Sunday, July 31, 2011

More To Bee Features

To add some brightness and cheer to this rather dismal rainy day here in the woodland I have two reviews of To Bee to share. The first is over at the Eyeliner on a Cat blog and the second is at Now Smell This. The latter includes a review of Aurora.

Enjoy, please add your comments if you feel inspired. My gratitude to Carrie and Jessica who both purchased items from the shop and then wrote their reviews. Let's support writers who support and honor indie natural perfume, hooray!!

Bee Prosperity image by Greg Spalenka

Friday, July 29, 2011

Narcotic and Enchanting

It's that time of year again when I discover a bounty of the sweetly scented flowers strewn along the concrete just under where the row of pots sit. The blossoms are of the jasmine sambac plants blooming in the big clay pots of our front porch. Little, waxy flowers burst open during evening perfuming the air with an enchanting, narcotic aroma, occasionally melding with the native sage.

There are three jasmines I use for creating natural perfume: Jasmin grandiflorum, Jasmin auriculatum and Jasmin sambac. Each one is beautiful and narcotic, adding different shades to a perfume. My introduction to Jasmin sambac took place in August 1997 (?). I had asked my friend and colleague John Steele if I could help organize a class led by him here in Los Angeles.

The class was orchestrated as a two day workshop in Malibu overlooking the ocean and titled "The transformational use of fragrance in Ancient Egypt and Amazonian Shamanism." This was right up my alley at the time as I was immersed in aromatherapy studies and an initiate with a Celtic shaman. It was while inhaling several transporting flower absolutes that I fell hard for jasmin sambac, as well as several other psychoactive flower essences.

On day two of the workshop we created a blend where I used the jasmin sambac as the main note. I've decided to find that formula and revisit it, perhaps with a new birthday perfume in line with Cimbalom and Page 47. Rather synchronistically the perfume created in Johns class was on my actual birthday way back then.

Since the jasmine flowers are blooming it means time to take photos and make more of the tincture and infusion. Thus, each day I start off with a few photos and then carefully placing the flowers into organic grape and organic jojoba oil. Once the flowers are spent I remove them, refreshing daily.

Photos ©RoxanaVilla

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Up Date

At this moment in time the sample sizes of To Bee in solid is out of stock with only one honey pot and two of the mini compacts left. More of this delectable natural perfume is in the works.

The opening photo of a sweat bee was taken by Eve today at the Descanso Gardens in Pasadena.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We've returned from the largest gathering for pop culture, and geeks, this side of the Atlantic. Although Comic Con has morphed into a totally different animal than the more art oriented, cool happening place of ten years ago, it's still fun. Best part is always seeing our friends from all over the world.

Cool couple at the booth across from us.

The Crescoptiscope.

Greg with fellow artist Robh Ruppel.

Batman returns with his little bat kids.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Everything is Illuminated with To Bee

Today I bring you tidings of To Bee reviews and giveaways. One is over at Scent Hive, the ultimate blog about natural perfume and beauty reviews, curated by the wise and intuitive Trish. The review dives into her impressions of the notes and accord orchestration within To Bee.

The second review comes via Perfume Smellin' Things, from the nose that knows. Donna dissects the perfume with razor sharp knowledge of modern aroma chems.

Enjoy the eloquent writing of these two illustrious noses, to whom I am very grateful. Find all the reviews about To Bee at this link, with more to come shortly.

As I sit here typing this post I look out the studio window and see the warrior girls zooming in and out of their five box high rise with the mighty oaks in background. Watching the bees is a mesmerizing experience, almost like entering a meditative state. A nice little break from the chaos of getting ready for Comic Con in San Diego. We depart on Wednesday, thus all orders received by Tuesday will likely be shipped out on Tuesday. Orders received afterward may not get shipped out until we return the week of July 25th.

Photo: Honey Jars from the Warrior Girls ©RoxanaVilla

Sunday, July 17, 2011

To Bee at Indie Perfumes

" oriental style of honey..." read more of Lucys beautiful words about To Bee over at her Indie Perfumes blog.

"The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee—a clover, any time to him, is aristocracy"
~ Emily Dickinson

New in the shop To Bee natural perfume mini compact.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Lately I've been wearing multiple hats while in the studios. Today I donned the photographers chapeau while shooting and editing pics of the solid natural perfume mini compacts. Here are a few of the fruits of my labors.


Page 47



More to come shortly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Solid Natural Perfume Mini Compacts

The mini compacts with the antique Victorian diamond pattern filled with natural perfume arrived on Friday. I've just started photographing them and listing them in the E-shop. For the moment there are two listings depending on which fragrance you desire in the compact.

These are a great alternative to the larger compact while we wait for their arrival. I'm thinking these will make fabulous gifts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To Bee at Perfume Posse

Thanks to Patty, Tom has a little review and giveaway of the new To Bee over at Perfume Posse. Please head on over to enter for your chance to win. If you are one of the few who has received the fragrance and are inspired, please add your impressions to the comments at the Perfume Posse blog post.

"Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion; what's in a name?"
~ Helen Hunt Jackson

I've created a simple sampler which includes both the solid and the liquid To Bee natural botanical perfume.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Printed Matter

During art school I fell in love with print making, particularly letterpress. The fervor caught me quite off guard during a book making class offered as an elective. So hard did I fall for creating printed matter in this ancient technique that I purchased a Vandercook flat bed press with two other friends from art school, Rebecca and Beth.

The large, heavy press was delivered to my mothers home and housed in the back "pool" room which I was using as a studio while attending art school. We named that press "Pie in the Sky", it lived there for about a year or so until I moved to New York City and sold my share. Now it lives at Rebecca's home in Simi Valley and occasionally calls to me. It's like the Sirens call, a bit haunting and unsettling.

When I moved across the United States from LA to NYC I was intent on getting another press. One day I visited The Center for Book Arts on Broadway near Houston to see about renting time and their presses. That adventure led me to another Vandercook flat bed press which was first housed with some really wacky people in a loft in Tribeca. Eventually I had it moved to a basement studio of a brownstone on Perry Street in Greenwich Village.

Getting the press into the basement apartment was quite a feat and resulted in naming the press
"Permanent Press" because I had absolutely no idea how we would ever move it. Putting the press into the space had required a crane and the removal of the window, thus the adjective permanent.

Ben and his father, John, were big advocates of my printing obsession and seeking out fonts, engravings, cases, etc at print houses that were going out of business and during my trips to visit family in Argentina.

During those years in NYC I printed regularly, mostly for myself and occasionally for others. As an editorial illustrator at the time I knew many art directors and designers who drooled over my small edition printed pieces. The short run promo cards I did resulted in scoring numerous editorial assignments as well as garnering spotlights in Design books.

My prints were a combination of type and image. I used my lead and wood type in combination with engravings and my own illustrations as zinc cuts.

When I moved back across the US to LA I sold the letterpress to a designer in Williamsburg. I'm not sure if the press resides there anymore, I don't really want to know. It was a dumb move to sell it.

For the last decade and a half instead of making limited edition prints in a process that harkens back to another time I do the same thing but with plant materials. I still tell stories, I still work with my hands and I still love the aromas related with my craft.

I knew one day I would print again and saved all my equipment for that day. Well, that day is close now. This weekend Ben brought over two presses and all my old equipment. I am thrilled!
Wood type I bought in Argentina, old metal fonts from lower NYC along with type drawers, copper engravings, ink, composing sticks, lead, its all here in our studio garage.

The presses are small and different from my Vandercook flat bed but they will still suffice. One of them is a small flatbed hand press and the other is a beautiful platen press that looks very steam punk. Ben will be bringing over a flat file and old oak case to put the type in and do a bit more rearranging here in the studio before we can actually print.

Looking back now I can see a unifying thread drawing, painting, printing, natural perfume and bee keeping. It's all about fine hand craftmanship, creativity and illuminating the ancient arts of the past.

Images of presses, printed matter, type, etc all ©Roxana Villa

Monday, July 4, 2011


"We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic
not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls."
~Robert J. McCracken

We are celebrating freedom here in the wooded hills today with chicken and veggie shish kabobs made on the barbie, potato salad, green salad and berries for dessert.

The United States was founded on basic freedoms which have slowly but surely been getting whittled down. The biggest threat now isn't crazy dictators, but lack of consciousness and domination of the Corporate sector. The corporation is amassing huge amounts of power granted to them by our leaders.

"Freedom is the oxygen of the soul."
~Moshe Dayan

Each of us can wield our power against this mega monster by voting and making choices that support basic human rights and freedom.

Freedom to grow our own food from seeds, raise honey bees and use rainwater if we choose to.

Happy 4th of July!!

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
~Abraham Lincoln

The photo above is from July 4, 1922. Takoma Park, Maryland. "Fourth of July celebration." National Photo Company Collection glass negative via Shorpo.