Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wine and Cheese

It's been a bit of a desert here at the journal, here's whats been happening lately. For the most part all my energy is going to making perfume, packing orders and getting ducks in a row at the new workspace. The ducks include the Samhain decorations, the Fan Funding project (which is rather massive in scope), organizing and then re-organizing the workshop, new products, perfumes, logo, packaging and planning the opening. Everything fits together a bit like a puzzle as I need the funding to get some counters, the display case etc. but time is running out as I am intending to have the Celebration for the new space on November 15th! YIKES!!

Yesterday I met with Gina of Blue Table, the wine and cheese bar at the Whizin Market Square where the perfumery is. The intention was to do a little mind melding about what to serve at the opening and check out options. Right now we are considering either a spiced wine, a Vermouth beverage or Sangria with a infused water for those who don't drink alcohol.

We also discussed cheese and different herbals pairings. I love Blue Table and eat there quite often, probably more so than Hugos. My staple there is the beet and goat cheese salad. While speaking with Gina she served me a gorgeous Vermouth paired with GingerBeer. I've never been much of an alcoholic beverage person, but am sensing that may change.

Blue Table reminds me a bit of Il Piatto, a deli my mother had with a friend during the 80's while I was attending Otis Art Institute in downtown. Il Piatto was located on Melrose, back when it was really "happening" in that part of Los Angeles. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NEWS: French Glass Flacons

At this moment in time the French glass flacons with the flat tops that fit into the crochet pouches are no longer available. The photo above is the last of them which was bought by a fan on the east coast. I do still have some flacons left with your choice of three tops like the rectangle above, the round pictured below or the one I call V-neck.

In the meantime I'm working on some labels for other bottles to offer as an alternative and changing all the listings online.

The redesign of the logo and bee has been an ongoing project for a few years now, worked on by several very talented folks but never quite to my standards. Last month I found a new gal who is in the process of working on it. If all goes well, those designs may be showing up quite soon.

Friday, October 10, 2014


In the midst of herding all the elements for the Fan Funding Event together, the extravagant grand finale jasmine blooming cycle I came across a glorious glass apothecary cabinet for the new space. Although I thought all I needed was a simple glass case, when I found THE piece I realized no, this is the statement piece for the front section. Not only is it beautiful but evokes my great grandfathers apothecary in downtown Buenos Aires magnificently!

Of course its going to cause great chaos within the space. All the existing furniture and hangings will under go a massive shift, but I'm okay with it. Above is a simple photo of the piece taken hastily with my mobile, more soon.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Autumn Community Event

On Saturday, October 11th, the yoga studio directly across from the perfumery has asked me to participate in a community event on the second floor of the atrium within the Whizin Market Square.

Although the perfumery will not have its official opening quite yet, we will have a special sneak peak on that day. I invite you to stop by and inhale deeply while seeing the progress that has taken place in and enjoying the wonderful community within the atrium.

Greg will be doing signings of his beautiful new book as well as have prints and other ephemera for sale. This is a great opportunity to get a head start on the holiday gift giving season!

Yoga Everyone will kick off the day with a meditation at 9am followed by free yoga classes.

Other participating vendors includes: KIND bars, Blue Table, Raw Love Bites Chocolates, Pivot Wellness and more!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tree of Life Botanical Perfume Draw

Michelyn of the fragrance blog Cafleurebon has published my review of the Beyond Aromatics Conference. There is a giveaway for 1 gram by weight of Hedera helix or Q in a glass vial as part of the article. Please head on over to this link at Cafleurebon if you'd like to enter the contest.

I chose Q and Hedera helix because they are both part of my Tree Ogham series which you can read more about here. Tuesday, September 30th, is the start of the Tree Month of Ivy, Hedera helix.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


While most places in the northern hemisphere have been experiencing some form of Autumn weather and signs of the impending season, we continue to have heat and very few visible harbingers except for acorns and pumpkin vendors.

Meanwhile, the jasmine sambac is happily blooming in yet another flowering cycle. I now have two big bottles of tincture, a glass jar of an infusion and an enfleurage all happening at once!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beyond Aromatics Part Two

Presentations began Friday morning opening with an insightful view of the global landscape of Aromatherapy delivered by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, who had us all chuckling as he retold the creation story from the perspective of aromatic molecules. 

The oration was compelling and mind expansive as he pointed out how corporate science limits our perspective of the effects of essential oils.

David Crow, my first teacher of aromatics, enchanted us with a dialogue on Cosmic Chemistry challenging us to a collective awakening with an intention of creating a sustainable spiritual culture. In the presentation he included footage of growers and distillers of Helichrysum italicum that he has been working with in Corsica. Although the region is known for abundant amounts of the golden flowering shrub the plant is suffering due to ecological factors.  David shared how even the smallest shifts in a culture can have dramatic affects on the plants. For example, helichrysum is happiest when it has lots of space and is alone. If the sheep are present, they will eat all the shrubs and weeds that grow around helichrysum, giving her plenty of room to branch out while remaining in solitude. However, the goat and sheep herders of Corsica have now taken on work as tour guides rather than herding thus the plants that use to be cleared by the animals now infringe on the helichrysum impending her abundant growth.

On Saturday afternoon I presented “The Tree of Life: A Mystical Approach to the Art of Botanical Perfumery” a rather esoteric impression on art, alchemy and perfume, offering an alternate perspective on learning. I began with the history of botanical perfume, going all the way back to the 1st scent molecules produced by the conifers progressing to todays modern botanical perfumers which holds the seeds of aromatherapy, art, herbalism and alchemy. The tree, with its abundant use in spiritual and philosophical doctrines became the anchor emblem as I took the audience on a Delphic journey.   The piece was somewhat theatrical in its delivery with a moving feast of imagery orchestrated by Greg. Following the lecture I shared my process on how to create a botanical perfume using the systems highlighted in the slide show. Here is a portion of the lecture which Greg graciously labored many hours into to make it into a video.

“The audience was delighted, almost stunned, by the beauty and power of Roxana’s presentation.” 
~ Gabriel Mojay

On Sunday, the last day of the conference, I was able to catch two morning presentations. The first was “Staying Healthy through the Seasons with Aromatherapy and Ayurvedic Principals” with Jade Shutes. The interaction workshop began with an introduction to the Five Element Theory of Ayurveda followed by a four page questionnaire to ascertain our particular dosha. Most of us were a combination of two, such as Vata/Pitta. Of all the wonderous information gathered through out the conference this workshop was the most practical for me, which I continue apply daily with new insights about the current season, myself and beneficial practices.

Next was one of my personal favorite authors in the field of Aromatherapy, Gabriel Mojay with Aromasophia: The Symbolic Meanings and Traditional Medicinal Uses of Key Aromatic Plants; The Aromatherapeutic Value of Such Study. Gabriel took us on a very in depth overview of Rosemary and Rose from the arcane to the scientific, with gorgeous imagery to accompany his voice.

There were a total of fourteen lectures and six workshops during the three days, along with an exhibitor area and lots of opportunities for conversation. On Monday, following the conference Cathy Skipper from France led a post conference workshop titled “Looking at the way essential oil’s different layers of action help to heal the ‘whole’ person.” which had students in the evergreen forest that lines the campus of Bastyr.

Each attendee of the conference was given a organic hemp shopping bag containing a variety of goodies including essential oils, hydrosols and a plethora of wonderful bath and body products. My personal favorite has been the Rasayana Body
Oil by Lady of the Lotus.

The fragrance industry is a vast, dynamic landscape of products labeled as perfume, articulated by variances in the raw materials being utilized and how the scented items are formulated. Adding more complexity is a varied spectrum of business models from large fragrance houses (some of which have existed over one hundred years) to the uber niche perfumers hand making items in their kitchens. Never before, in the history of the field of fragrance, have we had such a range.

Aromatherapy is a branch of the Tree of Herbalism aligned with those practicing botanical perfume, a segment of fragrance makers consciously choosing to work with a restricted palette of whole ingredients without isolates and/or animal product.

The Beyond Aromatics conference was such a powerful yet sweet event, compromised of healers and those working directly with plants. I feel so extremely grateful to have been part of this community and the opportunity to share what I have gleaned as an artist and promoter of nature. It was also a thrill to be amongst my piers and authors I’ve admired since 1996 such as Valerie Cooksley and Gabriel Mojay.

The Proceedings of the Beyond Aromatics conference and the videos of each lecture will be available from Naha, check their site for updates and to find an aromatherapist near you.

Photos: Roxana Villa, Gergely Hollodi, Gabriel Mojay and Greg Spalenka