rebecca hitchon 600

Newcastle nail tech crafts pottery-inspired nails for Clarice Cliff film premiere

By Rebecca Hitchon | 22 November 2021 | Feature, Tech Talk

the colour room nails

The Colour Room from Sky Cinema is a film following the life of Clarice Cliff, an English ceramic artist and trailblazer for Art Deco styling. Cliff, who was active between the 1920s and 1960s, created pottery famed for its individual style – known as ‘Bizarre by Clarice Cliff’ – which is renowned for its bright colours and abstract, geometric shapes.

Cliff employed a team of painters called the ‘Bizarre Girls’. For The Colour Room premiere, the granddaughter of one Bizarre Girl, Karen Harrigan, headed to Danielle Brindley of @missbrinnynailartist, Wolstanton, Newcastle, for a nail look in tribute.

the colour room

The Colour Room, starring Phoebe Dynevor, Matthew Goode and David Morrissey, was released in November 2021.

Danielle met client Karen through the nail space she rents above a hair salon, where she has inherited some of the salon’s clients. “Their ages range from one to 100, so I cater to a variety of colourful personalities whose nails need decorating,” she comments.

Karen is an adventurous client and creating her nail looks tends to span three hours. “When she sends over her design ideas my phone makes crazy noises, as I get about 30 different images through in one go,” says Danielle.


Danielle Brindley

This time, Danielle only got one text from Karen – a request for Clarice Cliff-inspired nails for the premiere of The Colour Room.

“I live in the Potteries [a term for the six towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent], studied ceramics, and my mum worked as a ceramic paintress. Karen’s nan was a ‘Bizarre Girl’ so it was very sentimental and felt fitting that we were creating these nails together, just down the road from where Clarice Cliff had lived and worked.

“I also think it’s great that we can continue to celebrate local historical artists and traditions,” Danielle comments.


Clarice Cliff inspiration for the nail design

“I wanted the design to flow across the full set, but I wanted each nail to be a miniature work of art itself.”

Danielle tells us how she created the nail look, first choosing a base colour to represent the neutral glost ware (glazed pottery) that Clarice painted on and to enhance the colours used on top, while also adding continuity to the design. Danielle opted for Halo Gel Polish in off-white colour Primrose, of which she painted two coats.

Choosing the colours was a more difficult process for the nail tech, as she aimed to find bright tones and shades synonymous with Clarice Cliff and that were as close to the onglaze enamel colours that the artist used. It was also important to Danielle that she used gel colours, as the formula suits Karen’s nails and lifestyle best.


From the Halo Gel Polish collection, Danielle selected Fiji Green, Out of the Blue, French White, Blue, Saffron, Fresh Start and Burgundy.

“I painted a few nails at a time, adding each colour separately using one or two layers depending on how well the colour covered. I tried to capture the feel of ceramic glazes by not making the colours too opaque. When one hand was curing, I was working on the other hand in the same colour,” Danielle explains.

Once she had painted the colours, Danielle used a fine liner brush and a black no-wipe nail art gel to outline the shades, working on a few nails at a time and flash curing in between to keep the lines crisp.


The consultation about the design, selecting images of striking Clarice Cliff designs to work from, choosing colours and completing the nail art took Danielle two hours in total.

Danielle reveals that Karen was positively overwhelmed with the nails and was a little tearful as she always insists on not looking at the nails until they are finished.

“It’s amazing that a nail design can spark so many emotions.”

Danielle forwards us a message that Karen sent her:

“I was absolutely in love with my nails when I first saw them and I still am. When I went to the premiere of the movie everyone noticed them and everywhere I go people comment on them. They exceeded any expectations I had and made me feel very emotional – I never want them to grow out,” comments the client in the message.


And it’s not just Karen that had a positive reaction to the nails: Sky Movies, Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Clarice Cliff in the film, and Emma Bailey, a ceramic artist from the Potteries who uses Clarice Cliff techniques, have liked and shared images of the nails on social media.

“I love that my nails are making people smile and give clients the chance to express their individuality and personality. They are great conversation starters too,” says Danielle.

“This kind of elaborate artwork is what love doing; I think lockdown encouraged me to practice my art skills and I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The fact that nail designs and methods are constantly being developed and that no two customers are the same mean that I cannot possibly get bored,” she adds.


Keep up to date with Danielle’s work here.