Candy Spender-van Rood
I was born on June 9th 1951 in Maracaibo, Venezuela, as Candida Helena van Rood.
My family lived in many countries until we arrived in Australia in 1964, where we finally settled in Adelaide, South Australia.
After completing my diploma in Graphic Design at the South Australian School of Art in 1972, I went to Holland where my father's family are from, and was accepted to do a Post Graduate Degree at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam where I majored in painting and printmaking.
In 1973, on my return from Europe, I married Tom Spender and we had our son Tom (aka Dingo) in 1978, who is now musician known as 'Spender'.
Sophie van Rood and 'The Banana Room'
I was always very influenced by my mother Sophie van Rood, who with Tom Spender, opened the legendary Banana Room in 1974. (Tom left 1981 to pursue his career with art).
Sophie's collection, was Australia's largest and oldest collection of vintage & antique, fashion and costume pieces.
Sophie had been a couturier just before WW2 started, with her salon in Knightsbridge London, and she had an insider's knowing of fashion from the late 19th Century to the 1980's
When Sophie died in 1998, she left over 8,000 pieces for us to curate. My sister, Peta and I had to do a crash course in the history and value of these amazing things. We were ofcourse deeply inspired by Sophie's brilliant 'eye', her quirkiness and sense of humour.
Quite a few Australian designers have told me how they cut their fashion teeth in 'The Banana Room.' Sophie was an aficionado, and great teacher.
Candy Spender Jewels
I started making jewellery out of polyclay, stones, crystals and objet trouvé in 1984 in Adelaide but wanted to expand my field and so moved to Melbourne in 1986. My studio grew and by 1989, I had customers like Adele Palmer (Jag), Bettina Liano and Georges.
Throughout the nineties my fashion jewellery pieces often appeared in mainstream publications, media events as well as on Australian fashion and couture cat-walks.
In 1995, I opened a beautiful store in High Street, Prahran East, where customers, clients and brides would enjoy our bespoke services, and have something styled and made especially, or browse and choose from the ever-changing ranges and one-of-a-kind pieces on display.
In the small manufacturing studio at the back of the store, we were always busy on the benches, creating the pieces we supplied to other exclusive boutiques.
In 2000, at the height of CSJ's wholesale operation, stockists included over thirty exclusive Australian fashion boutiques; International fashion houses such as Browns in London; several galleries in North America, as well as an exclusive fashion boutique in Hong Kong.
In my studios great care has always been taken to ensure the jewels are environmentally sustainable and incorporate quality components and timeless design which will go across many occasions and ensembles, and might even become talisman!
Candy Spender jewellery pieces mostly incorporate Swarovski crystal, Czech, Indian, Italian glass; semi-precious as well vintage/antique stones, beads and components. Many of the newer components were exclusively created & designed by myself and cast and plated in Melbourne, Australia.
Painting, drawing and digital printing
Since 2016, my partner Rory and I have been living in the Mornington Peninsula where I have a wonderful studio and have been able to return to my core creative practices, painting and drawing. Lithography, etching and silk-screening has morphed into digital prints.
I do still make some jewellery, I enjoy 're-treasuring' pieces, combining vintage and antique bits-and-bobs into a sort of 'wabi sabi' sensibility of wearable and unique art.
Astrology and Tarot
My Dutch grandmother was a psychiatrist, who brought astrology into her practice after studying with Carl Jung in the early twenties. Metaphysics and psychology permeated into all our family discussions, and was part of our everyday talk. This gave me an intrinsic knowledge of astrology and the human psyche.
Since my early twenties I have practiced Astrology and Meditation, as part of being on a spiritual path with some remarkable teachers. See more about that side of my work here: EarthHeart.
Part of my spiritual practice is what Andrew Harvey calls 'Sacred Activism', and I was instrumental in an environmental campaign to stop AGL from destroying Westernport, near where I live in Crib Point.
Save Westernport won our campaign in March 2021.