Monday, September 28, 2009

Real Estate

I have attended over eight San Diego Comic Con Conventions with my husband. Over the years of both selling and purchasing art we have learned something that I never quite realized also relates to perfume. When I read Gaia's post today over at The Non-Blonde some synapses were triggered between art and perfume collectors. Here is the snippet from her blog:

"Perfume lovers who own a substantial number of bottles tend to reach a point in their collecting habit where considering a purchase becomes about deciding if this new (or old) perfume is worth the shelf space and its place in their rotation, since acquiring and wearing a new scent means less skin time for the other loves. In other words, we become so particular that a perfume needs to wow us if it is to join the other treasures in our cabinets."

For art collectors, instead of shelf space it's wall space. Instead of less skin time for certain perfumes it's less view time for favorite paintings. Greg and I manage our over flowing art collection by rotating the artwork every six months or so. If either one of us has a show and our artwork is sent away to a museum or gallery then that will conveniently cause instant rotation.

As a creator of botanical perfume my main challenge is staying being too repetitive with certain notes. I have favorite materials for different needs. Usually I am in love with all the Jasmines but do not necessarily reach for Jasmine each time I create a perfume. Labdanum on the other hand is a note that I have adored since the first day it danced across the ol'factory. Besides the delicious, amber notes I am rather found of the fixative properties of labdanum, especially when combined with other essences.

The benefit of botanical perfume is that since the chemicals are not clingy and super long lasting then the real estate space can be less of an issue. If a perfume only lasts say six hours, than that frees up the space to apply yet another favorite fragrance. Within a twenty four hour day, depending on the strength of fixation, that opens the door for quite a bit of scentual enjoyment within one day and night.

Image: The Reconciliation of Titania and Oberon. Oil on canvas, size 30 x 48.5 inches, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Peace Train

On Monday the perfume devoted to Peace was released with a grand welcome mat by the perfume blogging community. Ten individuals received the three main chords (accords) and the final perfume to review. These ten individuals represent the first circle in a series of concentric circles. Want to be part of the next circle? First you need a sample of the perfume, how about entering the giveaway at the link provided.

Next, I invite you to come on the Peace Train and take a tour of the reviews, while on the tour here is Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens).

A few tidbits from the reviews:

Bitter Grace Notes

"My predominant impression is one of profound serenity. There is just enough of the scent to sample on the flesh; as it warms and unfurls, a significant sense of well-being unfolds with it. It feels earthy, but not precisely of this Earth." ~ Chaya

"The peace perfume opens with a surprisingly snappy citrus chord. I was expecting something quiet, even soporific, but the top notes here suggest joy and exhilaration--a nice way of recognizing that peace is an active good, a state that promotes happiness." ~Maria

Cleveland Examiner

"There is something in the alchemy of this perfume that is a shamanic template for personal power, a prayer for the fullest flowering of human expression and a wish for peace between us all. It is my fondest hope that you will feel moved to experience it's magic for yourself." ~ Beth

Portland Examiner

"It is very complex, with a woody base, a soft honeyed floral heart and just a bit of tingling citrus at the opening before the heart notes begin to emerge. The solid version is quite dfferent from the liquid, for the citrus is very muted and the honeyed aspect comes to the forefront. The perfume is sweet but not sugary, bolstered as it is by the gorgeous dark wood in the base and the hint of smoke. It changes on the skin from moment to moment, mysterious and mesmerizing. The three chords have fused to become something of great beauty in this perfume. Its name is not a word, but the universal Peace sign." ~ Donna

Indie Perfumes

It seems very autumnal, ripe with spicy sweetness and calm, and reminds me of hay heated in the sun and honey and cinnamon on dark bread." ~Lucy

Memory and Desire

"Here's toRoxana Villa's Perfume for Peace, which is not only inspired by a good cause, it's a gorgeous fragrance that incorporates some of the elements of Roxana's natural perfumery that I most love: the euphoric citrus notes and spicy, vivid heart are tempered harmoniously by rich woods." ~Heather

and this comment left by heather's husband Jason:

I was lucky enough to try some of Ms. Villa's perfume for peace. It is a real treat and wears very warm on this man. It opens like an spicy, orange tea left to steep in a fresh-wood cup. The hyphen is important here because the wood notes have a leafy green quality I can't place and makes them very different from the smokier wood scents of other perfumes. The citrus notes do not sour or vanish, but instead settle into a pleasant corona. The whole of the scent remains vibrant and warm long after the edges of the spices have been trimmed and the woods aged and burnished. "

Perfume Shrine

"The perfume was orchestrated like a symphony with three complex chords of base, middle and top notes. Each chord contains up to seven different essences which come from all parts of the world and what I personally get is an earthy floriental (with a delectable neroli and possibly petit-grain with coriander/ginger opening? Roxana didn't specify but it's piquant!) on a smooth, smoky tobacco-vanillic woods aftertaste (sandalwood? and probably also rosewood in the middle?). It consolidates my faith in Roxana's woody blends and seems like a great, sweet fit for moving into the autumnal season." Helg

Scent Hive

"A gentle call to attention if you will. From this piquant, spicy citrus, emerge lovely florals and woods which was revealed to me as vintage Mysore sandalwood after I wore the fragrance for a few hours. Honestly, I would have guessed oud with its tangy yet dried woodiness. Smooth vanilla enhances the drydown, so if you like a honeyed, balsamic end to your fragrance, this Perfume for Peace might be one to consider." ~Trish

Perfume Smellin' Things

"...the opening is sparkly citrus (I think orange and lemon, but Roxana has not listed notes as of today the 18th, so I may fall flat on my face on this one..) cut with vanilla, and the drydown features some of the smoky woods she does so well." ~Tom

The Non-Blonde
"I liked it instantly, from the bright and spicy citrus opening that smells alive, happy and invigorating to the sumptuous drydown that is everything I love: Mysore sandalwood (vintage, the real thing), tobacco and vanilla bean. It's sweet, comforting and joyous." ~Gaia

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Polestar Jewelry Winner!

Wow, we had an amazing number of entries for the Polestar Jewelry Giveaway! Thank you so very much to Jennifer for joining us. The number of individuals who migrated to this blog is a great testament to the beauty of her work. Much gratitude also goes out to all of you who tweeted this giveaway.

Now....drrrrrrrrum roll please...the winner of the Polestar Jewelry Giveaway is...the King of Clubs from the Red deck. That card was assigned to one of TICKLEWORM tweets that won her the necklace. Rachel, aka Tickleworms favorite necklace from Polestar's shop on Etsy is the Mocha Necklace pictured above.

Congrats Rachel, enjoy the Glowing Lunar Light Necklace!!!

Dancing with Mabon

"A tree of apples–great its bounty!
Like a hostel, vast!
A pretty bush, thick as a fist, of tiny hazelnuts
A green mass of branches,
~ from Dillon, Early Irish Literature

In one of my most cherished books of herbal lore the Autumn Equinox is referred to as Meán Fómhair. I was looking at the index of the book thinking that it would be under the term Mabon.
The reason for this is that my book is specific to Druidic herbal lore and the words Meán Fómhair come from the Druids. Meán Fómhair is one of the eight Celtic holidays in the season wheel, referred to as sabbats.

Whatever words we put to the day, whether Autumn Equinox, Mabon or Meán Fómhair it is a time to deeply breath in this sacred moment as we begin our preparations for the impending darkness of the seasonal year.

By traditional Celtic standards this second harvest festival actually began at sunset yesterday and will end at sunset in the morrow. This creates a three day window to acknowledge the bounty that is produced by the light and warmth of the sun.

Ancient symbols and rituals for this day include:
  • The cornucopia, symbol of the wealth of the season and also symbolizes both the male (phallic) and female (receptive).
  • Death of the Sun god as he retreats into his seasonal sleep.
  • Equinimity of the day and night, which inturn refers to male and female.
  • Color associations are: deep dark reds, yellow and brown.

The word Equinox comes from the latin meaning equal nights. Today the period of daylight is in equal balance to the darkness of the night. As the day and night come into balance, this symbol can also translate into the balance between the male and female aspects as well as the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

I've seen references where the Green Man is also honored on this day. The Green Man represents the spirit of the forest. We pay tribute to the Green Man by acknowledging the trees that dwell in our midst. Here in the Santa Monica Mountains I have been witnessing acorns on the ground from the bounty of the native oaks. Make offerings to our mighty tree friends who so graciously offer us their fruits, shade and wood for our survival. Honor them by becoming conscious of their presence. In our daily, electronic infused busy lives we often forget these mighty dwellers. Infuse them with your love first by stepping into the present moment and acknowledging their presence. We are in the Celtic lunar tree phase of the Vine at the moment, specifically grape. In times of old gifts such as wine and cider were presented to the spirit of the trees and forest as

This is a time to learn and repair those things will facilitate light during the upcoming period of dark as we move toward the fire festival of Samhain. Thanks to a phone call by Beth a few days where she shared her story of an owl telling her to "remember", I too was stirred to remember.
My reminder came in several little events culminating while I wrote about the trees in this post.
Today and this next phase is a great time to journey within. As the ancient Greek inscription perscribes us to "Know Thyself", γνῶθι σεαυτόν gnōthi seauton. The energies are ripe for taking that journey to the core of our essential nature.

Autumn Equinox, Mabon or Meán Fómhair Botanical Perfume

To facilitate the journey to the territory of your own Sibyl consider these herbs and essential oils to accompany the journey. Some of these can be be infused or tinctured to then create your own special potion for the Autumn Equinox.

  • Acorn or Oak, Quercus: Here in California the native Chumush people gathered acorns, leeched them and then ground them into flour. Acorn flour is readily available at specialty markets in the Los Angeles area and probably where Oaks are native. The energetic imprint of the acrorn is fertility in all her guises.
  • Benzoin, Styrax benzoin or Styrax tonkinensis: Resin from a tree native to Asia. The resin can be easily purchased for tincturing and infusing. The bits can be put into a medicine pouch along with acorns and carried with you. Benzoin is also referred to as "Gum Benjamin" a classic resin utilized for preparing Incense. The resinoid or essential oil has a sweet, balsamic aroma with Vanilla. A few on my books reference the magical uses of Benzoin to be connected with purification and attraction. For aromatherapy purposes I suggest diffusing Benzoin in an aromatherapy burner or using in steam inhalations.
  • Marigold, Calendula officinalis: Flower heads and petals can be used dried as well as infused and tinctured. Marigold as an essence for botanical perfume exists as a C02 extract. There are some that refer to Marigold as Tagetes: Tagetes bipinata, Tagetes glandulifera or Tagetes minuta, which are available as essential oils and absolutes. I have seen Marigold flowers connected with manifestation.
A few others to consider are:
  • Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha
  • Rose, Rosa
  • Sage, Salvia offincinalis
I would also include apples and honey in the list above.
  • Apple: A few years ago I was able to obtain some Apple Blossom Absolute to use in the creations of botanical, natural perfumes. I have not seen the material recently. There are plenty of raw materials in the perfumes palette the can assist in creating an impression of apple, those include many of the fruity essences, most especially Roman chamomile essential oil.
  • Honey: Both honey and beeswax absolute are available to the natural perfumer. Some have tinctured honey to use in perfume, while others have tinctured comb, propolis and other materia from the hive. One also has beeswax as a component to solid perfume, slaves or lotion.
This list above are just a few suggestions on how YOU can make your own potion, most importantly follow your own intuition guides and mindfulness on what to use.

Natural perfumes from Roxana Illuminated Perfume that are appropriate for anointing oneself today and/or utilizing as your scent of the day:
  • Q liquid and solid, devoted to the Coastal Live Oak
  • Sierra liquid and solid, devoted to the Conifers, the solid has fruity elements and a prosperity accord which was created using magical principals.
  • The perfume devoted to Peace liquid or solid
  • Rosa liquid perfume
All of these contain one or more of the elements listed above.

HAPPY Autumn Equinox, Mabon or Meán Fómhair to you.
Birthday Blessings to my father who turns 83 and my dear friend Susan.

"Blessings" by
Greg Spalenka ©Greg Spalenka
Brain on parchment by Roxana Villa. Old engraving of a Brain which I have utilizing in photoshop. ©Roxana Villa
Q illumination by
Greg Spalenka for Roxana Illuminated Perfume. ©Greg Spalenka & Roxana Villa
Photo of Know Yourself Inscription is from GreeceTaxi

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Impressions of Peace

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
~ Maya Angelou

The sphere is vibrating with threads of serenity today on the International Day of Peace. Aligned in a harmony of peace, a merry band of bloggers has joined together to share thoughts and impressions of Peace and the new botanical perfume devoted to Peace. At the bottom of this post please follow the links to each of the blogs participating.

{ The Nature of Peace }

The perfume devoted to Peace does not go by a name but the modern symbol for peace that became part of popular culture in the sixties. Iconic images are created when they become a mass sensation, this particular revolutionary decade produced a wealth of imagery which has become forever emblazoned in the minds. Besides the little circular image with the upside down Y-like letter we also have two fingers of the hand in a V-like mudra that also conveys the same message. It was certainly a very creative time to be on spaceship planet earth.

At a cocktail party in the Hollywood Hills the a couple weekends ago, the hostess asked me how things were going with my perfumes. I shared that I had a new perfume inspired by Peace about to be released. The handsome fellow standing next to her chuckles and asks, "Will it have marijuana in it?" I answered, "No, put we do have an essential oils of hemp." From there the conversation traversed into the current news worthy topic of marijuana. I suppose if the idea had occurred to me earlier I could have woven some of the more herbaceous notes with the hemp for the peace perfume, but, then we would have Vera!

Let's back track a bit, the new fragrance came into being out of an intent to help a friend manifest his vision of an annual worldwide telecast concert of Superstar musicians performing Sacred Music from the most mystical concert venues on the planet: Egypt's Great Pyramids, England’s Stonehenge, Australia's Ayers Rock, Peru's Inca Pyramids, Japan's Mount Fuji, and California's Mount Shasta. His vision has not yet been realized. I intend that this perfume will facilitate the birth of this glorious idea, just as the perfume Q facilitates manifesting consciousness for the California coastal live oaks.

My husband, Greg, dived into the project first by creating an image for the campaign. He collaborated with Tibetan master Romio Shrestha to create a stunning image that is reminscent of the sixties era yet still modern. Since this was to be the illumination for the new perfume we selected the a shade of burgundy from my color palette which was also in Greg's image the image. Purple was the other possibility but I have two other fragrances with that color resonance already in the line, thus burgundy.

As I contemplated creating this perfume my first thoughts went to the essences from my studies in Aromatherapy which evoked a sense of peace. The first ones to come to mind were:
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Citrus essences like Bergamot, Orange, Tangerine and Neroli
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
Basically ALL clinical essential oils in some way promote a feeling of serenity by there very nature. Essential oils are concentrated, potent, plant energies that aid relaxation and stress relief. Thus, any perfume composed primarily of clinical grade essential oils will have an affect of peace, unless the individual has a negative scent association with a specific essence or a shadow aspect that needs resolving.

From there I began to explore the terrain of Incense. The word perfume comes from the latin, per “through” and fumus “smoke”, thus “through smoke." Aromatic, sweet smelling smoke is a religious and spiritual practice used as a means to transport our intent to the heavens. This idea felt good. I have done quite a bit with incense and smoke in my perfume line, I knew it would need to transcend what I had done in the past. I also knew I wanted to add one or all three of the Lotus essences available because Greg's image featured a Goddess sitting on a Lotus.

At a fund raiser for Project Peace on Earth I introduced the idea to a large group and had them give me feedback on about ten different essences including:
  • Champa
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • White Lotus

The essences that seemed to get the biggest response were Champa, Sandalwood, Neroli and White Lotus. Thus, I placed each of those into my minds cauldron and meditated on how to orchestrate the perfume. Many of the essences utilized are exotic and precious. The cost of raw materials for a natural botanical perfumer are exorbitant. Mindfulness is required when working with some of these divas to coax them into a harmonic resonance.

Botanical perfume is a necessary luxury. By supporting botanical perfume one then supports organic agriculture and small independent labor all over the planet. True botanical perfumery cannot be a mass market, inexpensive commodity. This is due to the cost of the raw materials combined with the skills of farmers, distillers and the artisans who then craft the final elixir. The main benefit is that the individual who decides to support botanical perfume is then supporting a host of fabulous, interconnected industries like organic farming, bee keeping, handmade, indie business, and the arts. Each of these represent part of ancient systems that are important to foster and continue to cultivate. Botanical perfume brings together the old with the new in such a way that supports the whole.

With the concept of the concert in mind, I orchestrated the fragrance like a symphony with three complex chords of base, middle and top notes. Each chord contains up to seven different notes. The top chord features Neroli with supporting citruses and a few spice notes. The middle chord is the most complex with over thirteen individual essences featuring Champa supported by both White and Blue Lotus. The base is a very rich, earthy chord with Tobacco and Vanilla. There are over thirty pure, plant essences combined in organic, food grade, grape and grain alcohol in the liquid perfume extract.

In keeping with the vision of Project Peace on Earth the perfume contains essences from each continent, including locations close to the sacred sites for the performances. Greg is working with me on a pictorial image that will illustrate this concept.

A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the 7 gram flacon and solid perfume compact support Project Peace of Earth

The perfume is also available as a solid perfume unguent, as well as pure, botanical liquid perfume extract in a variety of sizes, all available at my shop at Illuminated Perfume at Etsy.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
~ Jimi Hendrix

I am giving away one .25 gram sample of the liquid perfume and one solid mini sample. Please leave a comment here on at the journal to be entered. If you prefer the liquid over the solid or vice versa please let me know.

"Peace begins with a smile." ~ Mother Teresa

Please migrate over to all the writers who have contributed to this vibrating web of peace today. Each one of them have a very distinctive and beautiful voice. I am brought to my knees in gratitude for the opportunity to weave this magic web with every single one of them.

The PEACE Blog-o-rama

Bitter Grace Notes: Maria
Bitter Grace Notes: Ida
Examiner, Cleveland: Beth
Examiner, Portland: Donna
Indie Perfume
Memory and Desire
Perfume Shrine
Perfume Smellin' Things
Scent Hive
The Non-Blonde

To be entered in the Peace perfume draw please leave a comment on this by October 1st indicating that you are entering the giveaway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photographing Peace

Here are the first batch of photos of the perfume inspired by Project Peace on Earth.
We chose a burgundy tone for her color resonance.

The liquid perfume is contained in a French glass flacon
filled with 7 grams of pure extract of this heavenly elixir.
The secure Penny shaped top is also an applicator.
The botanical perfume is created using organic essences derived from essential oils,
absolutes and C02 extractions in a base of beverage grade organic grain and grape alcohol.

The 7 gram liquid perfume extract with her burgundy pouch.
The ends of the pouch mimics the lotus flower in the illustrated image by Greg Spalenka.
We chose the copper peace sign for the charm.

The solid natural perfume comes in an antique finish metal compact contained in a burgundy hand crocheted pouch with the cooper peace charm. I pour our solid perfumes into a separate container with the metal compact to ensure lasting performance so that the vintage gets better with age and does not adversely react with the metal.

The solid natural perfume mini sample

I'm missing the photos of the 1 gram vials, I will add those shortly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Artist Feature and Giveaway: PoleStar Jewelry

Ah Autumn and her dance of vibrant color where as Albert Camus says, "...every leaf is a flower." The Etsy Artist feature has returned from her summer rest. On this day I bring you a cherished individual who I have gotten to know through her daily tweets on Twitter. I am continually astounded on the internets ability to connect individuals. I bring you a friend, a mother and an extra-ordinary cultural creative Jennifer Cogwill of PoleStar Jewelry.

The two pictures above illustrate the beauty filled adornments Jennifer so skillfully creates. In the very wide Universe of the Etsy "jewelry" marketplace Jen has garnered herself over 1255 sales since joining in September 2008. Part of the mastery of her skill set is expertly crafted items, well photographed products, excellent customer service and great marketing skills which include both Facebook and Twitter.

Personally, I can vouch for all of the above. I own a pair of the Peloponnese, Peridot Onion Earrings which are absolutely divine. Jennifer is one of those individuals that embodies all aspects of the feminine. By looking at the artistry she creates it is quite obvious she is very skilled as a jewelry artist. Her wit and cleverness is seen best on her Twitter feed. Check it out, you will see what I mean, in fact I suggest following her. As a fellow member of the tribe of mothers, wives and online seller, her tweats have me chuckling quite often.

I first came across Jennifer through a series of auspicious events. It began with a "Bee" themed treasury I created on Etsy. In that particular treasury I included a pair of little honeybee earrings of another seller on Etsy which eventually led me to PoleStar on Twitter. One never quite knows what road the Universe may lead you, just remember to always follow your own guiding principal, your polestar, your heart.

Here are a few questions I asked Jennifer so that we could get to know her just a little more:

1.) What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?

I suppose walking in the woods and being around nature is the most inspiring to me. We live in front of a protected wetlands area and I try to get back there fairly regularly. I really feel an energy from a natural environment and I feel revitalized after spending any time in a forest setting. I used to live in a very forested area where I graduated from college and to this day if I need to calm myself I close my eyes and imagine myself in the little clearing where I lived, the soft sounds of the breeze and the soft buzz of insects, the warm dappled sunlight. I am very homesick for it!

2.) What is your favorite scent from the natural world?

When my parents lived in Hawaii for a few years I visited a few times and the air was always so fragrant from flowers, it was like living in paradise. I also have fond memories associated with a relative's house on a lake, the woods behind her house backed right up to a lake and there was a shady area with a mossy carpet you could lay on and throw Cheerios to the fish. I loved the earthy smell of the lake and the moss.

3.) If you were Queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom?

My wish would be that we could all work together to sustain each other, so we could all flourish.

4.) How did you find yourself creating jewelry?

I have made little things all through my childhood and up through high school, beaded necklaces, etc. I thought I would get more serious about it one day, bought some books and started making things and decided to start selling.

5) As a work at home mom of two young boys what tips can you give other work at home moms?

I could probably talk for an hour about this subject. My first advice would be to not forget your marriage partnership, whatever that entails in your own relationship. Try to get as much done while your children are napping or in school. I devote the first half of every day my kids are home to getting out of the house and doing something with them, whether that is taking them to see friends, to run errands or go to a park. I cannot make jewelry when my kids are awake, they would be entirely too curious and it would lead to conflict for all of us, so I only make jewelry at night. I do the marketing, administrative, photography, listing when my toddler is napping or we are having a siesta time where my two boys (4.5 and 2.5 years old) relax and play quietly. You may feel guilty at times, but try not to. Chances are, 200 years ago, you would have been working in a farm field with your children at your side. Work is part of the human experience, it is only a modern ideal that women can stay home and devote ALL their time with their children. Most households need two incomes, and if you want to stay at home with your kids and can maintain a work at home job as well, you will find it very rewarding.

Thank you so much dear Jennifer!

NOW...the Giveaway!

For the giveaway Jen has graciously selected the stunning necklace pictured above titled Glowing Lunar Light Necklace. At her PoleStar Jewelry shop she describes this beauty as:

AA Grade fire blue Rainbow Moonstone faceted briolette is wire wrapped in oxidized and polished sterling silver and suspended on an oxidized and polished sterling silver chain at 18 inches (45.5cm) with a lobster trigger clasp.

The Moonstone briolette reminds me of a full glowing moon on a clear night.

Moonstone briolette is 10mm x 10mm
Gem has a natural tiny black mineral deposit which you can see on the photos.

Here's how to enter:
1. Begin by leaving a comment on this post mentioning your favorite item on Jennifers shop on Etsy, PoleStar Jewelry. You may only enter once and you must include your first name -and- etsy username or email address with each entry or it will not be included.

For additional entries you can do the following and post in the comments to let me know:
(2 extra) Twitter this Giveaway and supply your twitter name. You may do this every day, each tweat counts as another entry if you submit them individually.
(2 extra) Become a fan of PoleStarJewelry on Facebook, (if you already are a fan of PoleStar on Facebook, just let me know)
(2 extra) Purchase an item of $25 or more from PoleStar Jewelry shop during this Giveaway.
(1 extra) Follow my blog (if you already follow, just let me know)
If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the "let me know part" right?

If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the let me know part right?

More fine print, learned along the way
1. If we cannot contact you we will give your prize away to someone else.
2. The featured seller will do their very best to mail the winners package in a timely manner, please contact them directly if you have any questions.
3. Each entry is assigned a card from several decks here at the house, I then shuffle all the cards and have someone handy (like my daughter or husband) choose a card for the winner and a runner up.
4. If you have won the Artist Feature and Giveaway in the past you may enter again.
5. Please don't make up any new guidelines, what is outlined above is what we follow.

The giveaway ends Sunday, September 20th at 1opm PST with the winner announced on Tuesday (The Autumn Equinox) on September 22nd. Please help us get the word out.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Here at the little woodland house of creativity Autumn has made her appearance. Formerly she will reach her mark next Tuesday for Mabon/ The Fall Equinox.

We notice the arrival of the new temperate season of Harvest by the acorns that appear under the California Live Oaks. The weather is still warm most of the time but we have gotten out our sweaters and are not running the air conditioning system. Quite the opposite on the other side of the equator in the Southern hemisphere where Spring is arriving.

Eve has started school again, so the languid energetics of summer have been replaced by more rhythmic systems, at least for Eve and I. Greg, for the most part, remains in his own more languid universe of right brain flow.

The perfume devoted to Peace will release September 21st, this coming Moon-day, which is the International Day of Peace and also coincides with the Equinox the following day. As you may have noticed I have been trending toward releasing my botanical perfumes on significant pagan events like High Celtic Holy days or an analogous association like significant Lunar activity. Although I was brought up Catholic, I am most comfortable unbounded by religious dogma and veer toward more pagan, wiccan and eastern thought patterns.

I have been wearing the new perfume and testing it on family members for the last few days. To my nose, it feels very appropriate for moving into this new season. The overall impression is earthy floral notes layered over warm spicy balsamics with a touch of fruit.

Images: Painting above by Pre Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais , small icon of Peace charm

Monday, September 14, 2009

Feed the Soul

"When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be,
he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self expressing creature."
~ Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Have you fed your creative soul lately? Perhaps the first question is, do you know what your creative soul yearns for or thrives on?

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
~ Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)

What are you looking at most of the time, what imagery fills your visual terrain? Is it uplifting? When I was in high school I use to cut pictures out of my favorite fashion magazines and put them into sketchbooks for inspiration. I also had a bulletin board in my bedroom where I'd do the same thing. During my four year term at Otis Art Institute I met the designer Marilyn Neuhart who had a glorious board in her cubicle of her company design office. She inspired me to go even bigger with my board and incorporate more than just pictures from magazines. Later I married Marilyn's son, Ben, providing the luxury of being inspired by the whole Neuhart family on a regular basis.

Thus my journey into the land of inspiration boards was born. An inspiration board is visual eye candy that is profound enough to uplift your spirit to an altered state. Music, beautiful aroma and or something delicious have a similar affect. In fact you could even put together a little sensorium of delights every now and then.

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
~ Maya Angelou

First you will need to enter the Temple of the Oracle and get in touch with what actually feeds your soul. You may discover this just by looking through pictures in a magazine and cutting them out. The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is an excellent tool and can easily be gotten at the library if finances are a challenge.

One of the many gems I learned from the artist way is the artist date. For my artist date I normally get out of my art / botanical perfume studio and visit one of my favorite spots, like Anthrolpologie for example. The visual stimulation in Anthropologie gets my juices flowing every single time. Beauty filled website have a similar affect, but, it' best to get out of the cyber space and experience the tactile world. There are other stores and things that do the same thing, like Bountiful in Venice Beach California or traveling.

To begin your board:

1. Select where the board will go and measure the space.

2. Decide how you will construct your board. Will it be a simple bulletin board or a piece of celotex (called homosote on the East coast) or cork board? Bulletin boards are easily available at your local art or office supply stores. I find celotex at hardware and building supply stores, which probably also carry cork board. My husband uses foam core. I prefer to use celotex because I can buy it in big sheets to cover an entire wall.

3. Decide if you will want to paint or cover the board with material or even put a frame or moulding around the edges. I have also seen some really pretty ones on Martha Stewart where ribbon is utilized.

4. Once the terrain is ready you can begin putting in your seedlings. The seedlings can be images from magazines, photographs, art postcards, quotes, pieces of fabric, charms, etc. As long as these seedlings will bear the fruit of inspiration within you then anything goes! I use pins and thumb tacks placed on the side of the object, whether its a postcard, fortune from a cookie or a treasure from an antique store. See example below.

There is a group on Flickr devoted to Inspiration Boards where you can see some examples of what other creatives are doing. You can also post your boards there as well.

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."

~ Mark Twain

Images ©RoxanaVilla, first two photos were taken at Anthropology in Manhatten Beach, all the other photos are of my current inspiration board.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bee Here Now

“To be or not to be isn't the question. The question is how to prolong being.”
~ Tom Robbins

The Moon is new in Taurus and the season is shifting from the warmth and languid energetic of the Summer to the active, Firelight dynamism of the Autumn. In the spirit of this Taurus Moon I have contacted a few of my perfume blogging friends to cross pollinate ideas on Bees, Honey and Perfume. At the bottom of this post please follow the links to five other worker bees who create immortal honey with their golden words.

My obsession with the bees began in art school through beautiful engravings found in books published by Dover and Thames & Hudson. There was a magic to the iconic image that sang sweet songs to my art spirit.

In May, possibly 2004, Greg and I were at our yearly attendance of the Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum in downtown Los Angeles. While strolling the aisles and drooling over glorious bugs resembling little cars and African masks Greg stopped at a booth and made a purchase. It was a gift to me, in the form of a book titled Love in the Garden by Jean-Pierre Otte. The first of several short stories is an enchanting tale of a little velvet corseted bumblebee in The Astonishing Deception of the Bee Orchid. After reading this eight page poetical fancy I was quite keen on using the Bee as part of my branding.

The symbolism of the the divine honeybee originates from their ability to work as an individual and within a team to create an intoxicating elixir from the sweet aroma of flowers. An indie, niche botanical perfumer is very much like a honeybee, dependent on flowering plants to create their luxurious potions. In sacred texts throughout the East the little flying insect symbolizes the quest for the divine. Often we see the bee associated with royalty. In fact the Fleur de Lis stems from the image of a honey bee.

In the palette of the natural, botanical perfume artist we find the absolutes of Beeswax and Honey coming from France. Predominantly it is the golden yellow, solid buttery beeswax absolute, termed Absolue Cire d’Abeille in French, that is utilized for the creation of natural perfume. The beautiful substance has notes of sweet hay combined with the warm waxy body note of beeswax. Like honey, the odor of beeswax absolute will depend on the terrain from whence it is derived. The natural perfumer also utilizes the pure beeswax for the creation of solid perfume, creams and body butters.

Since visiting friends with bees in Ojai and Carpentaria I have been yearning to care and tend a hive of bees. It was an article in the LA Times Magazine that led me to a Los Angeleno named Kirk, who facilitates others in caring for bees in a holistic manner. Curious and determined to manifest my dream I attended a local meeting of his group the Backward Beekeepers. This group has a blog, yahoo group and gets together once a month to share their stories and techniques on tending bees in a chemical free manner. Upstairs in the Studio City home of one of the members Kirk started the meeting by stating that the goal of the Backward Beekeepers was very simply "To change the world." My kind of guy! So now I have two new heroes, both deeply connected with organic agriculture, Kirk and Farmer John (John Peterson).

Kirk explained that the bee's problem, like most of nature, is man. There is quite a bit of misinformation being circulated in the media about the bees. One would think that since bees are critical to our diet and environment, conscious mass action would occur. Like stopping the use of all herbicides, fungicides and pesticides for example. Since this is currently not the case I will do what I can in my little microcosm to affect the macrocosm. I invite you to do the same.

Our global hive needs some tending so that we may all evolve to, as Tom Robbins in Jitterbug Perfume says, an illuminated state of floral consciousness.

“With an increased floral consciousness,
humans will begin to make full use of their
“light brain” and make more refined and sophisticated use of their “smell brain.”
The two are portentously linked.
In fact, they overlap to such an extent that they may be considered inseparable.”

~ Author Tom Robbins from Jitterbug Perfume

Please follow these links to the hives of my fellow worker bees:

Perfume Shrine
Scent Hive
The Non-Blonde
The Examiner: Cleveland
The Examiner: Portland


Bee Illustration ©Roxana Villa, was created first as a painting with the final image collaged together in the computer using Photoshop.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Illustrated Perfumer

The large drafting table in the studio is most often used for formulating perfume but its history is as a place of painting and drawing. The table was purchased at Flax in New York City in the eighties when I was working as a freelance illustrator for magazines and newspapers. For over twenty years it was my primary dwelling. Even when Eve was a little infant, I would place her on my table on a blanket and paint while she slept.

As illustration work dried up and I slowly made the shift from telling visual stories to scented tales, the table became utilized more and more for the work of botanical perfume. At some point in 2008 I actually moved all my paints into Greg's studio to "clear the space" for my perfume work.

I used the word Illuminated for Roxana Illuminated Perfume for a variety of reasons. Primarily because I adore illuminated manuscripts and see the connections between the two ancient crafts. I also like that the word illuminate means to "light up" or "make lucid" which is what I am doing by working with these light filled, vital plants as my ingredients. As we enter this new phase of floral consciousness in our evolution it makes sense to be inhaling essences derived from the plants themselves.

Each botanical perfume has an illumination to go along with the fragrance, most have been created by my husband Greg Spalenka or we have done in collaboration. A few months ago I decided I wanted to create an image of a bee that had a feel of those glorious images in the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta.

I thought I would do it in Photoshop, but, after discussing what i wanted to create with Ben, Greg and Eve it was decided I would paint it. Thus, I moved all the perfume materials off the drafting table, brought in my box of paints and the brushes from the shelves onto the table and am painting!

Feels really nice.

Friday, September 4, 2009

{ bountiful } part 2

I finally nabbed an Etsy Treasury West last night. I decided to title and curate this one with the theme of the day Bountiful. After both the wonder filled shop on Abbot Kinney and the blog post just prior to this one. The picks are inspired by my day in Venice with my daughter Eve.

{ bountiful }

Pink Door 8x10 Fine Art Photography by HoneyTree

Fine Art Print of a Painting by Nancy Tobin

Wee Bird on a Spool miniature sculpture by Humble Bea's

Mehndi inspired decorative cookies by Ryjoliean

The OH LA LA Original Vintage Frames up top by Timeless N Chic

Here is how the final piece looks, go over and have a look, click, leave a comment and support the handmade! This treasury will be live until Sunday, September 6th at 7:30am.