Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oak Tree Circle

Yesterday, just as I was about to head off to the perfumery a gardener with a chain saw almost starting going at the oaks on the neighboring lot. We were able to fend off the fellow by taking photos and calling the police. Since I'm not sure if this method of protection will be sustainable I am asking each of you to encircle the seven trees in love and protection. If you have some Q Perfume than please anoint yourselves with this elixir devoted to the California oak.

Fragrance family: WOOD, CHYPRE
Main notes: Resin, wood chord/accord, Italian bergamot, tinctured Coastal Live Oak leaves

Return of the Light
A New Green Cloak
Q Queurcus agrifolia - Reviews
+Q Perfume - Review
Celtic Lunar Month Oak - Reviews & Links
Ode to Trees
Celtic Lunar Month: Oak
Q Review - Review
The Green Man
A Secret in the Forest
The Duir Way
Save the Oaks
Scent of the Day: Oak
Spirit of Nature
Medicine Wheel

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lyra is back!

Lyra is back in all formats: solid, perfume extrait and the new eau de parfum! The difference between the three is in the base materials and concentration. The solid contains beeswax, jojoba and an infusion where as the extrait and EdP are in 190 proof alcohol. The difference in the concentration of the two liquids is subtle. Since the extrait is meant for "dabbing" and the EdP is for spritzing the fragrance strengths of these two versions will be dependent on individual perception. I have found that the extrait is stronger but more localized, where as since the EdP projects the aromatic molecules onto more surfaces the scent may be experienced

Next up will be Cimbalom, the new edition of the solid is ready but I need to decant the eau de parfum and liquid. I'm also going to be formerly releasing Mellifera and Fleurish soon. I also have the new Gardenia enfleurage which is spectacular. All this, and more, with juggling the shop and new teaching venture...thus please be patient if I lag a little.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Student and the Teacher

In the mid eighties on the day of graduation from Otis in downtown Los Angeles, the head of the Communications Arts Dept. Sheila Levrant De Bretteville, invited me to return to Otis as a teacher. I've been teaching ever since!

This Sunday I will once again resume the mantle of teaching with the debut of my first formal class at the perfumery which opens the door to regular workshops and an upcoming online series. I started teaching aromatherapy classes in 1996 followed by natural perfume while continuing to teach illustration, eventually choosing to focus all my skill sets into aromatics.

At the moment there are two classes scheduled titled The Artistry of Botanical Perfume, Day Long Intensive, the first on Sunday followed by a second on August 23rd. Returning students will have the fortune to retake classes at a reduced rate. The intention is to have the online classes ready for early Autumn.

"It is the supreme art of the  teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
                                                                                                      ~ Albert Einstein

As experienced in the Beyond Aromatics presentation at Bastyr University last September, my approach to botanical perfume focuses on intuition and artistry. In order to reach supreme creativity and an individual, authentic way of expression a circular, right brain type of learning is needed. This is what I bring to the world of botanical perfume education.

I'm very fortunate to have Jade Shutes of the East West School Aromatics Studies as dear friend and mentor.  Jade has been coaching me on how to set up the the online classes which will be offered through her thriving program.

More details coming soon. Right now I am in the thick of deciding which camera, lenses and mic, etc. to purchase.

I leave you with another image from my graduation day back in May of 1985 at MacArthur Park in downtown LA. This photo is of Ray Eames with her camera shooting Andrew as we all headed to a celebratory dinner. Both the opening image and this one were taken by Andrew Neuhart.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Interview with Perfumer, Roxana Villa

Back in March, the blog editor over at Ziibra contacted me requesting an interview. I replied with a "Yes, I'd love to!" immediately. Here is the link below, what you should know before ready is that I get a bit passionate about what drives and triggers me. There's so much deception in perfume, which includes those working in the realms of botanical and natural, I can't help but bring some authenticity to this bizarre industry I am part of.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Spring in Summer

Some of the plants in my garden are acting as if its Spring, even though we are in the middle of Summer. I'm guessing this is due to the extremely weird weather coupled with a little extra watering with our shower water. If you didn't know, California is having a massive drought and thus we are suppose to be mindful about our use of H20. Here at the woodland cottage we take showers with tubs and buckets to collect the water and use for our plants.

The fairy duster planet we put in the ground back in the Autumn of 2012 or so has gotten quite large, has had some children and is FINALLY attracting honey bees. Yay! For a little while there we thought there was something wrong with it. I am not sure why it took so long, but, relieved that the reason why we purchased it is now manifested. Judging by how many honey bees are on it all day long I'd say hands down its the favorite plant in the entire garden.

I love how the flowers of the Fairy Duster first appear like little balls of yarn which slowly unfurl into their magnificent red strands that then call over all the different pollinators.

The Matilija poppies, which didn't flower last year have now started to bloom. I thought they weren't going to produce flowers this year because in the neighborhood and other parts of the Santa Monica Mountains they were blooming back in Spring. Ours generally bloom in July, thus I'm thinking it must have to do with where they are placed. Something else that is happening with these is that they are spreading. This is exactly what we wanted! In a few years we are hoping that they will be covering a quarter of the front slope.

Other positive things happening in our garden is that lots of natives have been coming up on their own accord, like Quercus agrifolia, our native oak, and Artemisia californica. This is especially potent since our neighbors continue to hack down large grandfather oaks in the area. When I see people cut down those ancient trees I can't help but think humans are one of the stupidest species on the planet, really. I mentioned to Greg that before allowing someone to purchase a house here in the woodland people need to be asked the question "Can you be a steward of our woodland flora and fauna?" If not, than hey, go find another seat on this airplane.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Figure 1: Noir Brief

I'm experimenting with writing about each perfume, here is a re-write of the brief for Figure 1: Noir. The reference to the cemetery is a fantastical point of view from when Greg and I were in Prague is back in August 2003. Really, the entire paragraph is written in a magical realism type style.

Figure 1: Noir contains notes of the wet mossy earth found in an ancient cemetery in Prague where the bones of alchemists lay restless and waiting. Leaves, roots and woods thickly braided with enchantments invoked amongst creatures roaming wild. Lush, mouth watering fruits picked just before ripening when a hint of the sour is a perfect contrast to the impending, yet hidden sweetness of human skin.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

I'm sort of taking the day off, it's Independence Day here in the US after all, not that a major holiday would influence a perpetual artist. Day, night, linear time doesn't much affect those living in the creative realm except for perhaps getting to the post office with packages before they close.

I started the morning with some gardening including the daily task of gathering the pikake blossoms and putting them into the ongoing tincture. Since there were too many spent flowers in the potion, before adding the new batch, I filtered it and removed the clear, skeletal looking posies. One of the new tasks I've added to the process of filtration is that afterward I will run water through the spent florets that are sitting in the strainer and drink the potion. It's a delicious, refreshing potion with the notes of jasmine sambac and adds a nice addition to the ongoing ritual.

Besides lounging and enjoying the freedom of it, my main agenda today is reading  more of "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness. I've been curious about this novel since it came out and a facebook friend mentioned it to me. Then, in January while enjoying the medieval dye garden at Highland Hall Waldorf School, the book came up in a conversation with one of the faculty members. I had brought up the film "Only Lovers Left Alive" which led to a discussion about vampires and the book. It wasn't until a few days ago that I finally took a moment to have the book transferred to my local library and I started reading it.

The alchemical symbols on the cover immediately intrigued me, followed by the first paragraph with the main character, Dr, Diana Bishop, gathering leather-bound manuscripts from Oxford's Bodleian Library.

I'm not very far into the novel as I type this, but, I've already noticed that the author has a great use of scent in her writing which has added yet another level of appreciation for me. I'm in heaven and hyper conscious of that impending moment when you realize how depressing it will be once you have finished a great book. Luckily this is a trilogy, so the anticipated point of gloom can be let go for awhile.

More soon, in the meantime, the prevailing scent for Independence Day seems to be "smoke" emanating from all the barbeques here in the wooded hills. This evening the note will have an added slightly metallic aspect from the firework festivities down in the valley.