Saturday, December 9, 2017

On the move, again!

Tomorrow, Sunday, we are moving from Tesuque to the old ranch area here in Santa Fe that is turning into the new arts district. No one in the area has told me what the district is called, so I'm referring to it as "the new arts district" until someone corrects me. Tesuque is just north of historic, downtown Santa Fe, where as the arts district is south. Both areas have a very different vibe, Tesuque is more like Santa Barbara where as the arts district has a bit of an edge, like the surrounding areas of downtown LA. Although I will miss Tesuque very much, the new homestead is better in many ways. I'll post more about that once we are settled.

There will be a delay in sending out orders as I unpack and set up once more. Our new space is on our friends property, it's a bit of an art compound with musicians and visual artists, and now an "aromatic" artist being added to the mix of creatives.

The landscape is quite different from the Pinon wood lands we have been inhabiting the last three months. While packing to move last night I found a jar filled with dried plant bits from my California garden. The cowboy pure fume of oak, artemisia and different sages all preserved and ready for inhaling deeply. It’s a very different scent imprint than we have here in the high desert of New Mexico.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Figure 1 Noir Solid Perfume is back!

While searching through moving boxes filled with essential oils I discovered a big bottle of the synergy for Figure 1: Noir solid pure fume. I just listed the mini compacts in the brass, diamond pattern. I will list the other two designs shortly. If you would like Figure 1: Noir in another container and are cool with limited packaging embellishments contact me.

Here’s a descriptive paragraph I wrote about the fragrance a couple years ago:

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.

Shop for the mini compact of Figure 1: Noir at my site or on Etsy. Read and see more about Figure 1: Noir at the Lookbook Greg and I created. Find the illuminated image Figure 1: Noir or Noir Woods at

Monday, November 27, 2017

Movie Monday: Epic

The 2013 animated film Epic, by Blue Sky Studios, is loosely based on the children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce. Why the marketing department at Fox choose to go with Epic as the title instead of The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs or just plain Leaf Men is difficult to understand. But alas, most marketing decisions are archiac to those of us who dwell in the land of imagination.

Writer/illustrator William Joyce has authored over fifty children's books, received an Academy Award for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and three Emmys for Rolie Polie Olie.

Although the Epic film received mixed reviews from the critics, I thought it was absolutely wonderful, crafted with a rare beauty seen in American animation. This little gem, in my opinion does not contain the over stylization of humans and over the top songs, seen in so many animated features these days. The creators did add an annoying pop songsat the end—but at least one can turn the volume down when watching from the luxury of your home or device.

The critics main challenge with this viscerally rich film was that they'd already seen this story, citing Fern Gully and Avatar as examples. I read a few reviews which felt the characters appeared very "plastic-y and doll-like", where as for me they looked so much better than the plasticine-like characters that Disney churns out of their profit driven animation factories.

I was captivated with the depiction of the wee fairy folk in the forest, particularly the leaf men and their arch nemesis, a Boggan named Mandrake. The lighting of the scenes, character textures and costumes, and the fantastical depiction of nature in all her glory, including decay. Perhaps the critics are correct, this is a story that we've heard told over and over again, but humans are dense, slow moving creatures who need to hear things over and over again, particularly when the subtleties of nature are competing various forms of technology and an onslaught of loud, gore driven media.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


I choose to use the term "illuminated" for my botanical perfume brand for a variety of reasons. Some of you may have already heard, this story in some form or other. This post is for those who may not have heard the tale as of it.

It all started way back in August 2003 while I was juggling working as an illustrator, practicing and teaching aromatherapy and learning how to create pure fumes with essential oils. At the time I was reading quite a lot about the history of fragrance, specifically in Egypt , inspired by attending a class in Malibu with John Steele.

The three week long workshop took place in a small Austrian village, high up in the Alps, called Reichenau. The workshop, taught by artist Phillip Rubinov Jacobson, was titled Old Masters, New Visions. It centered on learning the secret, ancient painting technique called Mishe that had been resurrected by the visionary painter Ernst Fuchs. You can read more in depth on the subject here at the journal.

During the first week of the intensive we learned the history of the technique stemming from 14th and 15th century when artisans within the guilds of painting and alchemy shared their wisdom with each other.  I became aware of the sacred triad that existed between art, perfumery and alchemy. The unifying component within this triad being the prima materia, plants! Thus, the term "illuminated" as in illuminated manuscripts and the aspect of bringing to light the beauty of plant matter in pure fume popped into my head like a lighting bolt. It also was made clear that Greg's imagery would be perfect for the brand since he has a very old world, romantic quality to his work...besides the convenience of him being my partner.

Here are a few of the "illuminations" that Greg created to accompany my pure fumes, 
some of these are details of the larger pieces. We collaborated on many of them while others were
existing pieces which he refined or adjusted. Find prints for sale here on his site.
All images are copyrighted, please respect the artist.

Q for the oak





Figure 1; Noir

Figure 5: Bois

La Dame Blanche


and my favorite...Chiaroscuro

There are a few more which I'll include shortly.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shop Update

While the hunt for a studio/home here in Santa Fe continues, I have been updating both my website and Etsy shop with available product. Many of my tools, raw materials, info cards, etc. are still in a storage POD in Albuquerque, thus I can only offer specific items at the moment.

For example I have the round tins for solid perfumes but I have not been able to track down the honey bee wax seals, thus in the meantime, those are not offered. However, if you want a solid perfume in a round tin and don't mind the missing wax seal or missing info cards, then contact me via e-mail and I'll make it up for you. (roxana at

In December we will be moving to a new rental where I will then bring more boxes from storage with the intention to get into regular production again. I have so many new ideas for perfumes, some of which I've already started working on.

In the interim, I have two potential spaces for the perfumery here in Santa, we shall see how that manifests. I've decided not to get attached to any outcomes in order to stay more sane and peaceful. It sure would be nice to take the chandeliers and all the other pretty items out of storage to be appreciated.

And yes, I continue to work on the online, updated version of the Art of Botanical Perfume as well as lots of other courses both online and live. If you would like to host a class in your area contact me.(roxana at

So, while I put some order to this chaos, contact me if there is something specific that you would like and I'll do my best to accommodate your desires.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Santa Fe National Forest

A new friend and intuitive mentioned that the hard, rocky surface of the land here in Santa Fe can make ones entry rather challenging. Indeed, that has been the case for me as I migrate through finding a home and workspace while juggling several other fire balls.

Oh, and when you land, be mindful of the cactus.

The solace is in the beauty of the landscape, whether it's the adobe structures, the scent of the Pinon trees, the surreal skies, the flavors of the food, the fresh air, the art, the expansive vistas of the desert or the nearby forest....and a combination of several of those listed coagulating within the expanse of a few minutes. Yes, it's absolutely enchanting, like the state motto claims, and a healing balm when circumstances are not aligning as one intended.

After seeing an instagram photo by Geninne of the Aspen Vista here in the nearby Santa Fe, National Forest, I was intent on experiencing it for myself. By the time we got up there we found gold at lower elevations but up in the higher elevations most of the trees had already lost their leaves.

It was still worth the twenty minute, heavenly drive from our casita in Tesuque around the mountain, past Ten Thousand Waves and into the deep forest. For there was plenty of other treasures to be found amongst the deep grounding of the woodland. I'm absolutely ecstatic to have this vibrant forest so close by and look forward to spending more time with the trees, rocks, the land and fae folk.

Luckily my little Prius has had no challenges making its way up the roads, of course there has been no snow as of yet in the lower elevations. It may not matter since the main roads are cleared regularly, especially if I have all terrain tires, we shall see, more adventures ahead.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Eyes of the Unicorn Auction

Ten years ago, my husband Greg Spalenka, illustrated his first children’s picture book “The Eyes of the Unicorn.” In celebration of its 10th Anniversary he has decided to do a one of kind auction that I thought I would share with all of you.

“The Eyes of the Unicorn,” is an enchanting, magical tale of a girl’s love, a hunt for a unicorn and the transformation of her friends heart. It was written by Teresa Bateman, and published in 2007 by Holiday House in New York. When Greg was commissioned to create the illustrations the goal was to bring a cinematic flavor to the book which was unique in the children’s market at the time, yet keep a classical foundation. The book found its audience, but it is now out of print.

This auction is an opportunity to own the evolution of the book’s imagery, and more! Go HERE to read more at Greg's blog and see the offerings or directly to bid HERE. The auction ends Sunday, Nov. 5, at 7:00 PM, PST.

We have decided to offer a percentage of the sale to a charity that works toward saving endangered Unicorns, but have not found one. For example the World Wildlife Organization doesn't have Unicorns on their list, go figure! ;-)

What would the scent of Unicorn be comprised of? I'm thinking sweet notes of flowers with woods, vanilla, honey, a bit of balsam and botanical musk. For the magical aspect we would need to make a special tincture or infusion that I will need to ponder. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on notes and also for the name. I'll be getting to work on this right away and offering a first edition bottle to the lucky winner.