Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In contrast

The coloration here in the woodland has slowly been turning more and more golden. Hills that were once bright green with the vitality of Spring rains have shifted to golden yellow and ochre. The heat and solar influence has slowly saturated the landscape. In the hillsides of Los Angeles, pretty much the only place you'll find native flora, the one constant green is provided by the native oak, Quercus agrifolia and a few of shrubs like the Rhus species.

This palette is so very different from the photos being sent by Eve out in Vermont, where everything is really lush and green from ample amounts of water.

One of the invasive plants we have here which is a nemesis to our local oaks is Hedera helix, common ivy. In April of 2007 I created an ivy perfume as a collective project with a handful of other natural perfumers. At the time I named the perfume Hedera but did not release it.

Now, as I reach down to my roots with a variety of upcoming projects and products, I've chosen to start a new series following the Celtic Tree alphabet. Hedera will debut with the Ivy lunar cycle in September. More on this in the next few days, stay tuned for more details.

Opening illuminated © Greg Spalenka (I posed for that image.)
Chaparral solid perfume mini and Artemesia photo © Roxana Villa.
Vermont photos © Eve Neuhart
Ivy photos from Free Ivy Plant Pictures

Friday, August 26, 2011

A clover and one bee

Friend and colleague Jade Shutes has shared impressions of To Bee natural perfume over at her blog and is hosting a giveaway which is open to those all over the world.

Here is a sweet poem by Emily Dickenson, which in her life time foraging honey bees were thought to be males, not females. Thus, instead of the word his substitute her.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, -
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon
~ Emily Dickenson

Flowers of June by Sir Frank Dicksee British, I used this image because Jade was born on June 1st was given the birth name June.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beauty is an ecstasy

"A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world." ~ Leo Buscaglia

"Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all." ~ Maugham

These photos are of Rosa solid perfume in the compact format. The one pictured here was silver with a star pattern, this one belongs to my daughter Eve.


Here in the studio I've been working on a few perfumes. One will debut this Autumn, everything about it is a secret until the launch. The fragrance has been in development for a few years and is now finally resolved. There have been a few challenges, like certain raw materials being harder to obtain and more costly, but I've worked around those hurdles using some creativity.

The 2011 birthday perfume will be ready in just a jiffy, thanks for your patience, I think you all will enjoy what I've done. I've also got a new series in the works with a projected September launch for the first one. It is based on something I created about four years back and have eluded to it for awhile now. Others, like the solid version of Gracing the Dawn will be arriving shortly as well. So many new botanical delights for the nose to savor, stay tuned.

Images: Rosa solid ©RoxanaVilla, Jasmine painting by Albert Moore.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Empty Nest

Eve flew off this morning with her dad, leaving the nest empty, she is college bound to Vermont. I'm intending her flying wings will work, judging from the amount of elemental water present as she left for the airport, I'm a little concerned.

I remember leaving her crying and screaming bloody murder with her kindergarden teacher when she was a wee one. Of course, eventually she got use to it and found her tribe of friends. If she were an adventurous child I would be feeling a bit better, however, Eve is very sensitive and has never been one to want to venture far from the nest.

Her favorite natural perfume is Rosa solid, so I prepared a fresh tin for her compact. I took photos to share here on this post but them realized she took her card reader thus I cannot extract the photos from the card. (duh!) Thus, on the list of things to do today will include going to purchase my own card reader. I am, a bit melancholy today, gazing at a white page in a new chapter of life.

"Empty Nest" Image graciously loaned by Lucy Snowe, check out her gorgeous photography work here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Velvet Spell

This just in....

"This is what I have been looking for! Sophisticated artfully blended oils that make one swoon under their velvet spell. I am having so much fun trying out the perfumes in my sampler pack. Two I have made immediate decisions on, I just know that I will adore them forever! I am already yearning to buy a larger bottle of them...can't wait...perfume to die for!! I can't wait to see how other people react when I wear them ....ah the joy of it all!!"

Image: Roxana Villa ©2011 All rights reserved. Lyra perfume bottle in pouch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You say it's your birthday It's my birthday too, yeah!

On this day back in the early sixties, I was born in the capital of Argentina, the port city of Buenos Aires. It was a Monday, Marilyn Monroe had died of a supposed overdose a week prior and on that day Ringo Starr stepped in as drummer for the Beatles.

As I've done twice in past years a celebratory perfume is in the works, following the same path as Cimbalom (originally titled BB, for Birthday Balm) and Page 47. Since the jasmine sambac is blooming and happens to be in both prior fragrances I thought I'd follow suit and use an old formula which was never fully developed.

Back on August 16, 1997 I helped organize and attended a class facilitated by John Steele. We made two blends that day, one was an aromatherapy relaxing blend while the other a perfume oil. For the perfume John had us choose our essences from his stash to create a class floral blend with aphrodisiac and relaxing properties. Keep in mind this was an "aromatherapy" workshop.

I chose to work with Jasmine, Patchouli, Spikenard, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Nutmeg, Blood Orange, Mandarin and Gingergrass. The resulting blend was very pretty, however, I have been wanting to re-work it for years. Thus, fourteen years later today, I am back at the drawing board with these same raw materials and a much bigger palette to widen the scoop.

As a gift from me to you I will share a few samples of this first formula. To enter the giveaway please leave a comment telling me what main essences you would like to see included in this new fragrance or which you would choose for a celebratory birthday perfume. If you have any suggestions for a name please chime in, thank you!

Oh...and please remember you have a once a year birthday discount here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Honey, Honey

The To Bee natural perfume LookBook is coming along quite fabulously but it is in need of more imagery. Since this fragrance is so new, I don't quite have the plethora of illuminations as the other fragrances. Thus I'm taking advantage of Eve's camera, before it leaves with her to college in Vermont, and taking some photos of honey and honey comb.

To Bee liquid perfume flacon is now back in stock!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dark Molasses

The color of To Bee natural liquid perfume is like a rich, dark molasses. Master Gregorio, my husband, tells me this is a "bad" thing. Me personally I am not sure. Indeed, most main stream perfume is a typical golden yellow hue and it is what is expected in the industry. However, I do not feel that I am part of that world. I set myself apart, as an artist working with the worlds most glorious and vital palette, Mother Nature.

Inherently in the natural world we have many things that are dark. In the food industry there is heavily processed white flour and the more nutrient rich grain flours. We also have dark chocolate as well as white chocolate. Honey from a local beekeeper will vary depending on the flora available to the bees, buckwheat and some manuka honey is dark and full of flavor. There are different grades of maple syrup depending on their level of refining.

Refining, what an interesting The dictionary defines it as to remove impurities and make more fine. In modern culture however, we have redefined more fine as something that contains more nutrients and vitality. We noticed that the process of refining often leaves us with a product like Wonder Bread versus the whole grain, artisan crusty breads we seek today.

Even the solid version of the To Bee has a Delphian aura to the creamy ungent. Will that stop people from slathering it on their skin and enjoying the aroma? I think not, already proven by the praises heard across the world and repeat purchases.

I'll follow my gut on this one and not concern myself over the absence of obvious light in the appearance of the fragrance, in the end it's all about the juice anyway. By the way it is the clover absolute and some of the other viscous botanical essences in the potion that is producing the opaque brown umber tonality. Even after filtering the elixir remains mysterious and sunless, just the way the bees like the insides of their living quarters.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Flutter

Among the building blocks of the To Bee perfume are several botanical animalic components including notes from my own leather accord. The hive of the honey bee is very feral, alive with a musky undertone that imparts lusty mother earth.

As I read through the different reviews and comments from those who have experienced To Bee, I keep waiting for someone to mention this lusty, sexy component. Finally, late last night, a post by Margi in Australia references the sexual note. She has also done the review a little differently, almost like poetry. Please put on your wings and fly over to Perfume Pharmer to read the latest review of To Bee.

I am all out of the flacons of To Bee natural perfume at the moment, expect more next week. If you would like to pre-order a bottle send me an e-mail to roxana

Image: The Harvest Moon by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Daisy Chain

There's a new face in locket town, she sports a sweet daisy chain design with a warm antique brass finish. The oval pendant is the same size and shape as the Victorian design locket and mini compact. Like a tussie-mussie, this bouquet of natural perfume adorns the Goddess within and the ability to sniff and apply nature as desired. Perfect for travel, or when carrying a purse is not an option.

According to Wikipedia ...tussie-mussies include floral symbolism from the Language of Flowers, and therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient. Thus, you could give someone one of the little mini compacts or lockets with a perfumed message. Another idea is a selecting a gift with the persons birthday flowers. For example October 18th is rhodedendron, if you would like me to recreate a single note solid tin to fit inside one of the compacts or lockets just send me a note (roxana Obviously there are not botanical essences for all of them, however many do exist or could be recreated or made by infusing the plant material.

I've been working with a new jewelry designer to bring you some pretty styles with these new perfume lockets. Keep in eye out here and at the shop for them probably in a month or so.

One of the facets I love about these is that they are made here in the US. I try really hard to get all my supplies as local as possible. It's quite a challenge for a small indie business to avoid going overseas to China to get packaging, especially when one has to purchase in smaller quantities.

Often I feel like a frenetic version of those multi armed Hindu deities as I work on multiple projects while scouting for accessible, beautiful and ecological packaging.

Images: Ophelia by John William Waterhouse, locket and Cimbalom tin photos by Roxana Villa