Welcome to JORUM JOURNAL ISSUE 7
JORUM JOURNAL is a monthly glimpse behind the scenes at Jorum Studio. Find out what’s inspiring us, what’s motivating us, what we’re celebrating – the thoughts and stories behind our fragrances.
JULY at Jorum Studio brought some exciting ventures into uncharted territory. We can't reveal much at present, but keep your eyes peeled for shiny new things on the horizon!
Our Scottish Luxury: Rebellious by Nature campaign continues – promoting the complexity of Scottish culture without stereotypes has always been important to us, so we've been happy to see such a positive reaction to our thoughts on the subject.
As we head into Edinburgh's much-anticipated festival season, we look forward to welcoming many more scent-seeking visitors to our Edinburgh store.
A MOMENT WITH: FLORA MANSON
Culinary artist Flora Manson turned her background in graphic design into an intriguing practice using food as an artistic medium. We caught up with her about her creative process, seeing things in layers, and the crossover between design and food...
How did you come to be interested in food, and how did you come to see it as an artistic medium?
Food has played an important role in my life since childhood. We ate well, and food always felt like a priority. Regardless of how busy my parents were, it felt like they would place a lot of importance on making a home-cooked dinner and sitting down as a family each night to enjoy it – often over multiple courses.
I am lucky in that cooking was always very present. Regular family gatherings would always revolve around a meal, often quite an over-the-top arrangement of different dishes that each aunt, uncle or cousin brought as their own offering. I grew up with my Mum making beautiful cream and fruit-laden pavlovas and cheesecakes as a gesture that felt somewhat opulent, and an opportunity to express love and care in a way that was both delicious and beautiful. And so I started experimenting with food myself, making tiny salads for my Mum before I was old enough to hold a knife, challenging myself to make a cake without a recipe… I think that love and interest in food has naturally flourished the older I’ve gotten, for the same reasons that inspired them in the first place.
The crossover between design and food is one that I’ve been much more aware of recently. I think it’s easy to aquire tunnel vision with certain things, like viewing food as primarily something to be eaten, without it serving any other purpose before this inevitable conclusion. Granted there has long been a focus on beautiful plating – but that is where we stop… why?
I think as a person I am quite observant. I try to take in all of my surroundings down to the tiniest details. This practice has allowed me to be more present during the process of baking and cooking, noticing all of the textures, colours and patterns that the individual components make, and how this evolves as the bake/dish in question evolves.
Using food as an artistic medium allows me to explore both design and food in the same bracket, in a way that seems limitless. It makes the potential for creation seem ever-changing and new, and feels more creatively freeing and less restrictive than working in a purely digital format.
Your background is in graphic design – how does that purely visual background translate into something like cookery/baking, that so fully incorporates all five senses?
Working as a designer and illustrator has allowed me to understand the importance of textures and layering in work. These things give depth and create pieces that feel rich and complex, like there is always more to discover. It keeps people looking.
Design has also taught me what people value when it comes to connecting with a brand or piece of work: authenticity, rawness, sometimes familiarity and sometimes variety. Since I share my work in a digital format, the importance of words has become evident – describing the textures of a strawberry, the sweetness and aromatic qualities, how the flavour reminds me of berry picking as a child and eating so many strawberries I gave myself a stomach ache, how I remember the strawberry skin still feeling warm as I ate it, having absorbed the rays of the sun in the field. You can create a fully immersive experience using just visuals and words, and I find that very interesting.
These things sit almost subconsciously in my mind now, and I naturally apply these intentions into the things that I make, the way that I photograph them, and the words that I use alongside.
The way you celebrate the beauty of quality natural produce is evident in everything you produce – how do you decide what to do with a specific ingredient? Does a recipe or flavour combination automatically pop into your head, or does it take more in-depth planning?
I obsessively read up on recipes, often using a specific ingredient as the focus of my research, and so I feel I have a bank of ideas nestled in my mind for when I see said ingredients when shopping. Usually, however, the produce that I see dictates what I make, and often I’ll buy raw ingredients because they are delicious, perfectly in season, or visually beautiful – and from there I start to think of what I could make to champion them.
Favourite flavour combinations of mine will naturally shout the loudest in my mind when thinking of new dishes to create, and a lot of the time ideas come from a want to recreate a food memory, a specific craving, a desire to explore a new ingredient, flavour or texture… or a need to challenge myself and my ability in the kitchen.
What’s your earliest or most potent scent memory?
My earliest scent memories are from around the age of three, and the time that I spent at playgroup. I seem to have vivid memories of that time in general, but the smells that I experienced are so strong and when I think of them, they help to rebuild the visual memories that facilitated them.
The smell of the disinfectant spray that they would use, oddly sweet and friendly in odour, gentle as far as cleaning products go, used to clean sticky work surfaces covered in tiny child handprints. The cartons of milk that we would get alongside our morning snack, the monochrome cardboard cartons with tiny beads of condensation that would wet your hand, the smell of the cold, creamy milk, very familiar and comforting, mixing in scent and flavour with the apple that I would usually have alongside. The more I talk about these memories the more details come to the forefront.
Some of the most challenging scents in cuisine produce some of the most interesting and complex flavours. In perfumery too, there are challenging materials that when presented on their own might be unappealing, but when presented within the context of a fully-formed fragrance blossom into something irreplaceable. What do you think it is about these challenging scents that we find so appealing?
A desire to be different, to be individual – to be memorable.
I think there is a natural want to understand things more, and so with many things that generally aren’t liked or understood – we have a want to be the one that likes it, that gets it. I think as people we experience a constant divide between a want to fit in and be like everyone else, and a desire to be different, to be interesting. Our food preferences or the scents that we gravitate to help communicate who we are, to create an image of ourselves. It's an opportunity to challenge ourselves and to challenge the norm, in a way that still feels approachable.
Black cocoa cake with roasted hazelnuts, Frangelico tahini swiss meringue buttercream and seasonal berries & stone fruits
- The sponge can be made up to two days in advance of serving it, just wrap tightly in foil or place in an airtight container once baked and cooled, and store in a cool dry place.
The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
A needle-sharp meditation on the role Teaism plays in Japanese culture and aesthetics.
Mordew by Alex Pheby
Enthralling fantasy. Brilliantly grotesque, filled with dark humour, poignancy and tonnes of olfactory imagery.
Parallel Botany by Leo Lionni
Lionni's surreal botanical illustrations are a constant source of inspiration.