Story Behind the Artist - Jo-Ann Nitzsche
Modern vintage elegance. That is how we would describe the uniquely beautiful candles from Jo-Ann Nitzsche.
Combining the beauty of the past with the freshness of the present is a unique gift that not everyone has. It’s like bringing generations of a family together, each one with its own originality, tricks for making a classic recipe, and memorable stories that will make you smile with love for the person telling them. They may be a quirky group individually, however, when you put them all together and bring out the best from each one, you get something truly and uniquely special.
This is what Jo-Ann has created with Ralph’s Orchard. She has taken the timeless scented favorites that carry nostalgia from multiple generations, sometimes even vintage tableware, and the vegan and eco-friendly element of the present to make a truly unique line of candles.
Jo-Ann was born in the Netherlands but currently resides in London in the United Kingdom. That’s correct, she is one of the first international artisans to join Made By Her and we are truly honored to have her with us as her candles really do hold both the warm feeling of times past and the excitement of experiencing a new mixture of scents at the same time.
Jo-Ann has had a love for candles for quite some time but the concept for Ralph’s Orchard started as a little seed when her youngest son (and namesake of the company) started showing signs of respiratory difficulty. She spent endless hours researching how to help her son and, in doing so, realized how bad paraffin candles could be to the air we breathe in our own homes. It was beginning to seem that her love for her offspring and love for candles were sadly incompatible; but then Ralph’s Orchard, Eco-Friendly Vegan Candles was born.
“My inspiration comes from my home and the parks which surround us. London is one of the greenest metropolitan cities on the globe and it’s very easy to escape the hustle bustle and be in amongst nature in minutes. I typically get ideas daydreaming while sitting on my sofa (this is where Vintage Bookshop was born) or taking my kids around the lakes near us (the inspiration for my Wellness Collection).”
When we asked her what her favorite product was to make so far in her time as an artist, she told us it was hard to choose but, because she was such a bookworm from the time she was a little girl, and because the scent itself is so beautiful, Vintage Bookshop is at the top of her list.
“I have always loved interior design/décor and candles were always such an important part of creating ambience in my home, I always lit them when entertaining or when I was relaxing on my own. Classic candles are traditionally in standard vessels and I thought it would be great to combine 3 really important factors (aesthetic, scent, lighting) into one and upcycle beautiful containers which may otherwise be stuck at the back of a cupboard. My teacup and other upcycled candles are a real talking point as well, and they do serve so many lovely functions in one.”
Jo-Ann loves making her candles in the sunroom of her home, or “conservatory” as they call it in England, because of the high ceilings and 180-degree view of only trees and sky. It allows her to get lost in nature and, like so many of us, that is when our imagination and creativity truly come alive. It’s where memories we didn’t even know we had come to the surface and mix with our life’s passion to make something outstanding.
As we begin a new year, we can’t help but reflect on times passed and envision where we want to go in the next 365 days. Our goal is to live and act more intentionally. As we said before, combining the past and the present can be a tricky business but, when you find a product like Jo-Ann’s candles, it makes it easy to be reminded every time you light the wick on one to slow down, take in the beautiful smell, and keep moving forward with the wisdom of the past and energy for the future.
Wishing each of you a very happy 2022
May you live with passion and intention and find joy in all you do.
**Editor’s note: This article was composed as a joint effort between the Made By Her staff and Jo-Ann herself. You can find her work listed in her online booth, Ralph’s Orchard.