When you take something from the past, you always have the power to reinvent it and to give it a new life.
Rachel Brand and Katie Windmueller have turned their passion of exploring antique shops and creating accessories with a vintage touch into the Baltimore based jewelry line, Charms City Company.
“We have been crafting buddies for years,” said Rachel Brand. “We bought a jar of old keys and brass hotel room tags last summer and we repurposed into necklaces. After receiving several compliments on our new wares, we decided to hit the craft show scene last fall and we have been designing vintage-inspired jewelry ever since.”
What are you inspired by when designing your jewelry?
We’re inspired by our style, which is fun, versatile and funky. We also love classic, vintage pieces, so that’s definitely the basis for most of our jewelry.
There’s something mysterious and nostalgic about some of the old things we find. And of course it’s fun to create pieces that we love to wear.
What is the coolest charm or trinket you are have found so far? Why?
We found an old copper bottle opener at a local antique shop, engraved with the logo of a Baltimore brewing company (National Bohemian, aka: Natty Boh). It was a beautiful, deep copper and was obviously very old. We hung it horizontally on an oxidized copper chain and wore it as a necklace. It was a great conversation piece. And as you can imagine, it came in very handy.
How would you describe the studio where you make your jewelry?
An evolving mess. We recently got a huge card catalog that has improved our organization dramatically. We each have a small studio in of our (small) Baltimore row homes, so it’s a constant challenge to stay organized and to keep track of inventory. Both spaces are visually appealing – with oodles of old, glass jars, filled with jewelry supplies and a few “ideas boards” – which inspire us to create.
What are your favorite three pieces of jewelry for Fall 2011? Why?
Pretty much anything that looks good with a pair of worn, vintage boots. You can usually catch us wearing large, brass skeleton keys on long, heavy chain, layered with one of our shorter critter necklaces. We have owl, fox and elk critter charms that are perfect for fall/winter. Our chunky, wood necklaces are also great for this time of year. They always look stylish against a bright, patterned shirt.
What are some upcoming events you are participating in?
We’ll be at the Festival on the Hill in Bolton Hill in Baltimore on October 8th and the Clover Mart in Philly on the 16th.