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Celtic World’s Oldest Soaperie and Scottish National Portrait Gallery Artist

Extreme Ends of LuxuryJoin Eponymous Scottish Firm Thistle & Broom

13 September 2010 - EDINBURGH, Scotland –Thistle & Broom announced today the addition of two of Scotland’s most respected artisans to its extraordinary made in Scotland portfolio; and Iain Clark of Glasgow andCaurnie Soap of Kirkintillochwill offer their extraordinary efforts through Thistle & Broom.

Two more diverse artisans couldn’t reasonably be expected to be found in the same place. You think soap and fantastic photographic art have nothing in common? Think again.

“Both Iain and Jim have cultivated a following amongst clientele spanning the social spectrum including A-List celebrities. Jennifer Aniston has been known to purchase Jim’s organic and Vegan glycerine soap at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market whilst Iain’s portraits of Muriel Grey, Brian Cox and Billy Connelly are at once iconic and spot-on in his ‘interpretation’ of their individual persona,” said Thistle & Broom’s Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Teresa Fritschi. “As far as we’re concerned, the artistic merit of Iain’s photographic art and Jim’s soaps is unequalled and parallel – just different. Both serve to further the cachet of ‘made in Scotland’ and Thistle & Broom is thrilled to be able to offer our clientele their respective efforts.”

When Fritschifirst encountered Caurnie Soap at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market in October of 2003 Thistle & Broom wasn’t even an idea, nevertheless she’s been a faithful user of Little’s intensely scented botanical soaps since. The logistics issue of offering Caurnie Soaps wedges cut from ‘cheese rounds’ was overcome when Little sourced an ancient press that cuts uniform rectangular shaped bars. “There’s certainly a bit of romance to cutting the wedges and wrapping them in brown paper that one encounters when buying at the markets but they don’t fit through mail slots too well,” said Jim Little, the current and third generation owner of Caurnie Soap, “the bars can be delivered without getting stuck!”

The modest industrial building where Jim Little and his forebears of CaurnieSoaperie have culled essential oils and healing qualities from Scotland’s botanicals and herbs and have made soaps since 1922 is nothing fancy, but with all those years of manufacturing in the same place a sublime scent permeates the building. Flasks of various tinctures to infuse the glycerine base adorn every shelf and nook and cranny, the end results will be such favourites as Geranium & Orange, Bog Myrtle, Nettle and Hebridean Moss or Whisky & Lime. Thistle & Broom will be offering themed collections of six bars, presented in papers made from a screening of the Lovat green version of the Thistle & Broom Tweed woven by A. Elliot in the Scottish Borders and their satin embroidered ribbon for £30 plus shipping.

Iain Clark’s work comes at the other end of the price spectrum from Jim Little’s luxurious soaps, his private portraiture sittings have commanded £10,000 and can be found amongst the Fine Art collections within the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.But for the range of scents Caurnie offers Clark’s use of colour equals or surpasses in variety and clarity in capturing the essence of an individual. For Thistle & Broom Clark’s portraits will be available for the sum of £5,000 (plus travel expenses).

Iain Clarkcommented, “Throughout human history mankind has memorialised achievements and ascension to reign over their dominions by commissioning artists to work in marble, bronze and in pigments thick with linseed on board or canvas. Today the kingdom is more likely in industry or in entertainment or the joining of families through marriage than landmass but the inherent desire to have physical proof of our existence remains.”

“Iain’s work has been described as ‘a different way of seeing’. He is a magician who manipulates light and colour, leverages his technical expertise with an uncanny ability to get inside an individual to capture their soul, something ethereal with which every truly great artist is gifted,” said Fritschi. “Offering Iain’s work has been our intent since first seeing his work in 2005, but narrowing down the ‘what’ proved more difficult. In the end, we agreed that his portraiture made the most sense for our discerning global clientele.”

The work of both gentlemen will appear on the Thistle & Broom website by early October, advance enquiries and orders can be made by emailing .


About Thistle & Broom, Ltd.

based Thistle & Broom is a bespoke luxury ecommerce initiative based upon the Fair Trade model legally incorporated in Scotland in 2004 which commenced trading in May 2005. With a raison d’etre of preserving, protectingand restoring Scotland’s heritage and traditional skills, Thistle & Broom is unique within the luxury goods space in that its product offerings are sourced exclusively within Scotland’s geopolitical boundaries. 66% of the retail price of T&B’s offerings is paid directly to the artisan/craftsperson actually producing the product thus positively impacting Scotland’s often rural economies.

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