Archive for July, 2011

It’s already the end of July?  Where is the time going??  I start so many posts with this question.  I am forever amazed at how fast time moves and how it seems to be spinning faster and faster.  I was on such a ‘blog roll’ (hee hee)  earlier this month with the PLAP project (which is still going on!) but then a big creative and work push came in and it’s just been nose to the scent stone ever since.  I’ve been working… working like MAD!!!  It’s been great, I have to say, albeit intense.

Something new and wonderful just now is this very cool correspondence I’m doing with Mandy Aftel called “Letters to a Fellow Perfumer”.   It is a series (I am number 3 in the line)  hosted at Nathan Branch’s blog out of which Mandy and I will each create a perfume while exploring our process of creation and materials.  It’s proving to be an exciting and  lovely exchange.  Another biggie on my plate has been working out the full-fledged conceptual scope and materials for Carrie Meredith‘s bespoke creation.  I don’t want to go too far into the details of this just yet, but I have “broken ground” and the first samples will be sent off to CM this week, so there will be much more on that, you can be sure. 🙂  Then there’s the new DSH website that is full steam under construction, plus, are you ready: the construction the ArtScent Museum room is complete.  I’ve hand-painted and worked on this room (with a lot of help, you can bet!) all July and it’s finally ready to have the display cases brought in.  Oh joy! 🙂  My labor of love is moving forward at last.

the room that will house the ArtScent Museum: all hand-painted gold. It's a jewel-box... with lovely prism-rainbows reflected on the wall. pure magic.

But what’s really topped my list this week is not a current work that I am designing or a new project but the official launch and beginning ‘reception’ if you will, of a collaboration that started almost a year ago with Jane Schub, a fascinating mind and exceptional designer.  Jane has been involved in many creative endeavors over the years and her latest work is creating remarkable nail colors under the name ‘StrangeBeautiful‘.  I have had the pleasure of making manifest some of Jane’s incredibly creative ideas in the past, but our latest mingling of the minds produced “Richly Perverse”, a true perfumed nail polish.  Richly perverse is a clear coat nail polish that has a fully designed fragrance; it’s not the kiwi or pear or bubblegum scented stuff you might find in regular ‘scented nail polish’.  It’s a richly perverse dream.

This week it launched at anthropologie.com and has already made it to the Today show!  How rad is that?  I am sure you are wondering…what the heck does it smell like?  Well… it’s an outrageous violet / leather with notes of absinthe, tuberose, orris, ylang ylang, sandalwood plus incense and tobacco in the drydown.  The leather note is black leather; yep, like a motorcycle jacket.  And the violet is powdered candy violet, all French and demure.  Mixed with the boozy breath of absinthe and narcotic tuberose, oh yeah, it’s a badass.  It’s sheer elegance riding a Harley.  If that messes with your head it’s par for the course.   That’s what happens when Jane and I get together.

Check out some of the ‘brief’ Jane sent me for inspiration:

“Richly Perverse

As we removed our clothing then inched our way into the unknown dark inky lake the conversation escalated, she said you don’t get it nor comprehend what I am saying; this is not a philosophical perspective but a way of life. Only when it is strange do I see something beautiful. She then said; I may not respect someone when they do not see it my way but I will never forget your thoughtful act of delivering my request for a freshly boiled lobster shell. Her ideas were a concept that took everyone by surprise.”

Oh, yes, Strange is Jane but so beautiful.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Read Full Post »

This is just a wee little shout out and thank you to everyone who comes to “DSH Notebook” to read my ramblings, musings and check in on my creative universe.  It felt like getting an award, the new patch on my blog.  Or to use my title analogy,  a ‘love bite’ patch on the neck of my blog : my new wikio rating.

Sharing my news and my life on this blog is a joy and I am very grateful for my subscribers and drop-ins alike.  It is you, dear readers, who share the blog and tweet which is what makes the wikio stats jump and get you a rating.  To pop in at number 10 for July, with so many very WONDERFUL, thoughtful, informative, glorious ( I could go on…) blogs out there, is truly incredible.  So thank you, peeps!  I am so happy to be able to interact with some of the best and most knowledgeable perfumistas , artists and down right great souls on the planet. ❤

* image credit: amy winehouse’ love bite found here (no, I didn’t know it was she until I looked at the site more closely.  I just liked this image…)

Read Full Post »

Ok.. the opportunity to get the word out here on my blog about my ongoing series called ‘sense’ at BMoCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) has come and I am seizing it!  I started this work in January and one thing or another always came up to interrupt me when attempting to write and post about it.  Not this time.  *TONIGHT at 8 pm I will again be doing a ‘sense’ presentation*, working with and interpreting another artist’s show; this time it’s called W3FI (pronounced WEE-FY) and it’s part of an installation called the Biodome project.  The W3FI installation speaks to the interconnectedness we all now experience as we interact on the internet.  The internet in its more mature stages is now a place that what you say and do have consequences and we all have a responsibility to do right in this new global community.  The concept of ‘persona’ is an underlying element of the project and this is where I will be coming into the mix and talking about how scent has always been used to communicate persona and how we do and can consciously use it in the modern world.  It’s going to be exciting.  And I am excited to be talking about this *BEFORE* the actual event, even if it is tonight.  So, if any of you are going to be in Boulder tonight, please come to BMoCA and experience scent in a new way and in relation to the W3FI / Biodome Project.

Now, this also brings me to another great pleasure, which is to start publishing posts I write months ago when I did my first sense talk and then my second.  These were more direct ‘multi-sensory’ art interpretations, so less conceptual and intellectual, of visual art into aroma.  Below is a 2/3 finished piece but it will have to stand as it is, since it’s been too long since the event for me to finish that line of thought.  I hope you will bear with me and still find it an interesting read.  I dated some of the passages so you would be aware of what was written in January, 2011 , April, 2011 and my little tidbits added now.  Enjoy~


sense at BMoCA 1:

{4:2011} If I was really on top of everything in my world I would probably have written posts about my events at BMoCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) *before* they happened…but as life is easily running wild around us and time seems to be no different, I’m instead reporting about these magical evenings instead of promoting them ahead of time. And, since there’s so much juiciness to the ‘sense’ events, I’m making two posts. I’m looking forward to a potential third this summer. There’s been talk of it but we’ll have to see.

Kiki by Stephen Batura, 2010

{1:2011} : “Experience Stephen Batura’s work in a whole new way – through your sense of smell. Renowned perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s scent interpretations of Batura’s paintings bring a whole new dimension to the exhibition while exploring the realm of scent as art.” (excerpt from BMoCA Calendar)

Although it was a cold and dark evening in January, about a dozen intrepid art enthusiasts made it to BMoCA to hear me talk about creating aroma as art (in it’s conception; construction and use to express ‘the muse’ that can show up as a painting, sculpture, music, movement / dance or as a scent). It was wonderful to describe the construction of scent as architectural (the base is the foundation, the middle notes or heart as the rooms and walls that create the space to move within and the topnotes as the roof, or the part of the structure that moves upward, touches the sky and finishes the shape) and to speak to the correlation and associations of aroma to color, shape, line, juxtaposition and texture.

Being synesthetic, to sense these artistic criteria in scent comes easily to me and I am always intrigued to find out how many others have the same sensibility (or not). It’s also incredible to introduce these very new concepts to people when referencing art as many have never conceived of aroma design as on par with or similar in anyway with painting and sculpture in particular.

Prospero by Stephen Batura, 2010

So, for the talk I started with the basics: top, middle and base notes. As we smelled our way through the selected raw materials that I brought to illustrate the concepts: Virginia cedarwood as texturally soft but dusty, sheer but dense and color wise, a wash of alizarin crimson; oakmoss absolute 5% dilute has an earthy, velvety texture with a black-ish – green hue (well, green oakmoss does…brown oakmoss is another story); bergamot has a zesty, sparkling and “popping” texture like sparklers are in fireworks with a cool, light bluish green wash of color and a pale yellow undertone; black pepper has a thin, black linear quality and a subtle texture as anything peppery will, but it is smoother than you might expect; and Siam benzoin has a lovely rusty-golden ‘hue’ with a lush velvety texture that can be a bit sticky when undiluted but just like pure silk velvet when diluted to about 10%.

{7:2011}   Sadly, I stopped here and I am not exactly sure how to finish this post properly now that it is 6 months later…   I will say that samples of these art project perfumes will be available on the new site as soon as that gets finished, too.  But that is a whole other project.

{1:2011}  The good news is that immediately after this first sense evening, I was invited back to work with the museum again to interpret and create ‘aroma sculptures’ for Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira’s work. * see sense at bmoca 2 (coming up next).


image credits: bmoca link for info on the w3fi installation here 

bmoca link to the batura show – for propsero here

denver post link – for kiki here


Read Full Post »

The big reveal has begun.  No, the verdict from the  judges is still out in terms of who will have the most favored patchouli perfume in the PLAP project but we now know which noses are behind each of the secret numbered vials.  *For anyone who has been following the numbers on Perfume Pharmer’s site, I’ve posted the list (and the names of the perfumes) at the bottom of this post.  I can now say that I am mysterious #11 and so happy to be so; 11 has always been ‘my’ number.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

So, now that I am free to talk about my own entry, BodhiSativa, I’m wondering what to say about it.  Hmmm…  I mentioned in a previous post that all of the patchouli perfumes I conceived are ‘Summer Patchouli’ designs.  True.  They have a lightness that I think is delightful and so unusual when considering the nature of straight patchouli oil.  I know that some of the judges (aka Patch Test Bunnies) have really been digging the heavy, serious deep patchouli that you would expect or that they remember from back in the day.  I wanted to do something different… you know: a challenge.  And a new aromatic signature for me; a note I’ve never used before.

While I was already working on the original “Bodhisattva” floral patchouli scent (no.3), there was this simultaneous phenomenon happening at the studio: an influx of interest in the cannabis aroma which seemed to be coming from everywhere.  My apprentice has had a few aromatic fascinations from the start: tomato (!), green notes in general and cannabis.  She just loves very complex plant aromas and cannabis is no different.  We had been exploring accords to develop this aroma for a little while when we happened upon some ***hemp / cannabis essential oil.  It occurred to us that an all natural / aromatherapy that had a cannabis note would be very relaxing and soothing to LOTS of clients in Boulder.  And then there were people stopping by the studio wanting to talk about cannabis perfumes.  Like every other day for weeks.  It seemed to be an omen.  That’s when the concept for Bodhi Sativa came.  I really wanted to do a patchouli design that was going to be more long term; something we would keep as opposed to most of the ‘project perfumes’ that have a very limited edition.  This was it.  (Aquarius, patchouli no.2 gave BodhiSativa a run for it’s money, but the animal tinctures are not ingredients I would be able to keep in stock all of the time, so it had to be a limited number).  I also have to say that as a patchouli scent, it seemed to fit like a glove with the project: kinda hippie-ish, has a summer time freshness, and well, something new to give the patch a twist.  I knew that I *didn’t* want to make a pseudo-aveda, head shop or natural food store style patchouli (not that there’s anything wrong with those).  I wanted a real original.  Bodhi Sativa was it for me.

For anyone that has smelled what some would call “kind bud” (aka a really sweet, sticky, resinous pot bud) there is an unmistakable sweet-fruity-ok: mildly skunky-herbal-floralcy to this smell.  Some dislike it but many find it the best part of the cannabis experience: the smell.  And that skunky reference might seem anathema to perfume but there are many smellers out there who profess a deep love for the smell of skunks and gasoline (not dissimilar aromas).  Some even call it addictive.

BodhiSativa is what I feel is the best of balancing acts: the rich aged patchouli, the fruity-floralcy of the cannabis accord and an exotic wood / incense drydown.  Oh, and there are little hints at animalic nuances throughout to give it even more interest.  I like that some of the judges smelled these notes as leather and others as chocolate.  We know what the secret ingredient really is… and according to Alice B. Toklas, it goes well with brownies.


*Here’s the whole Peace, Love and Patchouli / Summer of Patchouli LOVE project perfumers / perfumes lineup:

1) Dupetit, Indienne

2) Liz Zorn, River Walk

3) Shelley Waddington, Go Ask Alice

4) Jane Cate, Haight and Ashbury

5) April Aromatics,  Bohemian Spice

6) Happiness, Perfume by Nature

7) Providence Perfume Company,  No Name yet…

8 ) Lyn Ayre, Patchouli Paisley

9) no one gets this number…

10) JoAnne Bassett, Tetu

11) DSH, Bodhi Sativa

12) Amanda Feeley, Queen of Punk

13) Opus Oils, Wild Child

14) Therapeutate, Royal Water

**image credit: green cannabis found here, cannabis kind bud found here, “marijuana girl” found here

***FYI: Hemp / Cannabis essential oil has no THC.

Read Full Post »

I’m not sure how many people know this but one of my biggest clients is in Japan.  I’ve been working with Undulate Labs in Tokyo since 2007 and we have grown together in the Japanese market while developing DAWN Perfumes at TOMORROWLAND, Barneys NY Tokyo and now Isetan.  It’s been a wild and exciting ride; I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned through this process on myriad levels.  My Japanese collaboration is so close to my heart.  So when this great tragedy, this disaster came, I wanted to do something.  But what, exactly?  I gave donations to already established organizations who would do good but that just didn’t seem like enough.  I have been contemplating the “what to do dilemma’ ever since.   WHAT can I do; really do?   Now, my question has been answered and I really love it.  The Rescue Kit.

Continuing the creativity with Undulate Labs, we created unique aromatherapy oils for Japan based directly on their experiences in Tokyo of continued after shocks, the sense of the ground continually moving and that of the survivors in the disaster area.  It’s been incredible just trying, from my safe vantage point here in Colorado, to conceive of designs that would give a sense of relief to ‘on-land sea sickness’, calm to anxiety (about the nuclear problems and then some) and uplift to sadness and grief.  I *did* try… and apparently, I have succeeded (at least as far as our Japanese test subjects are concerned).  The Rescue Kit is based on two fundamental aromatherapies: Calm 9.1 and Awake 8.1.3.

Calm 9.1 is just as you imagine, something to help keep your feet on the ground and to soothe tension.  I also thought that adding the spiritual intention of the numbers would be a signifier: 9 (a release; to give in to an ending) and 1 (to begin anew).  These are the phases I hope the user will feel: release and rebirth.  I know when I smell this design I feel C.A. L.M.  Seriously chilled out.  It feels like a soothing sheet of silk just floated down from the sky and as it slides down on your body it brings with it a grounding cool.  By the time it reaches your feet you’re transformed.

Awake 8.1.3 is refreshing like a splash of cool water on the very first whiff then expands to a bright and happy citrus delight.  Awake’s number sequence goes like this: 8 (a powerful feeling; strong, bold and slightly intense), then 1 (a shift to a sense of oneself) and lastly to 3 (the inner child; happy and free).  It’s true that the mint and citrus that lead in the topnote of Awake are a little bracing (in a very good way) but the overall feeling it gives is a sweet, happy, warm calm; like delicious sun on your face.

And as Formula X is our number one scent in Japan and gives each wearer a unique ‘sense of themselves’, this third aroma was added in a subtle oil form to make a second variation on the kit.  Oh yeah: One, two, three, GO!

Here’s the best part: we’re going to do an exclusive launch of the Rescue Kit at Isetan in August and soon after we will begin selling it here in the US.  **From the profits of the sales here in the US,  we will be sending Rescue Kits directly to the disaster area to help in the creation of a wellness “aroma” dome (with the help of other peeps setting this whole thing up).  I am SO PSYCHED!  We’ll be able to help DIRECTLY in the disaster area, in our own small way making a better quality of life for people in the direst of circumstances as they continue rebuilding their lives.

*image credits:  graphic designs and photo of the rescue kit by Niten Osawa of Undulate Labs, Tokyo.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: