Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Botanical Perfume in New York City!

In a few weeks I'll be off to NYC to teach The Art of Botanical Perfume class at the NY Institute of Aromatherapy. The class filled up really quick and is sold out. The founder of the school, Amy Galper (picture below), has generously set up a secondary evening at this link.

I am so extremely excited about heading to NYC! I moved there in the 80's right out of art school and thus feel like its a second home. My mentor, friend and aromatherapy teacher Jade Shutes will be there to film it so we can use the footage to promote the upcoming online course.

Look forward to seeing those of you in the NY at one of these two events. Please share and tell you friends. Watch my instagram feed for photos.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Word Rant Wednesday

This weeks word rant spotted in the media and elsewhere includes linguistic associated with perfume brands that DO NOT use whole, plant material in their formulations even though the descriptives make it sound like they do. It makes my job oh soooo very difficult, you have no idea.

The other big reveal, which I complain about often, is that almost in every case, labs create their products and perfume labs don't use whole essential oils, they use isolates which sometimes are synthetic, natural or a mix. One needs to be part detective and wordsmith to see beyond the (veil) marketing.

For example these are the ingredients on one "botanical" perfume being sold as "... exclusively crafted with an abundance of 100% natural .... known to be the purest and most precious in the world." You be the judge....

Jojoba oil: Simmondsia chinensis oil
Proprietary blend: citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, juniperus mexicana oil, cupressus sempervirens leaf/nut/stem oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) fruit extract, cananga odorata flower oil, dipteryx odorata (cumaru) bean extract, rosa centifolia flower extract, iris florentina root extract, carum carvi (caraway) seed oil, pogostemon cablin oil],
Cera bellina: polyglycerol-3 beeswax
Hydrogenated jojoba oil (jojoba esters)
Beeswax: cera alba
Shea butter: butyrospermum parkii butter
Candelilla wax: euphorbia cerifera,
Carnauba wax: copernicia prunifera
Dimethicone*, magnesium stearate

It seems to me if you want to use the most precious materials in the world one would use organic, local beeswax, instead of additives like Cera bellina: polyglycerol-3 beeswax, Candelilla wax: euphorbia cerifera, , Carnauba wax: copernicia prunifera, Dimethicone*, magnesium stearate, right?

More words being used by big brands touting "natural perfume"...

True Nature
Organic formulator
Certified organic perfume
Spiritual and agricultural sensitivity
Naturally....Natural fragrance
Botanical Essence
Health conscious
Sustainably sourced natural ingredients

Conclusion, words mean nothing. In some cases only a small amount (2-10%) of synthetic aroma chemicals are added to formulations to increase longevity or ramp up the volume on a perfume, thus giving the company the ability to use the words above.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Depth of Our Longing

I had set this post to automatically publish and see now that it never happened. I apologize for the delay.

For the Blossoms of Summer event last month on a very balmy evening we debuted the two new illuminations by Greg within a little video projected onto fabric just outside my workshop. Here are a few photos of the evening highlights and the video for those of you who were not able to attend the launch party.

Mellifera and Fleurish exist in all three formats: solid, Eau de Parfum (EdP) and parfum extract. I'm rather loving the Fleurish EdP, is become a daily obsession. At the launch, I observed to see if there was one that was more popular than the other, what I discovered is that people liked both of them equally. There were the "Mellifera" peeps and the "Fleurish" peeps, no cross over, it was either one or the other for the most part.

The fabulous savory delights were provided by Gina of Blue Table with mead supplied by Golden Coast Mead. Our dear friend Fritz was the musical director which filled the atrium quite nicely. At 10:00 pm attendees grabbed drums, rattles and shakers to join in a drum circle.

Urban bee keeping in Los Angeles was finally legalized which makes the timing of the debut of Mellifera rather auspicious.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Make Your Own Solid Perfume

This Sunday afternoon I will be teaching an introductory class on how to make your very own solid perfume. We will be going into the fundamentals along with how to make infusions and adding other elements like floral waxes.

The basic formula learned can be applied to making salves and balms, perfect as we move into the winter season and holiday season. See you then.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Equinox 2015: Discount Code

This transitional day has many names including Autumn or Spring Equinox (depending on where you are located in the world), Mabon or Meán Fómhair. No matter the actual name it is a time to deeply breath in this sacred moment as we begin our preparations for the impending shift in the seasonal year when the sun is aligned precisely over the equator.

Early recorded and non-recorded beings on Earth perceived this day as very special and built monolithic sites specifically for it. Our "his" stories tell us tales that these ancient beings were primitive, human and nothing better to do. Well, as usual, I disagree with these histories and prefer alternative her stories with points of view referring to heightened fields of energy, portals to other dimensions and elevated consciousness.

To assist in the transition I am offering a 10% discount on round tins of solid perfume. Use the word Mabon at checkout on the website only. All perfume tins, including the brand new Mellifera & Fleurish are part of this celebratory passage.

If you are in the part of the world, like me, that is moving into darkness and cold, than I suggest the warmer, heavier scents like:
Figure 5: Bois
Figure 1: Noir

Those of you in the southern hemisphere moving toward the light might want more floral and fresh fragrances like:
Gracing the Dawn
Hedera helix

If you are looking for something in between, than Mellifera is a good choice. Personally I don't pay much attention to the season, I prefer to go with my nose and what I desire in the moment. Lately I'm all about Fleurish, I can't get enough.

Take advantage of the special 10% off for 24 hours only. Happy Equinox!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Movie Monday: Madame Bovary

The 2014 Madame Bovary film by director Sophie Barthes is an exquisitely beautiful visual sketch starring Mia Wasikowska as the restless Emma Bovary. I am calling this adaptation a "visual sketch" because the screenwriter and director have taken an epic novel and condensed it into something of a thumbnail, albeit it a lavishly gorgeous one.

The cinematography by Andrij Parekh is impeccable and seamless with the costume designers Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux adding their lush, ornate contributions, particularly to the jewel toned gowns worn to perfection by Mia.  “Madame Bovary” is never less than lovely to look at.

I have not read the book but I am told by my daughter Eve that Mia Wasikowska as Emma Bovary was not the best casting decisions. The book describes Emma as dynamic, vivacious and naive which for one reason or other they choose not to have Mia embody. As a huge fan of Wasikowska I can't say I have seen her portray these qualities except for perhaps a bit in Only Lovers Left Alive.

I wanted to see this film because of the combination of Mia and delicious visuals that reminded me of the Cary Joji Fukunaga adaptation of Jane Eyre from 2011.

"A Heart Without Love Is a Heart Without a Voice."
~ Gustave Flaubert from Madame Bovary

I had a conversation with Eve the other day about how many people don't like historically set films because they believe them to have no added value to modern life....besides beauty, which some perceive as frivolous. Well, as you know dear readers, beauty to me is one of the most treasured things of life so I beg to differ and despite that this story is over 100 years old it has survived centuries because we are still dealing with the same challenges.

I found this DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT from MSP Film Society

"The entire value of my novel, if it has any, will consist of walking straight ahead on a tight rope, balanced above the two abysses of lyricism and vulgarity."

"Everyone believes I’m fond of reality but I loathe it. It’s my deep hatred of realism that pushed me to write this novel. But I nonetheless hate the false idealism that fools us these days."

- Gustave Flaubert

Those few words by Gustave Flaubert wonderfully reflect his state of mind while writing Madame Bovary. It is precisely this state of mind, this tension between realism and romanticism, between vulgarity and poetry, that have fueled my desire to work on a film adaptation of Madame Bovary. I find this tension very accurate and in tune with the human experience. Flaubert's obsession with finding the "accurate word" is legendary, my obsession as a filmmaker will be to find the accurate tone. Our intention is to respect the spirit of the novel and remain faithful to the psychology of the characters while creating a modern film, which will, hopefully, appeal to a young audience and entice them to discover the book as well as bring a more mature audience to rediscover with pleasure Flaubert’s masterpiece.

The Gustave Flaubert novel takes place in eighteen twenty seven which predates the release of the first modern perfume in France by about fifty years. Thus, her fragrances would have been more akin to colognes and solifleurs. From the novel we have this tidbit which refers to her using "pomade" which is a solid perfume....

“She repeated it in a low voice, for the mere pleasure of it; it rang in her ears like a great cathedral bell; it shone before her eyes, even on the labels of her pomade-pots.”

I will scent Madame Bovary with the solid version of Figure 1: Noir to match her melancholy contrasted by her beauty. Figure 1: Noir contains a dynamic juxtaposition between darkness and light with roots and wood in the base & heart balanced against the fruitiness of the cognac and artemisia in the top notes.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Tink Goes On

The jasmine tincture process is still going. Normally the cycle ends at some point in November, but it is dependent on the weather. Since we continue to have high heat its possible that will just keep on supplying those beautiful little blooms for another month.