There’s a saying, ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got’ and while there is of course comfort in routine and reliability, if there’s one thing that the past 18 months has taught us it’s that we as humans don’t just cope remarkably with change, at our very best we embrace it and dig deep into our souls to find ways to adapt, create and innovate. We’re finding new and better ways to do things all the time, saving time and often money to create new solutions to both new and old problems that bring renewed joy and satisfaction.
This has always been part of the Caorunn philosophy – we’ve never journeyed along the well-trodden path. We’ve always done things a bit differently, not for the sake of it or for gimmick, trend or to be ‘seen to be different’; we’re a great believer in embracing our uniqueness which to many extents is driven by the charms of nature and the natural botanicals all around us in the heart of the Cairngorms, our unique distillation method and the intuition and skills of our gin masters which have been honed from centuries of spirit making traditions. That, and the idea that we pour creativity and love into everything we do, making the very most of what we’ve got with the resources we have whilst keeping our approach and process simple.
It’s our very own ‘gin genius’.
When we were looking to embody our philosophy and values visually, it was important for us to find an artist who had an emotional and creative connection to Caorunn; someone who could bring words, pictures, taste and experience together in a uniquely compelling way which would stimulate thought, feelings and a new curiosity in our gin.
The immensely talented artist, Chelsea Frew has worked with Caorunn on a number of projects in the past, bringing all the elements of our brand to life in their extraordinarily intriguing, gently vibrant, unique way.
We chatted to them with a view to getting deeper into the creative spirits behind their latest work with our notepads out to jot down those nuggets of inspiration that we all might take something from as we move into Autumn and what always seems like a good opportunity to start cosying in and crafting in our various ways, whether it’s cooking, painting, gardening or crafting.
Chelsea, what inspired you when you were younger, enough to know in your heart that you wanted to become an artist?
I have always been creative from a very young age. As a kid, if I wasn't playing in the garden I would have a pencil in hand. My Aunty Jan is an artist, so I would spend lots of time with her experimenting with different mediums, from mosaic, to textiles, to painting. They were one of the people who inspired me the most as a child. Throughout my teenage years art was still a main focus for me, and it became apparent that it was something I wanted to peruse professionally. I went on to study Communication Design at GSA and was lucky to be surrounded by lots of other creatives who had skills in a wide range of disciplines. This experience had a huge influence in shaping me as a person and helped me hone my illustration style as it is today.
What influences have you poured into your work with Caorunn and how has the brand stimulated your creative flow?
Caoruun is all about its unique process and the botanical ingredients used in the gin. I have been able to travel up to the distillery many times to look closely at the intricate machinery like the famous Copper Berry Chamber. I was able to spend time taking in the amazing scenery, and exploring the botanical garden where the rowan berry, bog myrtle, and Coul blush apple is grown. This experience allowed me to create drawings from a place where I felt more connected to the natural environment and meant that I had a better understanding of the distilling process. I initially found it challenging to combine the organic forms of the botanicals with the hard, structured shapes of the machinery, however I used loose line work as simple way of achieving consistency throughout the illustrations.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have always thought of illustration as having some kind of escapist power, which is really enjoyable and helpful for me as someone who is neurodiverse. At the same time, the normality of every day has become my biggest influence. I love capturing real life in motion through informed, repetitive sketching. I use an iterative illustration process where I seek to transform an original photograph/sketch into one that captures a more energetic and colourful version of real life. I often find a sense of calm during this process, and the end result is usually a snippet into how I see things through my neurodiverse eyes.
What projects are you working on in the future?
I have had a very busy summer working up and down the country with my mural collective - Cobolt. It has been brilliant to have been involved in such exciting projects across the country, however I am looking forward to the winter where I will be able to get back into the studio and create new work of my own. I have some exciting projects in the pipeline - follow me on social media to keep in the loop.
We all have little tricks we use to make things a bit easier for ourselves sometimes, what is your absolute ‘go to’ hack that gives you time back for doing what you love most.
I find it helpful to do mundane tasks in the morning, this way the day can only get easier. I have a dog called Ziggy, and he is very good at cheering me up and getting me out of bed to start a new day. I also like to run as I find it a useful way to clear my mind, and to boost my creativity. And finally, work is not the be all and end all - I always leave room for fun.
As we say, it’s often the little things that you add into the mix of a day that can have the biggest impact, whether it’s managing time differently and setting a timer for tasks for example, or doing something as unglamorous and mundane as repeating your home delivery each week at the same time rather than a trip to the shops every day that give you back a chunk of leisure time. What would you do with yours? Walking, discovering, exercising, painting, doodling, crafting, reading, all followed with a ‘two minutes to shake and stir’ Caorunn Apple and Tonic.
You can find more abut Chelsea’s work and their latest projects here. To keep up with all of Chelseas’s news, inspiration and updates, you can follow them social media channels below:
Twitter - @chelseafrw
Instagram - @chelseafrew
We hope those last days of summer are filled with that gorgeous mellow, sunny, calm stillness which is so enriching for our creative souls – feel free to take some inspiration from our ‘gin genius’ approach.
Enjoy making the time to go with your flow!