Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Hip Than Hippie

On Monday I received a phone call from a journalist which morphed into an interview. Then, Tuesday morning, I did yet another. The one from yesterday is now up at the Greenfeet website follow the link below to have a listen. The interview from Monday will manifest later...probably with the flowers in the Springtime.

More Hip Than Hippie™ Pod Cast

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best Natural and Organic Perfumes

Several of our fragrances have made it into the Best Natural and Organic Perfume list over at Sprig magazine. Here is a link to what writer Elizabeth comments about our perfumes. The entire article can be found here.
Best Natural Perfume List on Sprig

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

The Art of Illusion

" The sense of smell is the sense of the imagination."
~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

Grasse, in the south of France, was once the center of the perfume industry. In today's time the center is now the chemists laboratory where they create the synthetic aroma chemicals that go into the large main stream perfumes.

National Public Radio, NPR, has a segment about the International Perfume Museum in Grasse, here is the link. There are several paradoxes in the report, however, I will leave those for you to discover instead of me...once again standing up on the soap box. As Elena states, perfume is an art about illusion.

I am working with pure Jasmine today, sambac, grandiflorum and the more wild auriculatum. There is a custom perfume based on Jasmine that has been on the work table and is just about complete.

In other news, one of my favorite authors, Neil Gamen, won the Newbery Award from the American Library Association and Grant Morrison's birthday is the last day of this month. He is an Aquarius, perfect!

Perfume Museum in Grasse
Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Minds Eye

It's sort of official now...Maestro has started his art sale. I am rather reluctantly seeing beautiful gems depart from our little woodland home. Of course, they've been tucked away in flat files, so it's a good thing that they now will be appreciated and displayed.

Here is what he states:


Welcome to my exhibition and sale of original art!

I have lived in the world of Illustration for 26 years, creating art for most of the national magazines, book publishers, and newspapers.
In the 80's, 90's, all my art was created the old fashion way, via drawings, paint, and various mixed media. When an assignment came my way I worked hard to create a concept that would reflect the story in a unique way. Then I jumped into the process of making art, experimenting with many materials.

Different techniques were realized, and many award winning pieces were born from this journey. Most of the art I was commissioned for at that time was social/political commentary, and portraits. Hence, much of this work has historical references.

Along with the illustration you see here will be some personal work, that includes drawings, and class demos. All art showcased here is one of a kind. No prints or reproductions.

Throughout this entire year, seven art pieces a week will be released for sale. In some instances a book, magazine or page from the publication the illustration was printed in will accompany the sale. All art not sold by the end of the year will be permanently retired.

You may learn more about me, see hundreds of my images (until the end of the year), experience my music, and film designs at my website.


Here is the direct link to the first few items he has put up.

If there is a specific piece that you have always admired, I suggest contacting him and making an offer quickly. Friends have been dropping by the many have already been nabbed.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope: Hopi

The agenda for today includes making solid perfumes and creating, as well as tweaking, a few accords. Good stuff to be working on with the exciting energetics of the day. I'll intend that all the happy, hope filled, inspiring blueprints of the day permeate these perfumes and accords.

I also need to dig a few holes in the garden and do some planting. It supposedly is going to rain in the morrow...we will see. Oh, AND I will be ordering more wax sticks to accompany the new color scheme for Aurora & Cimbalom.

Greg has been going through all is illustration work from when he is Mr. Mega Award winning illustrator in NYC. He threw some art away (gasp!) and will be selling the rest of it. What doesn't sell will probably be burned in a ritualistic ceremony or something. It's all a bit much for Eve and I, but, I understand the concept of clearing the decks to allow new visions in. If you are interested in getting one of these heirloom, historic pieces of art I suggest signing up fr his newsletter ASAP at his website or checking for updates at his Etsy outpost.

An excited girlfriend just sent me this Hopi Elders' Prophecy which was read at the close of the Public Waldorf Conference yesterday.


Hopi Elders' Prophecy
Oraibi, Arizona, June 8, 2000

To my Fellow Swimmers:

You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour; now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.

And there are things to be considered. . . .

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your truth. Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word 'struggle' from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we've been waiting for.


Images are ©Roxana Villa & Greg Spalenka.

Monday, January 19, 2009


“Plants that wake when others sleep.
Timid jasmine buds that keep their fragrance to themselves all day,

but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out

to every breeze that roams about.”

~ Thomas More

In August of 2008, rather spontaneously, I created a botanical natural perfume as a gift to myself for my birthday. As I shared it with friends during a performance of Kiss Me Kate at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, I was asked "What do you call this one?" I quickly titled it Birthday Balm. The response to the buttery, delicious scent was extremely positive, thus I decided to include it in my line. Like a caterpillar it has morphed a bit since it's first debut with a few reformulations and name changes. I am proud to announce that the butterfly has now finally emerged from the cocoon with a name, it's color hue and the illumination.

The new name is Cimbalom, after a stringed instrument closely related to the hammered dulcimer. It was my friend Scott that initially proposed a name based on an instrument. I thought it was a great idea since perfume has so many parallels to music. I am a huge fan of the hammered dulcimer in music, specifically Dead Can Dance and Lisa Girard. Since this perfume is in a sense *my* signature perfume, it feels appropriate to weave in all the elements that I adore.

Which brings me to the imagery. As I searched my minds eye for a piece from Maestros existing artworks, I came upon Enchantment. I knew right away she was the one. The imagery of the sleeping beauty amidst the autumn leaves morphing into butterflies is quite appropo for this buttery, sensuous unguent.

The story of this fragrance unfolds utilizing many of my very favorite essences. It is a very sensuous perfume with an underlying wild, animalic note. The main notes are Labdanum, Patchouli and Jasmine with Citrus and Spice making an appearance as top notes.

Cimbalom Solid Perfume is available at my site as a sample, mini compact, round tin or one of the antique inspired compacts. The sample arrives in a neutral pot with the little bee logo wax seal. There The sample provides ample amounts for testing and altaring your altar to your essential nature.

Here are a few remarks from fans:

"Roxana, your "Birthday Balm" is exquisite. When I closed my eyes I was transported to a blossom and incense scented harem. I felt as though I had entered a hidden world of women-- where sensuous secrets are revealed. It is delicate, potent, sexy-- irresistible."
~ D. Alexander

"I love it! Reading the notes included, my response was, ooh, this will be spicy. Indeed, on first sniff it was, yet immediately it tumbled into sweet (the beeswax?), powdery, earthy, woody, autumnal, edible, womanly, sexy, subtle, cool. I found myself swathed in velvet and lace, frolicking between the sun shafts in the mossy forest with the fairy host. That must have been some birthday, girl! Thanks again for the interlude. Love and hugs and Mabon blessings"
~ Anne

and her second note:

"What an amazing perfume. Amazing too how it smelled so completely different on Elizabeth. And yes, the solid perfume seems just right for this yin time of the year."
~ Anne

"Roxana.... what a wonderful, magical balm! It is a harvest of scents... sensuous but not overpowering... absolutely delightful! Can hardly wait for a liquid version of it. Thanks so much for your generosity, and for sharing your alchemical talents with the world! :) Blessings..."
~ Adriane

Enjoy, bee happy, slather yourself often and mindfully.

Perfume images ©Roxana Villa, Enchantment illustration ©Greg Spalenka,
see more at his website.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Sunday, January 18, 2009


"Look deep, deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything."
~ Albert Einstein

Our liquid perfume titled Chaparral™ now has a solid version. This fragrance is an incense themed natural botanical perfume devoted to the California Native American Indians. The perfume balm adaptation has been created by utilizing pure, plant essences of resin, wood and sage.

Tom at the Perfume Smellin’ Things Blog wrote this regarding the liquid version of this perfume: ”...distillation of California with it's herbal woodiness and hint of wildfires...”

Cream perfumes have become increasingly popular, in most part due to the ease of transport. The solid version of this fragrance is utilitarian, sophisticated and provides mood a mood enhancing affect due to the aromatherapeutic contents of the ingredients.

These creamy unguents are in a base of jojoba, beeswax and infused plants materials. I create the solid perfumes all by hand first formulating the synergistic combination of essences. Once the essence combination has melded, with a bit of aging, I melt the beeswax, add the jojoba oil and then slowly stir in the synergy. While this mixture is still liquid I pour it into the little pan that sits within the metal compact. By having the perfume in a separate container it ensures lasting performance so that the vintage gets better and does not adversely react with the metal compact.

The hue associated with this fragrance is a pale green, similar to the color of the sages and artemisia's found in the local California mountains. The hand crochet pouch of the liquid features small silver feathers as a tribute to the Native People that once roamed these lands.

My very skillful mother creates these heirloom pouches for our perfumes. She and I collaborate on the design and seek out the cotton colored thread and charms together.

The illustration that accompanies this perfume was originally created for a cover of a young adult book. When I mentioned to Greg that I needed an image for Chaparral™ he significantly enhanced it for the fragrance by adding in local botanicals and the cowboy in the background. The female in the illustration is me.

Chaparral™ as a solid can be purchased at Etsy. There you will find it as a mini as well as the offering in the antique finish metal compact with its sage colored pouch.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™
Illuminated Perfume at Etsy

All images are ©RoxanaIlluminatedPerfume, the illustration at bottom is ©Greg Spalenka. See more of his work at these links: &

Friday, January 16, 2009


"Star bright, star light,
first star I see tonight, I wish I may,
I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight."

The solid perfume version of Aurora is finally ready. The fragrance originally came into this earthy manifestation as a liquid perfume. The new creamy unguent is very close to the aromatic quality of the perfume extrait with it's herbaceous, floral spiciness.

Here is a little snippet from a post here on our journal regarding Aurora:
"Although Lyra was released first, Aurora is the initial floral perfume I created. Back in the nineties I had sat down to recreate the aroma of carnations shortly following a Natural Perfumery class I had organized at the Bodhi Tree. Originally titled Experiment #2, Aurora has a spicy floral quality reminiscent of carnations."

The carnation quality is subtle and due to the combination of floral and spice. The main odor chemical in a fragrant Carnation flower is "eugenol", this component is found in high concentrations in the essential oil or absolute of clove.

We've chosen a hue from the plum spectrum as Aurora's color harmony. Perhaps you have already noticed that each perfume has a color association as well as an illumination created by Maestro Gregorio. Most of our floral perfumes have the red tones from our color palette. The challenge is finding the particularly tone in a corresponding painting, the right crochet thread for the pouches and the wax sticks. Sometimes all this takes time to put together. It gets even more complex if it is a new perfume that requires a name. The naming is a bit of a drag, very different from naming a painting.

Although one can approximate a carnation type of aroma with just a few essences, our natural, botanical perfume contains over twenty. I added a bit of my precious Carnation absolute from France just for Divina of the Fragrance Bouquet Blog. In December Divina wrote a lovely review of the liquid version of Aurora, here are a few of her words: "What beautiful, twinkling magic has been weaved in this amazing, heart-moving fragrance? Because it is surely magic, or at the very least the magic of art and love, that make this fragrance evolve so stunningly on the skin, going through countless transformations that seduce the senses one after the other..."
Read the rest of the review at her blog following the link

The illustration we use to illuminate Aurora is a detail of Snow Faerie, an image by Greg, it is featured in his 2009 Calendar titled Divine Nature. See more of Greg's artwork at etsy and his website.

Here is a site which offers a variety of annuals and perennials of Carnations. According to Lisa Camasi, the Mini spice and the Valentino mix are noted as fragrant.

For the largest selection Aurora, in all her guises head on over to the Illuminated Perfume outpost at etsy.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™
Roxana Illuminated Perfume™ at Etsy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Heart Note

In Perfumery terms we refer to the heart note, or middle notes, as the scent of a fragrance as it evolves from the initial hit of the top notes. As the first fragrance impression dissipates the next progression is the heart of the perfume followed by the lingering base. The heart notes represent an important turn in a well constructed perfume and are often where the soul of a fragrance can be found. In garden design a tree, like the middle note of a perfume, provides the heart of a landscape design.

California offers a wide variety of splendid native trees which are beautiful, provide habitats for wildlife, offer color and fragrance as well as shade. Now in January is when some of these trees lose the last of their leaves and provide interesting structural forms in the landscape. The leaf litter is rich in nutrients. Instead of gathering up decomposing organic matter provided by nature, use the leaf matter as mulch. Oak and pine are ideal for this purpose. Mulch is beneficial in the garden because it helps retain soil moisture, moderates soil temperature, suppresses weeds and adds natural beauty to garden.

The native arboreal delights include:
Calocedrus decurrens, incense cedar
Platanus racemosa, Western sycamore
Quercus agrifolia, coastal live oak
Quercus lobata, valley oak
Quercus engelmannli, Engelmann oak
Pinus ponderosa, ponderosa pine
P. torreyana, Torrey pine

On our property we have a bounty of native oaks including the Quercus agrifolia, coastal live oak and Quercus lobata, valley oak. As you will notice, the palm tree which regrettable has become emblematic of the City of Angels, is not on the above list.

Here in the wooded hills of Los Angeles our native oak grooves are being disseminated for the purpose of housing developments, McMansions and just plain ignorance. In many cases old oaks will be removed and replaced by non native palms. The palm provides a specific appeal to those wanting to create a fantasy location such as the middle east or the tropics. Palms provides little to no shade and do not contribute to native biodiversity.

This month we will be speaking out to protect a few grooves in our local woods. To learn more about California native plants visit the Theodore Payne Foundation where you can purchase a few woody specimens as well as learn all about the delight of California flora. Save Oak Savanna provides support and is hard at work protecting wildlife, open space and native oaks as well as informing, organizing and educating the local community.

In an effort to contribute to spreading the word on native plants and facilitating consciousness to this realm many of the liquid perfumes in our California series give back to local organizations. Each of these perfumes hold the intention to evolve the consciousness of humans to the value of the plants, specifically those that are native to the California biome.

"Q", the first in this series, stands for Quercus agrifolia and gives to the California Oak Foundation. Chaparral™ gives to the California Chaparral Institute, and Sierra gives to TreePeople. Read more at out website and here-abouts in the blog.

Thank you to Lili Singer of the Theodore Payne Foundation for her article titled "Native Trees, Please" in the Poppy Print Winter 2009 issue. Her contribution was the inspiration for this post and provided much of the valuable knowledge. Please refer to her article for more in depth information about native trees.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™
The image of the Philosophical Tree is by J.D. Mylius created in 1628. Old oak leaf engraving was placed on of parchment using photopshop, Tree image is ©Greg Spalenka.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Wolf Moon

“The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.”
~ Frederic Lawrence Knowles quotes

Up in the starry heavens the moon is full this evening, lighting up the night with her silvery luminosity. This moon goes by many names including: Old Moon, Moon after Yule, Old Winter Moon, Storm Moon, Cold Moon and my favorite Wolf Moon.

On this Full Moon Helg over at Perfume Shrine has posted her favorite things of 2008 as part of a group blogging project. I am happy to share that our Sierra Solid Gold perfume is on her list under Favorite Portable Obsession. You'll find Sierra Solid Gold perfume at my etsy site as a mini or in an antiqued compact, link below. This perfume has become a favorite in our line.

Getting back to this evenings lunacy, my 2009 Llewelyn's Datebook references the Wolf Moon to the wild winter wind which is akin to a wolfs howl. Auspiciously air element whipped through here with tremendous force last night, and continues a bit tonight.

This first full moon of 2009 is in it's home sign of intuitive and emotional Cancer during the coldest portion of the season.

The image above is by Maestro Gregorio, he created it for a young adult book called By These Ten Bones. I've always had a fondness for the piece and am thrilled to use it to illustrate this post.

Using the metaphor in the illustration consider doing some journey work this evening by the silver light of this exceptionally powerful moon invoking a cloak of protection for you and your family. Call upon your guides and power animal to help you.

Image ©Greg Spalenka:

Perfume Shrine: 2008 Favorites List
Roxana Illuminated Perfume™
Roxana Illuminated Perfume at Etsy

Friday, January 9, 2009

Twinkle, twinkle

One of my friends from the good ol' days of illustration in NYC shared this and I felt compelled to share it with all of you. Enjoy...

Indian salman khan Hindi music from the film Purab aur Paschim:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star & Jack and Jill went up the hill Indian style.

About the film Purab aur Paschim on Wikipedia and on IMDB.

Thank you Henrik!

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Visual + Aromatic Art

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Foul & Fragrant

In the autumn of 2004 I attended a series of presentations associated with a show at USC titled The Foul and the Fragrant: Creating Perfume. These notes below are from a presentation toward the end of the exhibit in mid November 2004.

Originally a representative from Santa Maria Novella in Italy was scheduled for the evenings event, unfortunately they were replaced by Valérie LaJeanne of Grasse, France at the last minute.

We were all amazed that a "trained nose" can decipher up to 2000 different aroma compounds, and is able to discern a Bulgarian Rose from a Moroccan Rose. Valérie touched briefly on some history of scent, asked why we wear scent and spoke of the seven perfume categories as classified by the French Society of Perfume. The scent categories were illustrated by using sounds that are associated to each category. She was quite funny and had a very thick French accent.

During her explanation of animalistic base notes she stated, "A great perfume is defined by how long it can remain on the skin." My friend and fellow natural perfumer, Faith, turned to me and asked, "Did she just say that a great perfume is defined by how long it remains on the skin????!!!" I said "Yep." Faith looked at me in horror. I replied, "Why don't you say something?" So, Faith did. Ms. LaJeanne insisted. Thus Faith and I began debating the issue with her. Valérie went on to say, to my and Faiths shock, that "the naturals" can't compete with synthetics and it's better for the planet to use synthetics because or else there would be no flowers left. I commented that it is quite wonderful and sensual to re-apply a natural perfume and not a hindrance to wearing it at all. She again claimed that synthetics are superior. At that point I was ready to wrestle this woman, however, one of the curators stood up. He said that many of us are natural perfumers and have a very different sentiment when it comes to synthetics. Valérie again asserted that synthetics are better.

Whether a natural or synthetic perfume is better is completely a matter of ones personal preference and point of view. Is a great perfume defined by how long it remains on the skin?
Non. That would mean that plain civet applied to the skin is a great perfume. It would meet the criteria of lasting on the skin, but, would fall short on aesthetic beauty and evolution.

"Perception is an act of creation." - Anon

The presentation continued with a workshop where we each created our own synthetic perfume by mixing 3mls of a base note, 3mls of a heart note and 3mls of a top note. The options were:


Ylang Ylang
Lily of the Valley

Green Tomato

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Visit my perfume shop on Etsy for the largest selection of Illuminated Perfumes:
Image top: Latest illumination of Vera and an old engraving of a nose and grapefruit on parchment.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Make a Beginning

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Yet another new year of the Julian-Gregorian calendar. Our friends at the Pantone Color System have deemed “Mimosa", a bright yellow hue, as the official color for 2009. I like the name, as it is one of the perfume materials in the botanical and natural perfumers palette. Mimosa, an Acacia from India, exists in the form of an absolute for the perfume artist. Mimosa has a sheer quality which can easily get buried if not blended mindfully. The fragrance of Mimosa Absolute contains honeyed melon floral notes. There is another Acacia, Acacia farnesiana, termed Cassie which is quite lovely as well with a warm floral note that works well with wood, other florals and citrus. Mimosa is associated with protection, purification and dreaming. The dreaming aspect works nicely in terms of this being a Visionary year.

In the aromatic sphere the color yellow is attributed to citrus notes. Read more about aromatics and color by following the link below.

Last year the numerology of 2+0+0+8 = 10 translated to a number 1 year. One represents new beginnings and initiative. A great time for pioneering and putting forth new ideas. In America we elected a new President in 08 while here at the Villa Spalenka Maestro Gregorio and I dashed up to Topanga State Park and got married. More on that later, here is a little picture from our secret ceremony on Saturn Day, December 27th, under the auspicious energetics of a New Moon.

Numerologically 2+0+0+9 = 11 which translates to the maser number 11 and condenses down to a 2 year. Eleven is considered one of the Master Spiritual numbers, we have not experienced an eleven year on our planet since 1910! As a Master number, eleven carries a high vibrational energetic blueprint of great visionary strides. Assuming we don’t get caught up in fear, but, ya all know what the letters of fear stand for right? “False Expectations Appearing Real”,
so lets stay in the moment and in love.
I’ve posted a link below to some really terrific information on this 2009 Master Eleven Year.

I found this on a blog which is sorta fun:
“Barack Obama's birthday adds up to 29, which reduces to 11. His common name (Barack Obama) has 11 letters. His first and last names total 5 vowels and 6 consonants (5+6 = 11).”

For this Mastery Year, I intend to continue facilitating greater awareness of the value of our plant kingdom, utilizing my skills as a visual and aromatic artist.

Color & Aromatics
2009 Master Eleven Year

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Image one, Engraving on parchment, image two...Gregory and Roxana in Topanga State Park, courtesy of Peleg Top.