Archive for September, 2010

Well… after the zigs and the zags about that September has afforded thus far, including the fourmile wildfire, I’m getting back on track.  I’ve completed the talk for DAM on Ancient Aromatics of Egypt, although I had wanted to introduce another new scent based on the “aromatics of the Nile” if you will, or aromatics that Egypt is famous for in a more modern sense.  I think that is still to come on my website — so I will have to keep everyone posed about that.  In the meantime,  I want to continue showing you the Quintessence: Multi-Sensory show here with some new images I took of the remaining paintings.

I am very excited about these little paintings that are all part of a triptych”series 3: earth • fire • sky” (although I’m showing them in reverse order).  It’s been several weeks now since the show has been hanging at Naropa and I feel a bit like I am looking at these pieces for the first time again, right now.  I still love the texture and luminescence of the pearl / silver pigment and paint.

series 3 • sky

I also love that as I continue painting with acrylic medium, I am more and more able to feel it like I used to feel oil painting when I worked with that.  Oils have such depth and richness but the hazmat issue still has me worried to use it while I paint in a home studio…even though E. and I both love the smell of oil paint, turps and linseed oil.   Maybe someday we’ll make a good ventilation system for that room and THEN… YES!  But for now I am happy that I m beginning to get what I’d like from acrylics.

series 3 • fire

These painting are only 8X8 inches… there’s a lot going on for such small canvases.  I do love the intimacy of these pieces, though.  This series didn’t have aroma sculpture created in conjunction with them; maybe that’s why they seem wildly silent to me.  Perhaps I will give them ‘voice’ for a future show.

series 3 • earth

I wasn’t able to get a shot of “Elemental Fire: Vermillion without the glare on the glass from the gallery lights but I did include a detail of the paint and markings.  Mmmmmm…yummy colors.  I want to eat a painting like that.

elemental fire: vermillion

detail: elemental fire:vermillion

mercurial nature

“Mercurial Nature” is sort  of another study in Viridian pigment.  The last one I did for my CHROMA series of scents had elements of blue, yellow and white involved; this one is darker (black) but in some ways more pure.  The gold pigment really glows more delicious-ness.  I actually used the Viridian aroma – color as a base for the scent that expresses this painting.  (I think I already mentioned this scent structure in the first post for Quintessence…)

I realize as I’m writing that there’s much more I want to tell you about this show and more images so there will be a third post about this show.  If you want to see more before I get to posting, I would love it if you would visit my new art webpage made at wix.com.  ( http://www.wix.com/dshartstudio/dawnspencerhurwitz ).  It’s not 100% finished (there are still some bugs I want to work out…) but I think it’s pretty good so far.  And hey, I just figured out how to insert a link on the blog so I’m still making strides on my learning curve. 🙂

Happy Friday! to everyone and I hope you have a wonderful weekend~

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It’s going to be a big day.  Tonight, I will give my talk on “Ancient Aromatics” at the Denver Art Museum, complete with Sampsuchinon oil and unguent as well as tons of raw materials (oils and herbs) and finished perfumes.  I’ve worked on the outline for my talk but I still have lots to do to edit it and focus my scope. *Commercial: for those of you who are in the Denver / Boulder area, call DAM for your ticket for the talk.  It starts at: 6:30 pm on the 2nd floor of the north building.  It’s always like this when a big project comes to a head.

Just to add to the overall hectic-ness is the ‘moving back in’ project, that is the aftermath of the fourmile fire scare from last week.  I am still grateful this is all that I have to do: clean, re-arrange and move a bunch of stuff back in, instead of making inventories of lost articles for the insurance.  It’s amazing how the Universe works.

mummy bottle - i still love this photo

Since I have to dash- for now, I am wishing you a fragrant and lovely day!

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Today, mercury goes direct. (YAY!)  For anyone who knows about the whole ‘mercury retrograde’ thing, this is what we have been waiting for: some relief from ‘weirdness’ and hopefully a return to normalcy in our day-to-day dealings.  I, for one, am glad to relax a bit and press the “re-set” button.  I hope that you are getting an opportunity to do some re-starting, too.

new dawn rose, june, 2010 ::: today is a beautiful new day

For now, I will just announce the winners of the DSH Rose Sampler drawing:


* KJanicki

* Lucy

* Kaki

* Dana

* Amy

Congratulations to the winners! 🙂  Please email me at dsh@dshperfumes.com and give me your mailing addresses and we’ll send these packs out this week!  Thank you everyone who entered and not to worry, we’ll have another soon!  (Maybe a Fall sampler…?)

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Yep, it’s my birthday.  And this title is more true than you know.  When I was a child I would invariably cry at the end of “Happy Birthday to You” sung to me.  Without fail.   I’m not sure why…since I really enjoy singing it for others.   To this day, if a group sings me ‘happy birthday’, I’ll cry.  (Individuals don’t seem to create the same effect, so if you want to call me up and sing me happy birthday on my voicemail, feel free.  I promise my phone won’t get soaked as I listen).

But on this exact birthday, I’m not crying.  I am so delighted that the studio is still safe and that I am here to enjoy another year.  I feel truly blessed: by my friends and family, my wonderful clients and the work I get to do.  Everything else falls away in the light of these simple and important facts.

On top of all that, I just confirmed it with “the Karens” that I will be presenting at the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball in October (23 + 24)!  YEAH!  What a fabulous birthday treat to plan a little NYC trip to see some long distance friends and family, meet new perfumistas and ‘play perfume’ for a whole weekend.  For anyone who has not gone to Sniffa, as we call it, you really must.  It’s such a blast and you will amaze yourself at just how much you can smell in one weekend.  I’ve never had the opening in my schedule to go to the Fall Ball before, only the Spring Fling (cute, huh?) so, I’m extra psyched to get to NYC in Autumn.  Having grown up in New York (downstate, mind you, not the City), it’s been EONS since I have been on ‘home turf’ at this time of year.  I can’t wait!!  The smell of leaves in the Park and the cool air…  perhaps even chestnuts roasting, but it might be a little early.

I guess this also means that I had better complete this perfume that I have been working on and only mentioned ever so briefly on twitter: a mushroom scent.  I’ve started a blog post about it already, so I think that I am going to hold off on the name and details for now.  It will give time to finish the draft and post it.  I’ll give a little hint though: it’s kind of a men’s scent, conceptually, but I feel it’s pretty universal; especially for the more daring women out there.  (Then again, I feel that all fragrances are universal…)  More to come. 🙂

mamma robin nest on my back door light

I hope that you all have a wonderful day and how ever you spend 911, my thoughts are with you.

ps: As I awoke this morning, I got an idea: I’m going to have a special “It’s my Birthday” sale at the site from today until next sunday (9.19.10).  15% off anything site wide – just use member code ‘birthday’ when you check out.  Tell your friends since we’re just going to post it on the blog, twitter and our fb page.  Fun.

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I awoke this morning to find out that the fire lines held – thanks to many water helicopter and slurry bomber pilots and the now 800 firemen up in the hills.  800!  from over 20 states.  WOW!  I am surely grateful that we made it through the night without embers sending the fire down into town and that as of today we have 30% containment.  I don’t want to speak too soon but we may be seeing some light.

On my way to the studio today I will be dropping off about 35 body washes and lotions to the evacuees shelter.  I think I’m also going to bring some aromatherapy oils to help people manage their stress and hopefully have a little ‘feel good’ in their lives as they get to rebuilding.  I know that we’re all  looking forward to getting back to ‘normal’.

blooming eglantine, june 2010

I’m also thinking today is a good day to do a give away : 6 Roses sampler sets.  Rose, the flower of love.  I’m feeling the love.  So, please leave a comment to be entered to win a DSH roses sampler set with a 1 ml vial of these scents:

* American Beauty

* Beach Roses

* La Rose Fleurette

* Rose Vert

* Umber: Bois de Rose

* Dirty Rose

* Arabian Rose

* Tea Rose

I wish you all luck in the draw and I hope you have a wonderful day!

ps: we’ll keep adding names to the draw until 12 o’clock on 9.11.10 and then we’ll pick the winners at high noon!

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Really,  I did.  E. and I had just come from taking the most important, non-replaceable items from the studio when we happened upon some ash-covered fireman that came all the way from Montrose (a good 7 hours away) to help fight the fourmile fire.  They seemed to take it in their stride; my accosting them with hugs and thanks and our many questions.

So, we are now officially in the “Be Prepared” area of Boulder, within the city limits.  Anyone west of Broadway and north of Spruce Street has been alerted that the winds could bring the fire down into town.  I am trying to be calm and keep a positive thought, as this is part of the ‘worst case scenario’ plan.  The fire would still have to come about 4 miles to reach us so it’s not that likely… but it’s still possible.   (Goodness, I just heard on the news that a gust was reported at 60 mph!)  I brought out all of my notebooks full of formulas, my most precious oils, art work and some products but after a few trips with our cars full, it was less than 5% of what we really have there.  Oh yes, I also made sure that all of my museum pieces came home for safe keeping.  If we get a call we are hoping we’ll have time to run up north for one more load of stuff but how do you smoosh nearly 20 years of collecting oils and making products into two cars?

Throughout the day we had helicopters flying overhead filled with water to dump on the surrounding areas.  Plus, I heard from someone who lives in the hills behind the studio that there were fire trucks lining up,  preparing for the fire that could come tonight should the wind carry an ember over the fireline.  (I found out today that an ember can travel while still live up to a half mile in high wind.  WOW.)

I know I have said this all week, but we just need to get through the night unscathed.  Who knows, hopefully the best case scenario will come to pass: instead of a spread toward town, the fire might be 40% contained.   Thank you to everyone who has been sending their love and energies for safety and peace.  It means so much. ❤

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I’d like to take it as a sign, this neon, almost-double rainbow that glowed over Boulder this evening after some much-needed rain.  The news for now is that there is a reprieve, as the two evacuations in the neighborhoods closest to the studio will be lifted starting at 10 am tomorrow.  This is great news.  There is a chance that we are indeed safe, but there is also a chance that the area will be evacuated again sometime tomorrow or the next day as the weather forecast isn’t favorable. We just have to hope.  I’ll take this rainbow as a symbol… something to keep ‘sight’ of in the coming days. Please wish us luck; that the fire will find some containment tomorrow and that those who lost so much will be able to start the healing process soon.

I’m wishing everyone a good night.

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It’s now the third day that a fire has burned with zero containment in the foothills right above Boulder.  It’s just as scary today as it was on Monday.  The weather is only partially cooperating as the winds died down yesterday but we had a pretty bad inversion layer develop in the morning which kept the slurry planes down until about noontime and there may be some rain today.  That brought back the winds and the direction is now eastward, toward Boulder.

this is the current fire line map - as of last night 9.7.10

I can’t begin to tell you of the heroic efforts of the firefighters… many of whom are volunteer and have been towing the line since Monday.  Plus, as you might have heard, 9 of them lost their homes while they were fighting to save someone else’s house.  The Governor came in yesterday to survey the carnage and declared it a State emergency so they’re finally getting more help; from up to 7 more States.  And boy, do they need it.

I have a friend, Eric Abramson, who is one of those volunteer heroes and is also an incredible photographer / film maker.  Here is a link to a youtube video taken by him from a vantage point that I can’t imagine is like anyone else’s.


Here are some other beautiful and bone chilling photos from Eric Abramson:


melted machinery

Selfishly, I can’t help having concern for the Essense Studio, which is, as of last night, still just outside of the evacuation area.  But if the fire moves east too much more, I will have to figure out what I will take.  I’m making a list as a precaution.  I will certainly be taking my formula books and my computers.  I also have about 1/3 of my perfume museum in the studio for cataloging; I’ll have to get that out as well.  Rare essential oils… what else?  This is really difficult stuff to think about and after doing this once before… arrgh.

melted aluminum running on the dirt

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I just had to write something about what’s a consuming fact for everyone in Boulder right now: the Four Mile Canyon wildfire that came screaming into existence at approximately 10 am this morning. (9.6.10).  I just knew that it was going to be, let’s just say, a less than stellar Holiday since:

1- I had been up all night (literally) with a party thrown by new neighbors who thought it would be fun to rage ’til all hours then to have a ukulele concert with ‘a screaming fan’ at 3:30 am.

2- My next door neighbor neglected to tell E. and I that he was having tree work done starting at 8 am, complete with saws and a wood chipper parked in front our bedroom.

So, we got up and made tea.  Sobeit: no sleep.  We had just settled into some breakfast when we smelled smoke and found out a wildfire had broken out in the hills.  Somehow my dreary sleeplessness was nothing to get upset over; nothing at all, as we heard of evacuations and saw an incredible plume of smoke rise over the city.

I won’t to go into the play by play of the drama of the day, but I can tell you that this is a scary experience.  Really frightening.  I am still concerned for so many friends who are fighting the fire and others who live in Gold Hill (a BEAUTIFUL, little old mining town that is practically an antique in and of itself) who have been evacuated.  I hope they have been able to save the town and all of the homes in the area.  My heart goes out to everyone contending with this.  It’s HUGE.

(** here is a photo from flickr taken by someone named Thad McDowell that shows the fire at night :http://www.flickr.com/photos/thadmcdowell/4966319291/in/set-72157624770008343/#/ ) – sorry I couldn’t figure out how to make a proper link or show the photo!

Even tonight, the fire is still burning and it’s heading north.  My studio is in North Boulder and although it is not really that close, it is stirring up in me the remembrance of another wildfire that burned the entire mountain behind my studio in 2003 and we did evacuate – all in one night- 80% of the studio.  All I can do is stay calm and believe it will be alright: for the studio, for my friends and for so many people I don’t even know.  I have to keep the faith until morning.

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I can’t believe it is September already.  Where did the time go???  I feel as though I just got back from Wellfleet and it’s already well into E.’s school year (he’s a 2L at Colorado Law) and Autumn is closing in fast.  I better bust-a-move is all I can say…  I am sorry that I have been so remiss in terms of my blogging project but now that we’re all getting back to school / work, I hope to regain my momentum.  Here’s hoping!

Last Friday I was at the Denver Art Museum for their last “Untitled” event of 2010 and we got to promote the amazing sights, sounds and smells of KING TUT at  “UnTUTled”.  ( cute, huh? )  I was previewing my upcoming talk about the aromas of ancient Egypt as well as explaining the first 6 perfumes in the “Secrets of Egypt” collection.

DSH at DAM, UnTUTled

One of the new and soon to be released designs is a perfume called “Sampsuchinon” named after the Crocodile God of the Nile and the herbs associated with him, marjoram and oregano.  I have actually been creating a true recipe of Sampsuchinon based on the ‘formula’ written by Dioscorides -using oils, fresh herbs and spices, honey and wine… (*see Lisa Manniche’s work for more info on these formulae) and then reworking the scent using modern materials (essential oils, not fresh herbs) to create the same style perfume but something we 21st Century folks could feel comfortable wearing.  It’s also quite interesting to see people’s reaction to the old vs. the new versions.

* mixed with fats and sprinkled with wine

shaped into cakes and ready to macerate covered with water, overnight

after maceration, boiled, reduced, and strained

marjoram herb

There’s also one more perfume on the way to complete this collection: one to speak to aromatics that Egypt is known for now.  I want to showcase the fact that Egypt is still an aromatic paradise.  More to come about this one in my next post.

Mummy Bottle at DAM Gift Shop
Secrets of Egypt collection at DAM Gift Shop

I hope you will have a lovely, fragrant day!

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