Scottish perfumer Jorum Studio and Craft Scotland are delighted to launch the Jorum Craft Award in July 2020. An appreciation for the importance of raw materials, connection to nature and a commitment to refining techniques connects the worlds of perfumery and craft together.
The Jorum Craft Award (£500) provides funding to assist with development of a maker’s creative practice, including but not limited to research and development of a new piece of work, project or collection. Launching tomorrow, Thursday 2 July 2020, the closing date is 5pm, Monday 10 August 2020.
Ahead of the launch we sat down with perfumers Chloe and Euan to go behind the scenes with Jorum Studio and learn more about their appreciation for the handcrafted process.
You describe yourselves as artisans, tell us more about Jorum Studios and your process for creating scents.
First and foremost, Jorum Studio is a perfume brand. Having created fragrances for others for 10 years as Jorum Laboratories, working to other people’s briefs, we wanted a creative outlet for our own perfume endeavours.
Often perfume can be seen as purely commercial, but Jorum Studio wants to show that perfumery is a craft, and a calling.
Our primary focus is always on quality of the materials used and the subsequent new aromas created, aiming to create new and never-before experienced perfume sensations for our audience. We create our perfumes by hand, working with the finest raw materials through to manufacturing and assembly and this is all performed by us with zero outsourcing. They’re truly ‘Made in Scotland’. Products crafted with authenticity.
Our hand-workmanship is something we value greatly. We craft products which are unique, original and contemporary. Our aim is always to create scents that surprise and, in some ways, challenge the wearer.
Jorum Studio - Carduus
Your first collection, Progressive Botany Vol. I, was launched in May 2019. Can you tell us more about it?
It’s a series of six perfumes presented as an inter-connected collection focused on the concept of studying and augmenting nature. It is a celebration of nature and botany which is inherently linked to our craft as well as our Scottish Heritage and then twisting all of that to create not only a contemporary execution but one which pushes the conversation of perfumery forward.
Within the collection, fragrances can then be categorized as either a ‘Progressive’ scent or a ‘Botany’ scent. Where our Progressive fragrances could be described as not conforming to standard structures found in traditional or even modern perfumery, and are intentionally more challenging, the Botany offerings are perhaps a little more familiar - original twists on slightly more traditional perfumery forms.
From the ‘Progressive’ side of the collection, one of our favourites is Carduus. It’s a rich, aromatic scent full of spices, roots, leaves and heady florals often described by others as ‘Scotland in a bottle’. In some ways it’s incredibly decadent, and in others it’s a familiar and very comforting scent profile. People tend to love it or hate it, but there’s always a strong and instinctual response. It’s a great conversation starter!
"Being a part of a creative culture like Scotland, and specifically Edinburgh in our case, awakens and emphasises creativity."
Guide us through the process of making a perfume. Where do your ideas come from?
Every work starts with raw materials. It could be that a material can inspire the whole brief, or it may be that we create mood boards and develop a brief based on what comes to mind when considering raw materials.
We find mood boards to be an integral part of our development process as well as a tool to communicate with our audience. Mood boards can consist of anything and everything, from fine art to pieces of furniture, a piece of music or plant specimen.
As a perfumer-led brand the focus is on quality and we push at the boundaries creating innovative and original perfume with each launch
Jorum Studio, Progressive Botany Vol. I - Illustrations by Adam Foy
Edinburgh and Scotland have such a thriving creative community, why do you think that is? And why do you think it is special?
Scotland to us has a legacy of free-thinking and innovation. Without getting too political, it’s always felt as though Scotland, and the Scottish people, carve their own path. On a personal level, being a part of a creative culture like Scotland, and specifically Edinburgh in our case, awakens and emphasises creativity.
As a small, historically rich and relatively diverse nation there is an openness to learn, nurture, grow and progress here in Scotland.
"We wanted for Juli [Bolaños-Durma] to work in a completely free way, using our Progressive Botany Vol I collection as the starting point."
Congratulations on a decade in business! What is your number one piece of advice you would you give to small business owner?
Advice, keep moving, a rolling stone gathers little moss! Be open to any and all opportunities and maximise on each – don’t dismiss smaller opportunities and try where possible to work with newer and younger operators than you are used to, they will keep you fresh and agile.
Overall, maintain integrity and clarity of vision, expect many turbulent times but staying true to why you’re doing what you do steadies the course. Listen, learn, reflect, action, grow…
Tell us about your collaboration with glass artist Juli Bolaños-Durman for your Progressive Botany Vol I
We love the work Juli has created. We were inspired by Juli’s work at her Degree Show at the Edinburgh College of Art a few years ago and knew we wanted to work with her in some way.
We wanted for Juli to work in a completely free way, using our Progressive Botany Vol I collection as the starting point. We were expecting her to create one piece, in whatever guise she decided, so we were absolutely amazed when she told us she was planning 20+ pieces!
The pieces are her interpretation of flora and fauna: cold-glass sculptures of wild flowers and some insects using recycled and repurposed glass. Juli's pieces went on to be shown at Hauser Wirth in Somerset in the exhibition Re.Use, Re.Think, Re.Imagine.
Juli Bolaños-Durman, Wild Flowers - Photography by Shannon Tofts
Why did you decide to launch the Jorum Craft Award?
We recognise that bursaries, funds and awards are often very competitive, especially in the craft sector. We truly believe that if private companies can help in any way at any level then they should. We are a small company, but it was important for us.
Small funds for discovery purposes can be the difference of an idea staying in a maker's head and bringing that idea to life, that is inspiring.
We want to create a bridge between Jorum Studio and other craft-focused industries, through this micro-funding effort as well as using our modest but global platform for other artisans to engage with a new audience. Often our customers are interested and are engaged with other artisanal, nuanced practices from the arts and seek out new makers.
We discussed our ambitions for the Jorum Craft Award with Craft Scotland’s Director Irene Kernan a few months ago. Through the award we hope to make a small contribution to Scottish contemporary craft and its global promotion, and this seemed perfectly aligned with the vision of Craft Scotland.
What are you working on next?
We’re always developing new ideas, some of which are ‘sketched’ to a point, left, and then revisited at a later point; allowing the project to grow organically. We’re currently finishing off development of a fragrance which we started about 3 years ago, that we’re excited to showcase. It’s very different to our other perfumes in the sense that it’s a stand-alone scent rather than a collection. Like everything we make, it’s a labour of love and we’re eager to present it, but we’re keeping it all a bit ‘hush-hush’ at the moment.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity or condensed.