Friday, April 8, 2016

Visions from the Mind's Eye in Thousand Oaks

Greg will be doing a presentation and signing of The Art of Greg Spalenka, Visions from the Mind's Eye at the Thousands Oaks library tomorrow, Saturday.

Learn about his professional art career in publishing and film. Hear what it takes to create illustrations for the most prestigious publishers on the planet, and designing for the film industry.  Copies of the book will be for sale.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Flowers

Spring flowers begin blooming here in Los Angeles in January with our native white ceanothus. The little sky blue, rosemary flowers on our back slope usually start up at this time as well, which begins to hum with the sounds of busy bees. The cascade of colors then slowly ebbs its way in with the blue ceonothus, also referred to as California lilac. The photo above is the one on our front slope which is very happy.

Although we had a bit of rain in the early part of the new year elemental water has become scarce once again, with only a few sprinkles now and then. It sure would be helpful to have more rain before we go into the dry, hot months looming around the corner.

I've been so immersed with assembling all the bits and pieces for the Art of Botanical Perfume online course and making/fulfilling perfume orders that most other aspects of life have dropped away. The content for the course includes both written material and video. Although the footage for each module was shot and a first draft of the edits sent over, Greg has been sweetening this footage with his artistry.

Only Modules 1-4 have been released so far, mostly as written content, the videos are being added slowly as Greg finishes them up. The kit I designed with Eden Botanicals is now complete and were sent to students last week. Modules 5, 6 and 7 will be released on April 17th..with or without the corresponding videos.

One of the students sent in this note to Jade today, who then forwarded it to me:

"I am doing the art of botanical perfumery with Roxana Villa. And it's absolutely beautiful.  Hands down one of my favorite courses ever. And I have taken a lot. I love all the sensory stimulation writhing the course and extra credit pieces. I'm so glad you have brought this to your course menu."

Notes such of these make all the hard work so much lighter. I mentioned to Greg that when we are complete with all this a vacation is certainly on the horizon.

Thus, my absence here at the journal is due to the overwhelming amount of work involved with launching a sensory rich course. The challenge with detail oriented / perfectionist people like Greg and I, is that we have high ideals. In the end its a good thing but in the middle is the worst. One of the students sent me this note after reading my apology regarding the delay in including the videos with the launch of each Module.

"You need Chaos in your Soul to give birth to a Dancing Star." 
~ Nietzsche

Monday, March 21, 2016

Webinar for the Art of Botanical Perfume Online Course

After a week of editing Greg and I have finished the webinar for the Art of Botanical Perfume Online Course and uploaded it to YouTube. Enjoy and please share...

We are having some massive team and technical challenges getting the videos finalized. So far Module 1 is live with the video forthcoming. Intending Module 2 will be arriving soon. I had no idea that there would be so many challenging with having videos made. Still working on figuring out what the lesson here is? Might just be letting going of professionalism and perfection, and learning that getting a great, reliable team when embarking on a project of this scale is so important.

Art of Botanical Perfume Online Course

I created a special essence kit for the course, which is mentioned in the video with a link at the course page. The labels, stickers, folded booklet etc. have been all custom designed and are being printed as I type. Thus, the kits will be sent out next week which is in plenty of time before the students will need them for the debut of Module 5: Olfactory Awareness in mid April.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Schism

Humans are at an interesting crossword as we choose to either take the highroad or plunder down into a murky darkness of hate. According to some ancient texts there is the potential for more lower chakra stupidity before we finally migrate to the higher realms of consciousness.

In the meantime, there are sectors of people who are equating the use of beeswax with that of civet paste. I was not aware of this rather odd point of view, thus, I am here to clarify a few things...

  • Big agro beekeepers, like John Miller showcased in More Than Honey, are very different than those of us who save feral hives and act as their guardians using holistic and mindful methods.
  • Civet is a nocturnal animal related to the cat that secretes a pale yellow, viscous substance used in perfumery. Originally introduced to Europe by Marco Polo from China it died off in use when synthetic materials replaced the original palette of perfumers. Regrettably, civet has made a comeback as "natural" perfumers use it within their palette which contains animal ingredients. The fragrant substance is secreted from the animals anal glands and then scraped while the cat is teased and stressed in a tiny cage.  Quite horrific and certainly not in keeping with what we associate "green" and "natural" perfume with. According the Chandler Burr "Civet is like adding whole cream to soups or sauces." Indeed, in France and in the 14th century Venice, civet was an immensely popular ingredient in fine fragrance due to its alchemical magic at incremental amounts as well as adding tremendous longevity to a perfume.

So, what do you think, is using beeswax in perfume the same as using civet paste? It's possible that the confusion might be because those who are part of the "vegan" tribe prefer to obtain from"bee related" products but are okay with petroleum products, go figure. I'm still trying to understand that one.

At the end of the day, or our lives, each of us will be held accountable for what we've done here on planet earth or maybe not. What I do know is that if I hadn't saved the three colonies of feral bees that share there honey and beeswax with me, they would have been exterminated using toxic chemicals. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Art of Botanical Perfume, Online Course is here!!

After many nudges by Jade, my friend and mentor since the mid nineties, I am finally launching the Art of Botanical Perfume online course! As an introduction we are doing a webinar next week followed by a launch scheduled for Spring. Sign up for the webinar at this link, we are offering two different times and will be offering some discounts and goodies for those who sign up early.

If you are new to my work check out this video about me and this presentation from the aromatherapy conference at Bastyr with my specific thoughts on learning botanical perfume.

The course is set up as an introduction, focusing on the basics and the "art" of botanical perfume. For those looking for super technical skills and a more left brain approach than this may not be for you, although your inner artist will sure appreciate it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Busy as a Bee

Last weekend was packed with three different bee related happenings along with lots of writing for aromatherapy journals and projects. Read my latest contribution to Fragrantica here. Most people rest on the weekends, not me, I must be part feral bee! Yes, I said feral, because they work much harder than the European honey bee.

Friday in the late afternoon we headed into downtown LA for the book signing of Save the Bees with Chelsea, Rob and little Will MacFarland at The Last Bookstore. Always a treat to wonder around the galleries above the bookstore, like LB Lovejoys eclectic workshop where the image above was taken.

While at the signing we met up with George Langworthy, the director of The Vanishing of the Bees, and his beautiful girlfriend Alexandra so we headed over to Bottega Louie for dinner. We brought home a box of delicious macarons.

On Saturday we were planning to head up to Topanga to save a swarm of bees located in a sprinkler box under a Sumac bush but decided to wait a few days since we had a storm heading in.

Then on Sunday morning, in the midst of torrential rains, I drove into Culver City for the first HoneyLove Meet up of 2016 featuring a lecture by Rob McFarland titled Wild Bee Sex.

This afternoon Greg and I went back up to the site in Topanga to move the bees in the sprinkler box, but, they had already left, no bees only honey comb with a bit of pollen.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?

The title for todays post Anne of Green Gables. The violets are coming up in quite a bounty due to our rain fall. This year, instead of a tincture I am placing the delightful little flowers on a bed of botanical fat to infuse their intoxicating odor. The process is called enfleurage, we know it originating in France but its possible that it goes as far back as Egypt.

By the way, as I write this, I have the most recent crop sitting here next to me and I must say it is a glorious little posy to be inhaling.