next must-go-to event.  

Clare recently commissioned a necklace to wear at her son's christening, after seeing Karen's commissioned neckcandii on our blog.  Her brief: something special for the occasion, a unique necklace that you won't find on the high street, that you could wear again and that complimented her pink and orange Per Una dress.

We gave her 11 designs/colour-ways to chose from and this is the end result...

commissioned couture neckcandii

A unique hand knitted wire work necklace embellished with a vintage diamante bracelet, earring, vintage mother of pearl buttons, seed beads, white and dusky pink freshwater pearls on chain.

We are more than happy to discuss commissions.  We can either re:design a vintage piece from our collection or a special piece of your own.  Get in touch via mail@armcandii.com and we'll take it from there.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

What did we wear?

It’s all about weddings – we said it here. First the Royal Wedding, then a commission for a friend and now we’ve been to one – and what did we wear?

Apart from my red polka dot peep toe shoes, I wore one of our existing headbands. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to really dress up! Of course this wedding may not have been as grand as Will and Kate’s and there were no trees inside but the bride wore a piece of neckcandii too and looked lovely.

I also picked some simple armcandii neckcandii: two recycled diamante chains linked together to create a new piece and adorned with fresh water pearls.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A new heirloom

It’s over a week since Kate Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge and in marrying Prince William (aka Duke of Cambridge) joined the realms of the Royal family.

In the weeks before the wedding, there was much speculation about the designer of her dress and whether or not she would wear a tiara.  Kate had already been gifted with her mother-in-law’s beautiful engagement ring – a symbolically touching gift but also quite spooky considering how Diana’s Royal marriage turned out!

She wore a tiara loaned by the Queen that showed the Cambridge lover’s knot.  This tiara made by Cartier in 1936 for George VI and given to his Queen (Elizabeth the Queen Mother) who passed it to her daughter on her 18th birthday – our present Queen.

Thank goodness for new ‘Royals’!  Kate’s parents who bought themselves a coatof arms just weeks before the event (you too can buy one from a mere £400 I understand), gave Kate a beautiful pair of earrings inspired by their Coat of Arms.  A new heirloom for the Duchess, something that she can hand down.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

re:designed for...Karen

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but apparently other people are getting married besides Will & Kate! Incredibly ordinary folk are doing it too. And with that comes guests with wedding outfit dilemmas.  

Our lovely friend Karen contacted us a couple of weeks ago and asked if we could design a necklace to compliment her outfit for a friend's wedding at the end of April. No not that wedding. Her brief: "I need something to stop it looking too safe and sloaney."

After further consultation we set about designing a necklace to do just that...

commissioned couture neckcandii
The end result: a unique hand knitted wire work necklace embellished with vintage earrings, brooch, violet and dusky pink freshwater pearls and seed beads on chain.

We are more than happy to discuss commissions. We can either re:design a vintage piece from our own collection or a special piece of your own. Get in touch via mail@armcandii.com and we'll take it from there.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

New royal jewellery trends?

Only a few days until Wills marries Kate, will it be another fairytale wedding like his mother’s? And what jewellery will adorn the bride on her big day?

We all know that Kate has Princess Di’s engagement ring – an 18 carat gold ring bearing a beautiful blue sapphire surrounded by white diamonds. Wills is quoted as wanting to keep her memory alive and all the good things and good work that she did.

The fairytale princess reigned until 1997 when she died tragically. We all hope Kate’s marriage will be happier and last much longer!

We eagerly await to see what trends and style-setting Kate will start with her wedding jewellery.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

What weekends were made for

We're so excited...our jewellery will soon be available at Fisherton Mill
hand knitted wire cuff embellished with vintage pieces & freshwater pearls
For those of you who are not familiar with the Mill, it is the south of England's largest independent art gallery and features the work of over 300 artists and designer/makers. Formerly a grain mill built in 1880, it now houses gallery space, studios and a fabulous cafe.

It is situated in Salisbury, Wiltshire and definitely worth a visit. Think lazy Saturday afternoon...punctuated with fabulous food in a building that wouldn't look out of place on Grand Designs, filled with beautiful objects to browse if you can drag yourself away from the paper...you're already there aren't you?!

Opening times:
10-5pm - Tuesday - Friday
9.30-5.30pm - Saturday

Friday, 11 March 2011

The jewellery or the website...which came first?

Well...the jewellery came first in armcandii's case & dictated the need for a website - an essential marketing tool for any designer/maker who wants to reach the masses. 

But what I'm really asking is which comes first on a daily basis? Which is priority? Both need each other after all. I'm constantly torn because I'm passionate about design & can express myself through both mediums. I can lose myself for hours in either...fortunate in some respects, because I can design our website to look & do exactly what we want, but the jewellery doesn't make itself...

And the point of all this deliberating? Our recently revamped website. Many hours well spent showcasing our current collections: couture, celebration & confetti. It's worth a look, if only to see where I used the hours I could have been re:designing vintage jewellery!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Jewellery isn't always precious metals ...

Whilst jewellers usually make adornments from precious metals and gems, those attending Kinder Aggugini's show at last week's London Fashion Week had a surprise in store.

Guests found these 'handbag orchids' on their seats! According to Gemma Hayward in The Independent, Kinder felt the orchid 'best symbolised the style antithesis' that is his signature in the collection. This flower's mix of 'gritty roots' and 'charming chic blossom' fit perfectly with Kinder's prevailing inspiration for his designs - a sort of 'if Sid Vicious had married Coco Chanel'.

The handbag orchids were made for Aggugini by Creative Director Ian Drummond and his team at Indoor Garden Design who also decorated the cat walk with amazing Vanda orchids.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Wedding bouquet glitters with jewels

Reported in today's Guardian is the story of one girl's DIY wedding at a fraction of the cost of most. Interestingly there seems to be no mention of what the actual cost was!

But there are some interesting ideas. As well as asking firends to make them presents instead of buying wedding gifts, Momtaz Begum-Hossain created her 'ultimate wedding extravaganza' big day from headpiece to cake.

And here's here wedding bouquet created from jewellery donated by friends.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I give you my heart

From ancient times the heart was thought to be the source of all human emotions and much later became associated with the emotion of love. So it's not surprising that heart symbols are automatically linked to Valentine's Day.

It's not clear when the heart symbol became shaped like it is. Some think that the heart symbol came from early attempts by people to draw the organ they had never seen.

Now it is used to signify love and romance and is therefore linked to Valentine's Day.