Samantha Penberthy - Nocturna
I've always been very open when it comes to my candle addiction. A delicious scent in a beautiful container and bam, I'm sold. Though I have a "ridiculous" (pfffft) number of candles, I'm always on the lookout for more. The recently founded lifestyle brand Nocturna has seriously piqued my interest with their new range of nature and night inspired candles. I was so incredibly lucky to sample two beautiful candles from their range.
The two candles I sampled from the Nocturna range were V. Salem in the black glass jar and II. The Woods in a handy travel tin. Before I get into the candles themselves, I can't help but mention the beautiful packaging they came in. I won't give too much away, but the Nocturna experience begins the second you start to open the box and reveal your candle. It's a really lovely touch and complements the product so well. V. Salem is absolutely divine with a sweet yet subtle scent. The clever combination of fragrances remind me of a musk stick (yum!) however, the sandalwood helps add a slight organic and earthen element. The glass jar is incredibly chic and looks amazing when displayed in a clean white vignette. II. The Woods is just as delicious, especially with the scent ginger and fresh moss! Both candles satisfy the senses when lit with their beautiful glow, soft crackle and amazing aroma that subtly fills the room. Overall both candles are great and have really blown me away. The Nocturna experience and concept is so much more than just a candle which is incredibly unique and refreshing. Consider me a fan!
Obviously, I couldn't finish this post off without a chat with Nocturna's founder, Samantha Penberthy, who was kind enough to answer a few of my questions! I hope you enjoy.
Styling & Photography Matthew Harrison
+ Nocturna has such an interesting and unique approach to its range which I find really fresh and exciting! Can you explain the idea behind Nocturna, how you came up with and developed the concept and where you see the brand heading in the future?
Thank you so much! 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. Night time is when I am most creative. Night brings forth sleep, which is one of my favourite things because I draw a lot of inspiration and ideas from dreams and nightmares. Nocturnal flora and fauna fascinate me. I like watching film at night and listening to my music most at night. Night belongs to the moon which is one of the most disarming sights on earth. There is so much we can learn from the moon every time we look at it. It has the power to heal, it has the power to put things in perspective. It has the power to inspire. Since I was young I’ve used photography and poetry as my creative outlets and now I’m finding a lot of fulfilment reinterpreting those visions into a tangible product. I wanted to create a luxury lifestyle brand that celebrates night in it’s all beauty, mystery and colour. Like Van Gogh once said “I often think that the night is more alive and richly coloured than the day.” From when the sun sets, the mystic blue/cyan tones of a winter dusk, the silvery light created by the illumination of the stars (depicted in Nocturna’s silver foil printing); to the lime green of bioluminescent fungi & the wonder of neon lights; night has such a magnificent spectrum. Mountains, the ocean, forests, nature’s mystery and power, for me, is most present at night.
Last year, I taught myself candle making and began creating a range of ecofriendly, uniquely themed candles. Each candle theme is an experience; from the moment you open the Nocturna candle box, you are entering its story. From the moment you light a Nocturna candle, you are transforming your room, your space, into another realm. It’s your time to come get lost. 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. Aural sense stimulation was as important to me as the olfactory sensory stimulation I was crafting. This is why I chose to use wooden wicks as they create this subtle crackling sound reminiscent of a log fire in a mountain cabin or a camp fire. It is quite effective in inducing a mediative state.
In respect to the future of the brand, you can expect to see some diverse things! I’ve launched Nocturna with a signature range of candles and I will be doing very special limited edition candles periodically. I’m producing a body care range at the moment which will complement the candles. There are many doors in the Nocturna world which are yet to be opened and I’m looking forward to exploring them! Since the launch in May, Nocturna has been available solely via the online store; and I’m excited to say that we’ll be hitting the shelves of some amazing retail spaces in Australian capital cities and the US in the next 6 months.
+ One of the first things I noticed about the Nocturna Candle range was the incredibly detailed and immersive packaging the product comes in! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for the design?
A lot of time went into the packaging and ensuring it is the perfect doorway to the Nocturna world. I’m lucky to have the most amazingly talented graphic designer who just gets me! We are on the same level and building the design together was 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. The unique box allows the customer to immerse themselves in the world of Nocturna before even lighting the candle. When you open the box, you can read our story, open the graphic tissue paper, unique to each theme, which reveals the black glass vessel and black threaded candle booklet. I wanted the packaging to be very special and memorable. Nocturna is a sensory journey, and I believe our unique packaging helps convey that.
+ I’ve always been curious to understand the creative process of designing a scent! Do you have an idea as to how the combination of fragrances will turn out as an end product or is it all about experimentation?
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, cruelty free 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.
+ Out of all the candles in the range, do you have a particular favourite and why?
V. Salem would have to be my favourite theme. The Frankincense and Myrrh perfume blend is so magical and unforgettable. It holds a lot of mysterious energy; it was a fragrance used in many ancient civilisations for rituals and embalming practices and was popular amongst the witches of Salem!
My next favourite is our unscented candle, the fourth from the signature range, IV. Psithurism; which means ‘the whispering of the wind’, it celebrates my favourite element, the wind. For me, the wind is extremely energizing and invigorating. There is endless energy to be absorbed from the wind. At night, standing in the wind, listening to the wind through the trees, through leaves, the howl through that small crack in the window, it’s an arcane language! Sometimes it’s nice to have no fragrance, just the subtle scent of the crackling, wooden wick, and just like the wind, it is very clearing.
+ Using any drawing instrument, quickly sketch out the very first thing that goes through your head.