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Germany Lunar Eclipse

 

It was worth it to stay up way late to see the blood moon lunar eclipse.  Wow, was it incredibly beautiful and quite magical to see the transformation from a luminous, golden disc to a deeply shadowed gem.  At the total eclipse it made me think very much of a deep crimson Mexican fire opal gemstone.  It also reminded me that I had not posted the winners of the fire opal 3 ml deluxe sprayer drawing.  My bad.  But not for long… here goes:

Congratulations goes to (drum roll, please):

* Joe

* StephenMC

* Devon H

Yay! :)  Please email me at dsh@dshperfumes.com to send me your address and claim your prize!  And thank you again to everyone who shared a comment about their happy smells.  I really loved it.

Have a wonderful day everybody!    ox

image credit: I found that moon shot here.

TonyMolyhandcream_orange

I was recently chatting with a dear friend and editor of a great perfume blog (Michelyn Camen of CaFleureBon) when in the course of our conversation she mentioned to me that in these challenging times (as they are for so, so many) we crave fragrances that are light of heart, pretty, loving, bright and joyful and just make us happy.  Yes, I thought.  She’s so right.  And I must have already been getting that message from the Universe too, because when I started considering the Spring launches for DSH Perfumes, I kept coming back to light, pretty florals… plus, the re-imagining of what I used to think of as a late Summer / early Autumn scent, Fire Opal.   I’m sure that many of you already know all about the incredible benefits of orange oil for uplifting the mind and spirit, alleviating depression symptoms and giving one a sense of joyous, youthful exuberance.  Like grapefruit, we associate oranges with happiness.  And I can tell you right now, this new Fire Opal makes *me* HAPPY.  Every time I sniff it (and I’ve taken to carrying a mini-sprayer of this in my pocket everyday), I smile and just want to huff it in one more time.  It’s kind of addicting.  Now, It’s not to say that I didn’t really like the older version, but there’s something about the green blast in the topmost notes that sends me right over the edge into bliss in a way that the first variation didn’t.  And really, there is something essentially Springtime about this scent… I have moved the calendar for Fire Opal and it’s back in its youth.

 

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In re-imagining a design, it’s not always about updating, but about a creative shift (although that is many times at the heart of the matter for large companies: to create a new audience of younger customers).  Redefining is what has been passing through me these past couple of years and I’ve found it very refreshing and renewing, creatively speaking.  For Fire Opal, I wanted to really focus on the sense of iridescence that a fire opal stone has.  It’s sometimes a bit milky in its translucence and refracts the light in brilliant, sparkling orange with hints of fiery red, but also at just the right angle a surprising hint of cool green.  That’s what I wanted to say with this new design: that ‘s still Orange and even fiery (spicy) in places but also there’s that surprise flash of green-ness which makes the overall effect juicy, bright, a little sappy and very happy.  Of course, I had to give it a dash of earth, since I was flying so high to the sun.  I didn’t want to have my wings singed.   So, there’s the oakmoss, to give the whole thing a sense of elegance and decorum…plus, that effervescence could be too fly away if I’m not careful and needs some grounding.

 

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What I’ve found is that the 2014 Fire Opal lifts me up, sails me away and then brings me softly down again, onto mossy earth still with little shimmering flecks of orange and green sparkling about.  It’s just what I needed and wanted.  Mmmmm: Happiness.

 

image credits:  fire opal gems here;  fire opal with green flash here; cute orange here

*** For three lucky readers, I would love to share some bliss: a 3 ml mini-sprayer of your own to carry in your pocket.  Just leave a comment about the scent(s) that speaks of happiness for you (it may be a perfume or not) and you will be entered into the drawing.  The drawing will be open until midnight : April 7, 2014.

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There are always new designs that I am working on.  I never seem to feel completely satisfied and ready to put my materials down for any extended length of time.  I realize that I have way, way more designs available on my website than any reasonable person should have from a business standpoint but it seems that the artist gets her way just about all of the time where that is concerned.  I just can’t help myself. { So be it }.

Right now in my studio I am creating my own “little Springtime” while it’s still officially winter on the calendar.  And since time matches on, faster and faster it seems, March 20th will be here before we know it.  (Woah, this week!!!!  :-D )

Some of the work that has really been on my mind is re-habing or re-thinking old designs or even old design names that I still love; to breathe new life into them.  I started doing a lot more of this inward gazing at some of my formulations last year and now I wonder if this is a form of art therapy for me… as a parallel to the sense of re-creating my work and creative life post baby and post trauma.  There is something to taking a work apart and shaping it anew.  Or maybe this is just what Spring does to me.

It’s interesting too, that many other makers, from the big players to niche artisans have also been re-vamping and re-launching their work as of late.  I seem to see it everywhere I look.   There’s new interest in older works or maybe the big makers are just looking for winners from the past to be remade for new audiences.  One might think that this shows a great lack of creativity but I don’t really think so.  I actually think that it can present a greater challenge to remake something great from an old design and not get stuck with what the former once was, but to transform it, while remaining true to some form of the original inspiration.  What I can say is that I have been enjoying this work of redesign, in perfumes at least, and I am trying to find joy (truth? goodness? authenticity?) in the other more personal work of “coming back” trough transformation.

So, here’s a sneak peak at some upcoming Spring delights.  These lovely flowers are among the first sensations of Springtime, once the snows have truly gone for another year.  They are the harbingers.  And I feel they are some of the most beloved of the Spring florals.

pink_peony_image

Peony is as classic a Spring scent as there is.  I have been creating and selling a relatively simple, straight forward peony perfume for my clients in Japan for the past 5 years or so.  It’s a very important flower to both the Japanese and Chinese as a symbol of health and prosperity and this “simplicity” is really quite approachable.  Plus,  I love fresh peonies when they blossom in my garden.  Their elegant presence speaks of utter beauty and femininity.

So, for this new Peony design I wanted to do more than just create the flower.  I wanted to give the wearer a sense of experience.  Peony starts at dawn with the dew still on the bud that hasn’t yet opened.  The deep green leaves of the plant and a bit of grass are present.  Then the peony opens and releases it’s delicate yet definite aroma and we experience the fullness of a fresh blossom.  As the perfume dries down it is dusk, and the peony has turned a bit more rose-like as the sun sets and a shadow covers the blossom as night falls.

white_lilac_image

White Lilac .   This *IS* one of the quintessential Spring aromas although not everyone has experienced white lilacs as opposed to the traditional light purple or even dark purple lilacs.  White lilacs tend to take on a more ethereal, dewy quality and even exhibit a subtle, sweet fruitiness in the first wafts.

A few years ago I started growing roses and lilacs specifically for research into the live plant scents as well as for their glorious aesthetics.  I have to admit that the white lilacs and the Persians are two of my most anticipated blooms.  I can never get enough of them and get just a little sad when they start to recede (even though that means Summer’s right around the corner here in Boulder).   To make a perfume based on these delicate flowers makes me really happy…I could get lost in this luscious but light, sweet lilac haze for sure.

fresh-oranges-and-grapefruits-from-the-debeche-garden2

Oranges.  Yes, it’s oranges.  Kind of the odd man out in terms of ‘getting into Spring flowers’ but there it is.  And these are fresh AND spiced.  No, it’s not a pomander (which is so Autumnal and looking toward the Holidays).  This is a new kind of Fire Opal.  It’s ORANGE; a bit fiery still but fresh, juicy and most of all lively.  Not that the older version wasn’t lovely and yes, lively, but I have wanted Fire Opal to be something more.  I guess I want to watch it blossom again.

The reworked Fire Opal is a fresher take; spiced and still tea – laced but with a whiff of warm earth and a noticeable green edge that the first version of Fire Opal didn’t have.  Strangely, it’s the whiff of warm earth that makes it all the more Spring to me. And the fresh juicy-ness mixed with green leaves.  It makes me feel elated and ready for adventure the same way that Springtime does.

Of course, there are even more Spring floral designs that I am still working on so I suspect that they will have to wait to bloom for another Spring.  Well, it’s great to have something to look forward to…right?    Happy Spring everybody!

** PS: We’re celebrating Spring with a SPRING SALE at the site .  Use coupon code bloom14 for 15% off through April 10.

image credit: I found the spring bike image here; peony image found here; white lilac image here; oranges image here

I’ve thought a lot about the concept of acceptance;  in the last couple of years especially.  It is easy, as you can imagine, to accept what is beautiful, sweet and glowing but not so much what is unruly, misshapen, dark, and even tragic.  And yet so much of life is made up of these ‘less than perfect’ experiences, things, people (ourselves)…and it is acceptance that makes happiness possible in this world.  I am still working on all manner of acceptance but doing the work involved brings me opportunities otherwise unavailable.

dragons-loyalty-award1

So, it is with many meanings in mind that I gratefully accept the privilege of the “Dragon’s Loyalty Award”.    I had never heard of it until Dan, from Apothecary’s Garden nominated me but I am very glad to know about it.  It feels very human and real to me after having read what Dan had to say about it:  “The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is self-explanatory, though there is loyalty given, loyalty received, there is also a loyalty one sees in others who are authentic, or genuine in their writing.  They maintain a loyalty to self.”  I don’t mean to imply that there is anything less than perfect about the award, but I do get the sense that loyalty and true authenticity come with all the beauty and the warts, together.  At this point, I am coming to accept and cherish that.

It has taken me a surprisingly long time to even figure out how to share this honor and I feel that I should start by mentioning that I have had very little time to read / enjoy blogs since getting pregnant and having a baby (two and a half years ago).  But before that *I did* have more free time to enjoy blogging and reading blogs and so these are my nominees to pass this award to (there won’t be nearly 15, I’m afraid , it’s more like 5 but you will surely notice a theme in the blogs I’ve read):

Ayala’s Smelly Blog:  Ayala Sander has always been an inspiration to many bloggers as well as aspiring Artisan Perfumers.  She shares her joy and her passion on her blog as well as incredible amounts of information.  Her Smelly Blog is always a joy to read.

The Clarimonde Project Blog / indie perfumes blog:  Lucy Raubertas brings an incredible amount of vision and otherworldly aesthetic to her blog indie perfumes and something that I can’t even explain, it’s so lovely, in her Clarimonde Project Blog.  Her dedication to art and artistry is unmatched and her sensibilities are a palpably gorgeous.

The Alembicated Genie: Doesn’t the name tell you something?  Sheila Eggenberger *is* a genie.  She conjures unique realms and universes with her words so beautifully crafted they make one swoon.  Her portrayals of what perfume can do and where it can take you are some of my favorite writings. period.  She is very passionate and tells it just like it is, but in the most graceful and gracious way.

Olfactoria’s Travels: Olfactoria (aka Birgit) has a wonderful perfume blog but even more what I love about it is how she has created a sense of community within the realm of the blogging / perfumista community.  I just love the sense of sharing the passion and love of great perfume and how it fits into our lives.  She’s just fabulous.

Perfumes in Progress: Laurie Erickson’s blog is a lovely insight into a fellow aromatic artist’s world, thoughts, creativity and journey.  She writes with great sincerity and shares so much of what the perfumer’s life is.  It’s always a pleasure to read and I have to thank her for being an inspiration for me to start my blog.  She gave me some wonderful advice when I was contemplating DSH Notebook back in 2010.  {A heartfelt thank you to Laurie!}

I send much love and blessings out to everyone in the blogosphere and again, with gratitude, accept and share the Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  oxox

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Hi!  to everyone who stopped by and entered the drawing for La Reine des Fleurs!  It’s been a rather crazy week but we did choose some names at random (my husband picked names out of a hat.  We rock it old school around here…) and here are the winners:

• Maddie C.

• Yash

• Kimberly Kennedy

Please email me at dsh@dshperfumes.com with your addresses, etc and I will send along the 3 ml La Reine des Fleurs EdP sprays to you.  I hope that you will love them!

happy weekend to everyone~~~  ox

image credit: rose image can be viewed here.

untitled #63 {part 3}

This is just a quick drop in to mention that the promised DIY versions of La Reine des Fleurs have been published at Denver Art Museum’s tumblr page.  Here is the link to it so you can check out the recipes and have some fun making perfume.

I also wanted to mention that the draw is still open (until February 25) so if you want to comment here or on the ‘part 2′ post to enter, feel free. La Reine des Fleurs is also up on the DSH Perfumes site (woo hoo!) as our first new launch of 2014.  I think that it’s going to be a very creative and exciting year.  I really hope so.

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Have a wonderful weekend and happy smelling~~~ oxox

ps: One of my students reminded me that the official first day of Spring is only 4 weeks away. :)  I’m REALLY excited for that and even if it’s still snowing in Colorado, my heart will be in the first blooms of the season.

queenofflowersimage

The Queen of Flowers by Svetlana Valueva

What an exhilarating evening it was on January 31 in Denver.  It wasn’t the snowstorm or the bitter cold but the hoards of people who flocked to Denver Art Museum to enjoy the first “Untitled” evening of the 2014 season.  And lucky, lucky me; I was there to share in the festivities and better still to present a new work of aroma-art commissioned by the museum for the event (Untitled #63: au naturel) that was a ‘translation in aromatic form’ of a painting in the museum’s permanent collection called “Young Girl with Flowers”, by Eugene Carriere.  This isn’t my first project with DAM but it may be the first time that I have been able to present a new work that has never been smelled before as well as to give a talk that is specific to my process as an artist (as opposed to presenting researched designs and speaking about the aromas from a more purely educational standpoint).  I have had the pleasure of doing this sort of thing at BMoCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) but this was my first at DAM and I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  It was right up my alley, as my grandmother used to say.  To invoke the historical content available in a visual work from the late 19th Century and to apply it to an aroma art translation allows me to delve into the concurrent themes in perfume history, materials in use, trends in art, culture and scent as well as to speak directly to the image and what it feels like to view it.  To bring all of this to play when designing is for me, instant love.  I can feel all of my senses engaged and it is like riding a delicious wave taking you to distant times and places.  I can feel myself there smelling the air and sensing the fabrics of the costumes and the bodies of the people around me (and what their skin emanates).  It is immersive and complete.

Young Girl with Flowers

Young Girl with Flowers by Eugene Carriere

When I first saw “Young Girl with Flowers” I knew that this would be my chosen subject for the perfume.  I have been asked many times how I come to find inspiration, or what makes me want to create perfumes and often I have answered that the name and scent come together or there is some sort of sensory stimulation that sends me down the rabbit hole in search of what the perfume story wishes to be.  With this perfume, the name came last.  I wanted to work purely from the image without a ‘product name’ potentially distracting me.

The image is striking, no?  It’s dramatic and rich, but playful and sweetly innocent.  I love this girl playing with flowers in her hair (with that shock of red, they would be roses.  Or maybe geraniums?  Let’s use both).  And that porcelain face so light and smooth.  Is she playing dress up?  Is she the Queen in her own heroic story?  Is she working out how to be a woman and how she wishes to be perceived?  There are many ways to come to this image and decide what it’s all about.  What came for me was to speak to the drama, the sense of light and dark as well as the playful innocence paired together with the woman she will ultimately become.   I made this perfume for her to wear.  She is the Queen of Flowers.

queenofflowers

this image perfectly evokes the rich texture of La Reine des Fleurs

Anyone who has studied perfume has come across the concept that “jasmine is the King of flowers and rose is the Queen”.   The image itself sets up the first impulse to make this perfume with a rose dominant heart.  And as geranium comes to mind as well (plus it has so much in common with the chemistry and aromatic signature of rose) it’s a natural pairing.  Now the 19th Century influence…yes, it must be a more classical construction and yes, it will contain mostly naturals as this would have been the norm for the time.  But, the dawning of synthetics had begun and this perfume must have a modern element.  There is youth mixed in this after all.  Peach…oh yes, that face speaks to me of peach, but a soft note; it can’t be a juicy, jolly rancher of peach.  Aldehyde c-14 can do that soft, fuzzy, creamy note that is that smiling face that comes out of the image and floats on top.  The base needs to be dark and rich.  The blackness is there and this says that the perfume must rise up and float at places and plunge into depths as it dries down.

What I chose is ultimately an oriental base (balsams, resins, vanilla and civet) but winks at chypre with just a little moss.  The effect is something that I personally adore: a rich, luxurious velvet of a dry down that is kept from being too sweet by the balsams and civet but keeps you coming back for one kiss after another with just the right amount of deliciousness.

mdno111

Rose perfumes are not usually my *thing* to wear for myself.  They don’t really smell good on me, with the exception of Rose Vert, which I love.  La Reine des Fleurs is the second exception.  It unfolds like the opening of the most sensuous flower and seems to last forever on my skin (until the next day).  I can’t stop smelling my arms when I am wearing it.  In fact it makes me feel like the heroic queen in my own story, too.

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In case you’re interested to read more about the perfumes that I created for DAM and the Passport to Paris exhibit, you can check out the interview I did for their blog.  I also created some pared down versions of La Reine des Fleurs with recipes that you can check out on their DIY tumblr.  There’s some great shots from the Untitled #63 to check out on flickr , too, in case you’d like to take a peek.

Lastly, I’d love to share by giving away three 3 ml deluxe spray samples of La Reine des Fleurs!  Please post a comment and tell me about your favorite roses, rose perfumes and/or 19th Century paintings to enter.  The draw will be open through February 25.   oxox

image credits: queen of flowers image by svetlana valueva found here; young girl with flowers image was generously allowed by Denver Art Museum.

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