Oh no! I thought I’d have time to squeeze in another ‘garden’ post just before summer is deemed officially over but with our new Autumn/Winter collection tapping its fingers impatiently, waiting to be uploaded to the site, along with me irresponsibly running off to London Design festival and shirking my duties, I kind of missed that boat – oh well, I’ll just have to save it for spring ( if you’re on instagram you’ll have seen I now have seven lovely jungle style bamboos planted in a row …well it’s a start!)
We have to accept that even our lovely Indian summer is closing the gate quietly and autumn is pretty much here – give or take a faded green leaf or two. Its not all bad though, let’s face it, most people find cold weather easier to dress for and food easier to cook in winter – lovely one pot stews, soups and chunky knits – so much easier than all the salad chopping and bare skin maintenance! Chilly weather means we get to huddle indoors and if we’re not lighting a crackling log fire then best of all, we have the excuse to light candles in every possible space in the house. The darks evenings are the perfect backdrop and I cannot actually sit down until the candles are lit and the ambience is perfect. With this in mind, it’s with huge and slightly uncontrollable excitement that I would like to introduce the latest arrivals to the Curious Egg Apothecary – blown in from across the Atlantic all the way from the windy city of Chicago – the gorgeous and legendary Tatine candles! We’re officially the first UK stockist of these covetable candles which have literally laid a blazing trail that is hard to follow in terms of quality, exquisitely blended scents and master craftsmanship. They are not commonly seen here in public for the lovely ‘old world’/ ‘small maker’ reason that Tatine does not yet ship to international customers – they keep it real, they keep it small. ’Tis the way it used to be long ago when things from across the seas were ‘exotic’ and hard to get and in today’s ‘insta-grat’ world that makes these candles as good as treasure!
Tatine is a tiny company in a sprawling, lively city but it has carved a deep and loyal niche around the world. Founder Margo Breznik started making candles as a hobby but this craft of hand blending the purest perfume oils captured her imagination and turned her head from a career in the music industry with renowned Chicago record label Wax Trax to begin a new venture in candle making. In 2001 she set up Tatine named after her late Grandmother and began the journey that has enabled her to create beautiful products based around storytelling, memories, music and scent. Garden & Forest Infusions is the more established collection with the ‘Forest floor’ and ‘Woodsmoke’ scents being my particular favourites. Such unexpected earthy blends of gorgeousness conjuring up rain soaked soil after a storm and smoking wood cinders in misty air are rarely found in a candle and stand out in a sea of cloying fruitiness. Even the berry based Juniper has complex layers that keep you noticing and realising with every intake of breath – they are made with love and passion and this comes through in every way.
‘100% handcrafted’ means just that with the Tatine brand. The natural soy and beeswax used for the scented candles is sourced from farmers across the country, natural cotton wicks, the purest essential oils, each candle handwrapped in FSC certified traditional letterpress printed paper using non toxic inks – they should have a halo hovering over them and little wings. The careful hand blending of fragrance compositions is a serious business though and is carried out meticulously sometimes taking between six months to a year to be revealed. To capture a memory or an emotion in a scent is quite an art and it was Margo’s love of rock music and travels throughout Britain that inspired the Tisane collection with each candle recipe being constructed around the character of special places she visited or experiences that stayed with her. Her Instagram feed @tatineofficial often cites lyrics from songs by the likes of Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan and of course her favourite The Beatles along with many others. The connections are abstract and so allow you, as the new owner of a Tatine candle, to attach your own emotional connection to them be it through the printed text on the wrapping that becomes a secret message to someone special or a memory relived through these powerful scents.
The fact that they’re made in Chicago makes them extra special to me as I studied in this city for several months during my art school years and fell in love with it. The industrial buildings and ‘Heath Robinson’ style iron structures, the grimey areas, gangster past (and in some cases present) the contrasting glamour and glitz and the raw, incredibly exciting art scene. It was like Glasgow in many ways but on a ‘mega’ scale and with better weather. Having said that, I did experience the coldest winter there ever, one where warnings to stay indoors were on put out the radio every half hour one day and the glaze on your eyes could freeze if you popped your head out of the window for more than five minutes!
Anyway I digress as usual, but I for one will be filling my home with these divine candles throughout autumn, winter and beyond, they are the perfect finishing touch for your entranceway ensuring visitors are met with the most gorgeous welcoming aroma (and not that of the dog), in the living room to wind down, the bathroom for quiet contemplation and the bedroom… well you get the picture – there’s one for each zone and I should point out the heavyweight glass votives they come in, just happen to make the most fabulous margherita glasses for entertaining – how’s that for sustainable product design?