A few years ago, as I was walking up and down the aisles of Decorex - an excellent London interiors trade show - I came across a brand called Parable Designs that made me stop dead in my tracks!
I just love it when that happens don't you? At trade fairs (or any exhibition actually), you are presented with so much product at once, with brands after brands promoting their designs and collections, frankly it can become a little difficult to feel 'blown away'.
So, it's incredibly refreshing when you come across a collection that really surprises, impresses and well, blows you away. And the Parable Designs stand did just that for me, with their presentation of the most exquisite range of candles I think I've ever seen.
I remember standing there, starring, mesmerized by their gorgeous array of ornate, intricate and beautifully made candles. I knew straight away that I wanted to know more about the brand and how they made these little wax jewels.
THE PARABLE DESIGNS STORY
Parable was co-founded in 2003 by Nigel Parker and his partner in work and life Amanda Barry, having collected an extensive collection of British and American vintage wallpaper rollers. Over 1800 rollers actually, which they started to collect in 1989 with plans to one day find a use for them.
Eventually, having decided that they would start with a range of candles, they spent considerable time and effort on researching the provenance of the wallpaper designs as well as on developing techniques that would allow them to produce their collection seamlessly.
It is evidently incredibly difficult to produce items seamlessly when they are made using a mould. Most items like this would be cast using a two-part split mould, which would inevitably leave a seam-line or joint. This would then need to be somehow concealed (or perhaps featured) as part of the design.
Nigel and Amanda decided though that, because of the intricacy and complexity of the patterns they would adapt from their wallpaper rollers, their products absolutely had to be seamless. They spent years perfecting and engineering one-piece moulds that would mean they could reproduce the beautiful and delicate patterns in one piece, with no seams.
Let's take a peek at their workshop in Exeter in Devon.
Nigel Parket and Amanda Barry in the Parable Designs workshop with their extensive range of wallpaper rollers. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The wallpaper rollers feature an incredible array and variation of designs and patterns. Photo by Clive Doyle for Landscape Magazine.
Amanda Barry mixing colours and waxes in the Parable Designs workshop in Exeter, Devon. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
A beautiful Parable Designs candle being created in one of their handmade and seamless moulds. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The inside of a Parable Designs candle mould. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
Nigel with one of the large wallpaper moulds from his extensive collection collected over the years. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
A gorgeous candle being released from its mould. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
A gorgeous candle being released from its mould. Photo by Clive Doyle for Landscape Magazine.
The finished product - a beautiful Parable Designs candle. Photo by Clive Doyle for Landscape Magazine.
THE CANDLES BY PARABLE DESIGNS
As you can see, Nigel and Amanda are passionate about producing an extremely high quality product that is unique and special and they've developed a process that has allowed them to create something truly distinctive.
Parable Designs produces an extensive range of highly decorative candles in various sizes, patterns and colours. There are a number of fragrances to choose from as well and, in a genius move, it's also possible to order the candles without any scent! This is great for lighting candles at table for example, as the candle will look wonderful and add some magic to a table setting, but the fragrance won't interfere with aromas and flavours. This is a lovely option to offer, and one not always available.
Parable candles look decorative and beautiful when unlit but, of course, they truly come to life once that wick is lit and it starts to burn down a bit. The light from the flame glows through the pattern and really brings it to life.
Here is a peek at some of the patterns and colours from the Parable Designs collection.
A wallpaper roller sits next to a candle made from its mould. The detail and intricacy is incredible! Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The Birds of Eden Candle in a wonderful raspberry pink colour, with hand painted gold detail. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The Clovelly candle sits beautifully in this little group on a side table. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The Clovelly candle in black looking dramatic in this dark setting. Photo by Andrew Montgomery for Homes & Antiques Magazine.
The Clovelly candle in cream looks very feminine in this setting. Photo by Mark Luscombe-Whyte.
A Parable Designs candle as it burns down, creating a beautiful effect and shadows.Photo by Nicole Antar.
What do you think of the candles by Parable Designs? Do you find them as amazing as I do?
'till next time...