Sunday, 20 March 2016

Getting to know.... NOCTURNA designer SAMANTHA PENBERTHY

Brisbane’s very own ‘Nocturna’ have arrived in Violent Green and we couldn't be happier! What we find interesting is that candles are traditionally used to ward off the darkness, but Nocturna strives to embrace it with their line of candles.  We got together with Samantha from Nocturna to talk a little more about the label.

Hi Sam! How are you going?

Hello!  Very well, thank you.

So tell us about how Nocturna first started.  It’s an interesting premise you are going for considering the more traditional roots of candles.

Yes, the market is quite flooded with lighter, brighter candle ranges!  In 2014, I taught myself candle making and began creating a range of ecofriendly, uniquely themed candles which I launched 10 months ago.  I’ve always been creatively inspired by the notion of darkness; on a sensory level within nature and in an emotional sense within the human psyche.  Since I was young I’ve used photography and poetry as my creative outlets and I wanted to reinterpret those visions into a tangible product, one that reflected my passion for night & nature.  I wanted to create a luxury lifestyle brand that celebrates night in all it’s beauty, mystery and colour.  Like Van Gogh once said “I often think that the night is more alive and richly coloured than the day.”

All of your products are cruelty free.  For example your candles are made from a coconut/soy wax blend.  How important is it for you guys to source cruelty free materials? 
It’s integral to us that we source 100% cruelty free ingredients.  Our range is vegan friendly.  We are fortunate to live in an age where we can choose kinder, more compassionate alternatives, free of animal exploitation.  There’s no excuse to use anything but!  As a vegan, my brand, my products are an extension of my personal belief systems.

Being Brisbane based, how much of your material is sourced locally?  Do you try to keep it as close to home as possible?

Our wax & wicks are sourced overseas & other materials we use in the process are sourced locally where possible.  All our candles are hand poured from our Brisbane studio.

Nocturna has some really unique scented candles.  How do you go about combining the different scents into something that works?  Seems like it would be a very long process!

I always say fragrance is like film. Pre production, production and post production!  The pre production phase saw me determining the concept for the candle theme and imagining what sort of scent would best embody that theme, and help evoke it on a sensory level whilst burning. Production phase involved me sourcing the highest quality perfume oils and I spent a lot of time experimenting. It took months to finalise the scents. I personally don’t like very heavy, strongly scented candles, ones that fill your whole house and give you a headache. I didn’t want to use paraffin wax or additives to create a very strong scented candle. I wanted to create subtle, delicate scents using ecofriendly, renewable and sustainable wax free of additives and finding that balance was important to me. 

Do you draw much inspiration from Brisbane and the surrounding areas?  

More so the surrounding areas, the Scenic rim & the Glasshouse mountains.  The Lost World, Scenic rim is one of my favourite places in the world.  

Most people are quite uncomfortable with low lit/dark areas.  Nocturna on the other hand seems to embrace the night.  Have you tried to make your scents more comforting for those who would normally be less inclined to be alone in a dark place?    

Not in an intentional way however I have lots of customers who aren’t really into a dark aesthetic that find the dark candle range very appealing; it’s helped them embrace darkness in a good way!  As our ethos explains ‘Illuminate your subconscious’, Nocturna’s philosophy is very much about awakening landscapes in your subconscious mind and evoking your sixth sense & our customers have found that quite alluring!

The packaging for these candles is quite amazing and seems to capture the Nocturna aesthetics perfectly.  When starting a project do you plan everything out and have it tie back together, or do you let these come together on their own through a more organic design process?

Thank you!  A lot of time went into the packaging and ensuring it is the perfect doorway to the Nocturna world.  It was a very natural process, particularly with the help of my graphic designer who is just incredible.   We are on the same level creatively and building the design together was such an amazing experience. One thing that is very special about night is the ‘quiet’ that exists. This ‘quiet’ is elusive and can be found only at night.  I believe this ‘quiet’ exists in our packaging.  It’s subtle yet bold.  It’s quiet, not loud.  It’s mysterious. Less is more. Nocturna is a sensory journey, and I believe our unique packaging helps to convey that.

Is there a favourite candle you guys have?

V. Salem would have to be my favourite. The Frankincense and Myrrh perfume blend is really magical. It has a mysterious energy; it was a fragrance used in many ancient civilisations for rituals and embalming practices and was popular amongst the witches of Salem!

After a hard day of pouring candles, how does the Nocturna team unwind?

By getting lost somewhere deep in the mountains.  We try to do this once a week.

Thanks so much for your time Sam, good luck with everything!  

Thank you VG!  We are so excited to bring some nocturnal light to your space.  

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