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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

I left off in conversation about Fleuriste, and it’s cool, florist’s fridge effect as something made possible by the modern miracle of aroma molecules.  Now, in part 2, I find myself stepping back…not just in time and space (sort of)  but also taking a half step back toward classicism and warmth in the next carnation design.

With l’Opera des Rouges et des Roses, I didn’t set out to create a new carnation fragrance as if I was inspired and found the need for this fragrance.  Well, I did realize that it fulfilled a need in my range that I didn’t really have which was a garden bouquet perfume that featured carnation, roses, peonies, and jasmine.  One of the things I love about this design is that it flickers and flirts between hot and cold, fresh and lush until the final drydown stage where it just belts out an aria and dares you not to give a standing ovation.  It has PRESENCE.  At least that’s how *I* experience it…you might feel differently about it.

“l’Opera” as I refer to it in my studio was a fragrance born out an art project / installation project for Denver Art Museum’s “In Bloom” show of 2015, which ultimately was called the “scent experience”.  The idea was to create a fragrant room that would evoke the experience of walking into Monet’s garden at Giverny.  What came together was an amazing kind of aromatic sculpture that was ever shifting in the balance of the fragrance since the design was developed in three pieces that when blended together created the whole.  To make this sculpture ‘moveable’, the fragrant ‘pieces’ were sensor driven, so that as people moved through the space they would trip the sensor to send out more of the fragrance in their area.  Depending on where you walked, you would smell something somewhat different in the room, as in a real garden.  Pretty cool, right?   As I worked out the designs, it came together as a kind of timeline as well as a way to experience the actual fragrances of the flowers.  So, the initial scent was the smell of moist dirt, foliage, grass, and trees with green leaves with a faint whiff of flowers, but none you could put your finger on (Le Jardin Vert); the next was a cool, early morning/ early Spring bouquet of dewy violets, irises, and lilacs (La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes).  Lastly, came the warm, afternoon / late Spring bouquet of peonies, old roses, carnations, and jasmine (l’Opera des Rouges et des Roses).  I wanted to give the sense of time passing from morning through the afternoon as well as early Spring to late Spring.  (Monet had a LOT of flowers in his vast gardens and I wanted to showcase many of the flowers depicted in the show…so it was a tall order of many flowers).  I think that the space was a success and I haven’t heard of many other museums creating as memorable, creative, or daring additions to shows that might have come off as rather staid without it.


The design for “l’Opera” has become a perfume with many lovers in its own right; not just as a piece in the design that became “Giverny in Bloom” which is the ‘complete’ experience.  As a carnation perfume it has some references to Bellodgia de Caron as its focal is the carnation and rose duet.  As it is meant to be a garden perfume, l’Opera seems fresh when compared side to side with Bellodgia (extrait).  The required aldehydes and more powdery drydown of Bellodgia make it seem more ‘constructed’ than l’Opera.  But I can see how Bellodgia is the great-aunt of l’Opera, with the need to be dramatic, and still a love interest.  Bellodgia is the belle of the ball waltzing about in crinoline and pearls, whereas l’Opera may have a wilder heart; a love child made of the garden of eden and the theatre.

At first, I hadn’t planned on more than one carnation fragrance but you know how it goes… the creative urge knows no bounds, and so another idea begat another, etc.  While “l’Opera” is a bouquet and not a soliflore, I still think of it as a carnation and rose affair.  What ultimately completed my needs (and my clients’, I think) was last year’s duskier and darker addition to the lineup.  But that’s for the next post.

* the images used were taken by me at the Denver Art Museum’s “In Bloom” show in 2015.

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“moon” egg tempera on paper , 1992 DSH

Some say that artists are always making ‘themselves’ in their work.  Much of my early visual art work was indeed self portraiture.  It makes sense since I was studying the figure from a very classical point of view, and as I was the model who was always available any time I was ready to work, self portraits were a common occurrence.  It was also a form of self exploration…you know the kind one does in their early twenties (and for many, well beyond).  In my last year of art school I started creating more symbolic work and incorporating the self-portrait into various forms.  I’m blown away at how these images and objects from what feels like a past life have found their way back into my consciousness and into my current work.  These older images have become the fodder for making new images for a new perfume and holding space for the energy behind what will be the first launch of 2017 for DSH Perfumes.

“moon, 2” egg tempera on paper, DSH 1992

“lilith” egg tempera on paper, DSH 1992

I can’t yet announce the name and the full concept, but later this month I’ll be able to spill the beans.  ( I clearly can’t wait!)  It’s for a ‘mystery project’ that really resonated  with me and how I feel I am navigating the world right now (slowly emerging from the early childhood phase of mommyhood, and post-election).  The project also prompted a major ‘looking inward’ and even, a digging into the past to find these artifacts.

“totem” clay pot 1992, DSH

I thought that for this post I would just share some of the images that helped inspire what’s coming out next.   It’s all art work from the early 1990’s that is coming back around to feel perfectly relevant now.  It’s amazing how these pieces fit seamlessly into the project and the visual story telling of the design.  And in terms of the kind of artistic and spiritual integration that I am going through right now, these couldn’t be more powerful.  I hope that you like them.  ❤

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{filters that look like flowers. i love those.}

Mondays are supposed to be one of my ‘days off’.  😀  LOL.  I’m not only like most business owners who never have enough time to do EVERYTHING that 1) needs to be done 2) you want to get done 3) you think should get done, but I’m like most artists I know who are always ‘working’.  This isn’t bad or unwanted; I like to work.  In fact, I love my work.  (Well, all of it except accounting and filing reports.  B.O.R.I.N.G.).

Mondays are instead my ‘creative day’ in the (aroma) studio; I relish them.  I think about and write down ideas all week just to get a day when no one can come in and I don’t answer the phone.  It’s bliss.  I make a mess.  I spread out…wide…all over the place.  Then I come home smelling like a million things and scare my family.  (AWESOME).

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I guess I’m getting excited about what’s coming out next and it’s too soon to start talking about it in detail but I’m nevertheless wanting to share.  So, for now I’ll just add some pics from the day and keep jotting down ideas.

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(You can also see my working notebook so far for 2017.  I’ve had one of these every year since 1994.  I think I’m gonna need a library soon ❤ )

Hope you all had a great start to your week ~ oxox

 

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I think that it was last Spring that the flowers started calling.  More than ever before, I’ve wanted to engage in the realm of the flora.  Perhaps it started with Instagram coinciding with my daily walks with Xander.  I suddenly had an incredible visual outlet to use that was so easy, fun, portable, and interesting.  It was a way to make art on the spot when, these days,  studio time is so difficult to come by.  The flowers infiltrated my psyche through visual art and now it seems that my whole world, in perfumery as well, is just FLOWERS.  {I’m in love, can you tell?}

 

 

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Last years White Lilac, Peony, Scent of Hope, Jacinthe de Sapphir, and Rubis Rosé have given way to a flood of floral inspiration around the studio.  I’m just beginning to complete some of the new designs for release, but I promise you, there are some big bouquets in my future.  🙂  If you follow my facebook stuff, you’ve already seen the first glimpse of the new “Fleuriste” perfume that is all carnations and chilled rose leaves.  I’m really enjoying the modern aspects and variations on the carnation theme and it’s so different from one of my best loved florals:  Oeillets Rouges, which is a warm, honey-kissed carnation.  {By the way, have you noticed the HUGE resurgence of interest in carnation perfumes?  It’s outrageous.  Now that Malmaison, and Blue Carnation are no longer in production and Bellodgia isn’t what it used to be, the carnation lovers are on the hunt for a new love}.  We’ll see how the cool-green / modern Fleuriste fares compared to the classic style of Oeillets Rouges.  I’ll be interested to see.

 

 

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I’m also really excited that at last (!) we’ve had a stellar lilac season so that I could complete an all natural / all botanical perfume based on the French lilacs that bloom in my front yard and the Persian lilacs that bloom just outside the back door to my studio.  I’ve been working on this design for about 5 years now, since the lilacs in Colorado haven’t fared so well over the past few years {with all of the late Spring snow we get, so many lilac seasons are doomed!}  But this year, even with a Mother’s Day snow storm – Yes, I did say MOTHER’S DAY – we had a fabulous crop and I reveled in their glory.  Anyone who loves lilacs will know that they are heavenly, but oh so temperamental, and vexingly  chameleon-like as the scent changes from the first bloom on the tree, to a later full bloom aroma, as well as how they change their fragrance after they have been picked.  I had to go through many a lilac season to attempt to nail them down into some kind of formula.  It’s been an intoxicatingly wild ride but I’ve arrived at something that *I* think is beautiful.  And really speaks to late Spring in all it’s splendor.  I’ll be writing more about “La Belle Saison” soon.

 

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For now I’m hoping to spread the love and flowers.  They make me happy and I hope that they do for you as well.  ox

 

image credits: crab apple blossom image, from dsh_artscent; carnation image found here; Persian lilacs and French lilacs images from dsh_artscent.

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Something is happening to me.  I can’t seem to get my head (and nose) out of the woods these days.  It’s a trend that seems to be popping up in all parts of my creative world: in my own (paltry at the moment) design time at the studio, in my classes with private students, and even in terms of what I am wanting to photograph right now. Of course,  I have been working with conifers and fougeres in my studio for awhile now, but I think that this shift in my psyche really set in in 2011, right around the time I got pregnant (hmm…) with some more classical constructions as well as some more modern ‘abstractions’ in the making.  The thing is that while I have been dancing around this concept I have had few actual launches to show for this line of exploration.

Last year’s Matsu, which was a rather abstract, Japanese influenced ‘pine’ scent expressed a humid, green woody concept with a brilliant bergamot flash at the opening (and containing no actual pine of conifers) is really the only launch that I have managed.  Until (sometime close to) now.  Well, I’m not ready to launch this particular design just yet but I think that it is finished.  It’s a much more literal experience of a pine / spruce fragrance but it doesn’t read at all like pinesol or worse, in a way, a bad interpretation of Polo or Pino Sylvestre.

 

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Something that may have spurred on this creative indulgence in the conifer arena has been a lovely friendship that has sprung up between myself and the micro-distiller, Eric Bresselsmith and his wonderful company that features *rocky mountain region* materials.  I have been getting new materials from him for years without having the space or time to really jump in and work on crafting the perfumes I have in mind when he shows me samples. Finally, I have little by little managed to get something going with some very wonderful and rare aromatics.  I want to take a quick moment to touch upon a few of my favorites that Eric has brought me: Concolor White Pine (distilled from recycled Christmas trees in Aspen, CO),  Common Juniper (a shrub that I have torn out of my own yard to make way for a rose garden but yields a lovely, GREEN take on juniper oil), Engelmann Spruce (a delicious, slightly fruity, airy, clear as a bell, spruce) and Great Western Sage (a dry, spiky but gorgeous sage scent.  If you like smudge sticks, this is for you!).  Eric also makes some very wonderful and creative co-distills using the woods, leaves/needle and cones of the conifers sometimes mixed with shrubs and sometimes different but similar species of evergreens.  I really like some of the juniper and cedar co-distills that I have tried.

One of the most incredible and very rare oils that I have gotten (and used in this new design) is an infusion of 50 year old resin crystals in pure pinion essential oil.  It is magical in the extreme.  It was also a labor of love as Eric told me that he was out with the ancient felled pinion armed with tweezers picking the crystals off, little by little, by hand.  As soon as I smelled it I just said, I want this.  I didn’t ask how much; I just knew that I needed to get as much as I could afford.  Seve de Pin (Pine Sap) is based upon this beauty.  There is wider story than just wanting to showcase a new material, but I had started this design years ago and it seemed to be waiting for this last ingredient to make everything fall into place.

 

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Seve de Pin was partially inspired by the smell in the night air on my first overnight trip away from my parents when I was 4 years old and in pre-school summer camp.  *The trees were speaking to me all night long* and in this construction, there is the distinctive smell that was in the air (in the drydown) that night.  I would know this smell anywhere.  It is mysterious and ancient and all-knowing.  Like the earth itself.  And that there are secrets that may be revealed to those who listen (and smell it).  Along with this sense of peering into other realms, there is comfort and protection, too, inherent in this aroma.  Like lying cozily on a soft bed of needles, nestled in the trees with only the night sky above;  you are sure to see the shooting stars.

 

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There is another inspiration, which was simply the incredible sensation of the first clear, oozing pine sap from the pine trees in my own back yard each Spring.  Maybe the reason this scent has been so long in the making is that I can only really work on it during a few weeks in Spring; I need experience that wonder first hand.  The new sap is unlike the aged sap that you find incrusted upon a more worldly tree and I wanted to really capture the airy freshness of that first exudation.

It has been interesting to construct this from almost all natural ingredients (99% botanical) with just a touch of green note accord in the top and an augmented resinous base to give the architecture something firm and stable.  Naturals have their intrinsic beauty but many times it is just impossible to get the structure to hold it’s form.  At least the form that I am working to sculpt or to use the former metaphor, build.  The tendrils of the naturals want to collapse on themselves and rush to be together in the middle.  It sometimes takes a lot of skill to get the pieces to confirm to the shape that you have in mind; something that is quite vertical as opposed to horizontal (landscape) or rounded / voluminous (a bouquet of sorts).  These few synthetic structure “poles” support the flickering nuances of the different shades of green leaves and needles, the cones and most of all the sap that dries into the crusty, delicious resin.  The fluidity of the design needs to be upheld.  It is sap and air after all.

I’m deliriously happy about the final result, I have to say.  Ask anyone who has been around me as I test it.  They will tell you of a crazy woman who can’t stop huffing the blotter (I almost NEVER do this) and swooning about, rolling her eyes in ecstasy.  I am that child again under the stars hearing the whispering murmurs of the trees and dreaming of the possibilities of life.

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I’m not sure when I am releasing this new perfume BUT I would love to share~

So, I am offering a drawing for 3ml EdP deluxe spray samples to 3 lucky winners.  Please leave a comment about your favorite conifer, or evergreen scent or better yet a favorite scent memory.  The drawing is open until June 8 at midnight MST.  Good Luck!

* images are all my own.  you can view some and others by me at my instagram page.

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It’s not always that it’s been a long, hard Winter or that blooming things get me going (which is true).  No matter what, Spring inspires me.  I get this rush of creative juice and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to keep up with all that I would love to do.  This feeling is probably universal, right?  Doesn’t everyone feel like this?  I mean, doesn’t everyone write themselves like 10 emails with ideas every day or so at this time of year??  (Hmmm, I hope you didn’t all answer no.  I just might feel funny about that).  Well, anyway, I’ve been on this jag of walking with Xander, sniffing around, sending those emails to myself, and snapping pictures for weeks now.  I just wish that I could be in the studio 24 hours a day to work out all of these concepts.   For now, I will just have to be satisfied with the *writing down* in my notebooks, and sharing some of my images.

 

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crab apple blossoms on my walk

 

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grape hyacinths with honey bee in my yard

 

first crocus

first crocus

 

 

pink bouquet

pink wreath

 

 

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a perfect fougere

 

apple blossom

apple blossom

 

muguet green

muguet green

 

 

 

I hope a walk in my garden and around my neighborhood brings you joy and inspiration, too.  Have a very happy (and fragrant) week~~~  ox

 

images: all the images are my own; more in this series can be found here at my instagram page.

 

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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.

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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.

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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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