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Alchemy Jewellery and Adornment

Wendy Johnson

When Bronwynne Jones’ father died, and then a favourite uncle, something triggered when all their silk ties were given or tossed away.

She found herself devastated at the ‘loss of family heritage’.

“Men’s ties are so often created with such beautiful silk, beautiful colours and beautiful patterns,” says Bronwynne. “I decided to collect ties and create something unique with them.” And so she did.

Bronwynne owns Alchemy Jewellery and Adornment, and she’s just moved into permanent studio (and retail) space in CARDIF Collective in Kingston.

A bit of an urban hunter and gatherer, this self-made creator uncovers ties in all sorts of places, including in op shops, online, through friends and even at auctions. She then designs them into new scarves to be enjoyed for years to come.

Now settled in at CARDIF Collective, Bronwynne is happy for Canberrans to bring ties into the shop, including those holding fond memories of loved ones, for her to create with.

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Bronwynne Jones

It all makes sense when you think that ‘alchemy’, by definition, is about transformation. ‘I’m intrigued by taking something that doesn’t appear to have any use and making it into something fabulous,’ says Bronwynne. ‘It’s a philosophy I apply throughout Alchemy’.

Bronwynne’s relatively new ‘Re-tied’ range of scarves and neckwear feature different styles, some made with just one tie and others several.

The ‘Infinity’ design, for example, is a loop scarf created with four ties. “I deconstruct the ties, clean them and then sew them together. This design is long enough to loop around the neck once and wear closer to the waist, or it can double up and snuggle closer to the neck,” says Bronwynne.

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Another design sees Bronwynne take a single tie, pleat or ruffle it, and then pin it together. This style sits like a statement necklace would, and is perfect for inside a collar or over a sweater. Another design is a bit of a take on a cravat, pinned with a brooch or hidden clasp. Yet another, more simple and streamlined, sits at the neck like a bandana.

“I’ve been designing using ties for about six months,” says Bronwynne. “Other styles are in development. I’m even starting to create with narrower vintage ties.”

CARDIF Collective is the only retail fashion outlet in Canberra to carry the ‘Re-tied’ range and co-founder Chris Lloyd says designs are walking out the door, with men and women buying them. “People are fascinated by the concept and love the stunning fabrics, colours and patterns,” says Chris.

Chris and Bronwynne are shouting out to Canberrans to donate unwanted ties to CARDIF Collective.

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“We’ll put them in a big box, let customers choose and then see what Bronwynne creates. Just pop by and drop ties off at the shop,” says Chris, “or bring in ones with memories to have something unique made for yourself.”

Bronwynne says Alchemy started as a part-time creative hobby. A single mum, she worked in the public service for 20 years and operated her own management consultancy for eight. ‘Then I got ill and chucked it all in. I began focusing on the creative and am loving it,’ says Bronwynne, who also creates other adornment pieces, including jewellery.

Does Bronwynne have a favourite ‘Re-tied’ product?

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“The trouble is that I fall in love with all them. The patterns are beautiful and each is so unique,” she says. “I never really want to part with any one. It’s like deciding which child is your favourite.”

It’s easy to find CARDIF Collective. Just head to level one of the Cusack Centre, Green Square, Kingston. The shop carries the largest range of independent designer fashion and accessories in the inner south.

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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