Posts Tagged ‘dawn spencer hurwitz aroma artist’


It took over twenty years to finally get Onycha into ‘clear enough’ focus to start work on a formula.  One of the things that made it clearer was the arrival of traditional ‘Choyas’ on the aromatics market.  I am sure that in India and many parts of the ‘olde world’ these fragrant beauties were nothing new but to western artists, they were something exciting and new coming our way.  Choyas, like traditional ‘attars’ or ‘ittars’, are co-distilled essential oils.  Whereas, attars are generally co-distills with Indian sandalwood (Santalum Album) as the partner to flowers, herbs, and the like, choyas have charred Himalayan cedarwood (Cedrus Deodora) partnered with incense / resin materials, and in the case of Choya Nahk, seashells.  Yes, that’s right: roasted seashells.   🙂  The first time I saw this oil offered I immediately began considering it for Onycha.  Perfect, right?  Well, part yes, part no.  Choya Nahk has it’s beauty, but it is dry…really, DRY.  Intensely so.  I don’t generally like sugary perfumes, but this was a bit beyond the pale.  It was going to need some help.


partial: shells in a clay sculpture c.1992 – DSH

As I worked in some resins that I thought would balance the intensity of the charred nuances, and of course high doses of benzoin and labdanum as the other two notes in the “onycha” triad, I wondered if there were any aromatics sellers that had the actual seashells that were used, before they were roasted.  A quick internet search found some incense purveyors with something they were offering as ‘onycha seashells’.  SOLD.  I ordered them and began tincturing.  At this point in the formulating, I decided to make this perfume an ‘all naturals’ project instead of mixed media.  Not just because it’s depicting an ancient concept (the Secrets of Egypt collection is all mixed media, with the intent on creating updated interpretations of the ancient designs) but using an all botanical palette seemed to give the ‘antiquity’ feeling I wanted to convey and I wanted some of that murky, slightly inky quality that many all natural perfumes have.  (It’s not a bad thing to be murky / inky, at times).

After introducing the seashell tincture, I vacillated between a densely smoky incense perfume like being in a temple filled with burning censors…but this just didn’t work (nope, too much in the vein of Axis Mundi, which I also released last year) plus, it is way too easy to just make ‘smoky smoke and more smoke’.  And a sweeter, purely resin-based kind of incense scent seemed kind of bland.  Then the whim to just push it toward woods and amber came and I followed the impulse.  Choya Loban (cedarwood and frankincense) and Choya Ral (cedarwood and sal tree resin) both made their way into the design in subtle proportion as well as precious woods (eagleswood, Siam wood, more Himalayan cedarwood, and amyris) and ambery resins ( more benzoin, labdanum, and oppopanax).  Yes, this push of the ambery aspect brought out even more of the salty / umami and subtly briney aspects of Onycha that I was hoping for.  As well, I love what the woods did to build the space to allow the resins, smoke, and oceanic pieces to move around and ‘swirl’ in the way I later envisioned it.

“family” egg tempera on panel 1992, DSH

In creating Onycha, I had to dig deep into my past and remember all that had inspired me about the concept when I was first falling in love with fragrance and seeing it as the art form that it is now, generally, recognized to be.  It’s also allowed me to examine some of my early work, universally, and bring it full circle.  ❤

This post gives me the opportunity to give thanks for some of the lovely reviews of Onycha:
Thank you Trish at Scenthive for her wonderful words for Seve de Pin and Onycha;  and the immensely poetic review from Lauryn Beer at CaFleureBon.  I am blessed by your beauty.








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Something interesting is happening…  it’s not the first time that I’ve experienced this phenomenon of having some fascination or inspiration from my past circle around and make its way into relevant, “in the now” creative endeavors and projects.  Last Summer, when I started the design and development of Onycha, it was the coming to fruition of a perfume that I began contemplating way back in 1993 when I first read about it in some esoteric book on Kabbalah and aromatics.  (I was crazy interested in Kabbalah back then, before it became trendy, but that’s a story for another day).   I had just graduated from Art School and had begun my first perfumery with Sarah Horowitz-Tran (Gaia Perfumers – since we were both earth signs – known to everyone else as Essense on Newbury Street), and I was into reading anything that I could get my hands on about aromatics, essential oils, wacky New Age whatnot, Aromatherapy, Perfumery, Incense… I mean ANYTHING that had any info to be had about fragrance, I was into it.  So, this Kabbalah ‘perfume’ book was (and is) dog-eared all over the place.  The only thing that has stayed with me and commanded my imagination long-term was Onycha.

First off, I was just blown away at how the word LOOKED and how do you say it anyway?  In the days before the internet you’d either have to screw it up, make it up, or find a scholar who could tell you for sure.  Now, you can just go online to see (and hear) it.   Amazing.   I also loved how the book spoke about some rare mollusc from the Sea of Galilee being used as an aromatic in…perfume?  WHAT???? Hold on, I love the ocean and sea air and Calvin Klein’s now infamous Escape had just launched to great success, but seashells?  Um, that sounded fishy to me (bad pun intended).  I really had to push the boundaries of what I thought perfume must have been in the ancient world, and what it could be, to imagine it.  ( I still couldn’t … which is part of why it stuck with me.  I really wanted to create a fantasy that fit how I was trying to imagine it ).




Yet another piece to this story is that during 1992 – 1994 I was painting lots of still life images with seashells.  Kind of like ‘family’ units.  I was into Sacred Geometry and the spiral was a big influence.  Ammonites, and seashells from the beaches of Cape Cod, found their way into my visual art and was moving, oddly, into my perfumery art.  At that time, there were WAY fewer materials to work with; especially as an indie perfumer.  The artisan / indie perfumery movement hadn’t really begun yet (that was later in the nineties) and there were essential oils, some absolutes, and perfume compounds to work with, if you were small-scale.  Now, there are more wonderful boutique distillers, distributors, and specialty molecule purveyors than you can imagine and it’s an INCREDIBLE GALAXY of nuanced ‘colors’ and textures to create olfactory art with.  It took over twenty years of ruminating around the idea (and waiting for the right materials to arrive) for “Onycha” to come.

Ok, I’m going to end there…with more to come of course.  Soooooon.  Have a great rest of your weekend ❤





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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).


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.


(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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By now I’m sure that most of you have heard about the “new animalics” trend that’s been gaining speed for the last few years.  In case you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about, fragrances “of ” and inspired by animals are kinda hot right now.  I’m not at all surprised since the strong interest in vintage / vintage style perfumes has been gaining traction for quite some time and many (most) of those older fragrances are laden with animalic aromatics.  It gives them that luscious body, and sensuous warmth that we’re hard wired to crave.  Certainly some densely animalic perfumes can scare the bejeezes out of the wearer while others seem to purr and softly seduce bringing you ever closer… like moths to a flame, when they smell that olfactory ‘siren song’.  I am definitely one of those vintage perfume lovers who couldn’t be more delighted with this renewed interest in what some might call ‘poopy’ or ‘cat pee’ fragrances.   (I’m sure that warmed you up, right?).



It occurs to me that another avenue into animalic fragrances, especially of the ‘retro-nouveau’ variety, might be the prolonged fervor for oud / oude / oudh perfumes which depending on the quality and the amount of natural aquillaria wood oil used, can be mighty fecal.  Yes, some are down right ‘poopy’.  Not a bad…well, that’s in the nose of the beholder.  Anyway, it seems that if these particular aspects that can be found in botanicals are to your liking then true animal notes (real or synthetic) are not that far away as you journey through fragrance. It’s only a hop, skip, and a furry jump from the more intense oud perfumes to that of the cultivated critter.



There are a number of fabulous vintage fragrances and houses that specialized in more animalic scents but I’m only going to delve into one right now: the House of Weil.  Their main affair was furs.  The fragrances that they are known for came later but most were inspired by, and meant to be worn with, their furs.  Their most famous and longest selling perfume was Antilope and I believe their most sought after fragrance is Secret de Venus (sometimes fetching well over $1000 per bottle on ebay).  Secret de Venus actually started as a bath oil and came in a number of ‘fragrances’ such as Antilope and Zibeleine, but there was later a Secret de Venus perfume developed that to me, feels like the House of Weil’s “Guerlainade’; their fragrant signature base.  It’s warm, ripe, sensuously animalic, and lushly floral in that early – mid – twentieth century kind of way.  Aldehydes are present but not very loud at all which allows the base to rub itself around you like a cat hoping that you’ll scratch it’s ears and belly.  A lesser known Weil fragrance that has long intrigued me is Chinchilla.  Of course, I *LOVE* the name.  And the beautiful silken creatures, so soft and sweet.   I had had this name and some scribbles in my notebooks for some time before the real impetus came to push me toward creation.  Last summer, a lovely young woman came to work part time at my studio whose family name is also Chinchilla.  That was it!  A sign… that the time was right to get to work.




Especially when making retro-nouveau style perfumes, I love to leave little trails to historical perfumes in my designs.  It’s fun.  And I hope that those that know vintage fragrances will pick up the trail and find my clues.  So, too, with my Chinchilla, I thought about the House of Weil as well as the original ‘Shocking de Schiaparelli’, with it’s dominating CIVET note and honey heart.  Most importantly, though, I wanted to really evoke the texture of fur.  That would be something new that these beauties from the past didn’t do.  The furriness and the kind of ‘dusty honey’ quality that came together really sang to me… and I have to admit that I fell in love.   And to my amazement and delight, many others did, too.

So, that was last Summer into Fall… and now I’m working on a couple more to fill ‘my little petting zoo’.    They’ll still be the more contemporary retro-nouveau designs with the vintage calling cards.  I’m having a ball creating these… some a bit more whimsical, some more sophisticated.  All with a little growl, and a purr.


I’m really happy to share some links to reviews for Chinchilla (with many thanks) to Lauryn at CaFleurbon, Samantha at IScentYouADayCynthia at The Fragrant Journey, Victoria at EAUMG, and Steven at the Scented Hound,

credits: aquillaria aromatic link to wikipedia.org; image for arabian oud perfume found here; house of weil links at fragrantica.com, shocking de shiaparelli link at fragrantica.com; image for weil furs found on pinterest; chinchilla de weil extrait image found on our instagram. (please feel free to follow! 🙂 )







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Although it’s thoroughly Spring outside complete with the showers we should have had in April, my mind has been moving forward and contemplating deeper, woodier hues, darker spaces, and scents.  Particularly, I have been meditating on dry, incense, subtly smoke-tinted resins and woods.  It may be that I have been working on a series of designs for Dawn Perfume in Japan; a collection that I design for and reflects a kind of west meets east collaboration between myself and my cohorts (the link takes you to ‘cohort’ Anzu’s instagram).  Which isn’t to say that everything I create for Dawn Perfume is of this woody, meditative vibe.  In fact, most is not.



No, there’s something coming out of the ether that wants to manifest.  I find myself dreamily contemplating soft, powdered wood shavings and the accompanying burnt sugar and smoke lingering to give an added dryness to the sensation.  And frankincense.  I’ve just received a new batch of the most wonderful frankincense from Oman (boswellia sacra) with a potent sweet gummy-ness and dry spice complex that makes me swoon every time I open the bottle.  I’ve also been going, again and again, to a new batch of frankincense absolute (boswellia serrata) from India.  It’s got a touch more of the typical terpene bite of many Olibanum essential oils, but it also has some of that spicy, gummy quality that the ‘sacra’ has only less sweet.  And delicious cedar; the drier, the better.  I’m daydreaming in Texas cedar with all of that tar and smoke, hiba (even with that band-aid thing you do), and dusty, soft Virginia cedar.  (How could I forget you?)   I’m really feeling compelled to sit down and get some sketching done.  But what is the premise, exactly?   This is not my usual way.  Generally, I get a very clear picture or series of images with a new inspiration for a perfume.  It all comes at once and I have to take time to put the pieces together and design in my head until it’s distilled but this one is coming on hazy clouds and shadowy half images as seen through gauze.  Maybe my psyche is just telling me I need more time to sit in meditation; or maybe I just have to keep looking through the smoke.

What are your thoughts on this subject ?  I’d love to hear…



image credits: I found these images on the web: japanese crane screen image here; japanese temple image here.

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Mercury has just gone direct.  (woo hoo!)  I’m sure that a bunch of you have heard of the astrological term “Mercury Retrograde” which basically means that the appearance of Mercury, as it moves in its orbit when seen from earth, looks like its moving backwards.  Symbolically, it means that everything you are trying to do to get ahead on projects, move through traffic, deal with communication of any kind, etc, will also be moving (or feel like it’s moving) backwards, too.  Travel goes haywire, electronics get goofy, and the basic gist is to stop working on moving forward as it’s time to do a re-wind so you can reexamine old ideas, old projects, and or older works to see if they can or should be updated, made more perfect, or reworked in some way or just tossed on the heap.  It’s great for clearing out and making room for the new as well.  So while now is the time for getting back to the *new* stuff, as this phase passes I’m still working on something I’m calling the “retrograde files”.  Its actually kind of exciting.




I’ve been slowly compiling a list of materials, oils, single notes, and older designs that I used to sell on my website that people still write in and ask for.  Usually clients can get these items by special order or what have you but I’ve been attempting to create some “Archives” pages for the site so as to make the process easier.  And instead of getting annoyed at the apparent cosmic slowdown, it’s been a wonderful journey, like taking some extra quiet time to look at a scrap book or an old photo album.  It’s the scented equivalent of “This is your Life”.




As I’ve looked around in my notebooks and dug out some old bottles I’ve rediscovered some very interesting ideas and lovely perfume names (you know I love that) that I had sort of forgotten about.  Some of these designs are from very early in my body of work and I see now that had I had some of the materials available now, the concepts might have been realized very differently.  So, my big idea is this: when Mercury goes retrograde I’m going to set myself down to re-imagine some of these older works.  It’s a go with the flow and artistically grow kind of thing.  I don’t know if I will release the new visions or not but I know that I will enjoy the process.  I like this looking back / looking forward notion.  We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you posted. ❤

ps: here’s the next retrograde phases for 2016: August 30 – September 22; and Dec 19 2016 – Jan 8, 2017.


image credits: I found these images on the web: beautiful mercury planet image found here; moving backward image here; berlin 1994 photo album here.


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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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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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This is really where it’s at for me.  So much time goes by that I don’t know where to pick up and start again.  I think about writing about a million times a day but just don’t find the minutes very often just to DO. IT.  I have a promised part 2 to the New Kingdom perfumes and even have a new perfume that has just launched {Matsu} but instead of writing about those topics what I am super jazzed about today is a fabulous aroma art project that is happening  (right now) in my studio and will be presented a week from this Saturday (July 27).

2013 idt postcard Final-1

Over the past few years I have had the great good fortune to do many art projects interpreting everything from paintings to haute couture to sculpture of various types… even improvisational live music.  But interpreting dance, though it has been suggested has never been achieved until now.  I am so pleased to be working with the Boulder Interweave Dance Theater interpreting two modern dance performances.

It seems that when I am interpreting an object, whether it be a painting, sculpture or fashion piece, there is always the line, texture, color or the material(s) that the object is formed from to use as reference points and landmarks.  It is something more or less concrete that can be seen and discussed by anyone experiencing it.  Not so for dance, I feel.  Movement and the human body bring about different things for different people.  We each may see different things.  We bring our own unique meaning to the movement.  Maybe this is why I am so much more excited to see how the aromas will be experienced by the audience at this event.  By incorporating scent, we are hoping to expand the mind and expand how we will feel about what we are seeing.  After all, the aromas give even more information about the piece, albeit rather abstracted, just as what is seen on stage and heard in the music will do.  It brings new meaning.  I for one *can not wait* to present these designs to the dance enthusiasts who will be attending the performances.


The two choreographers that I am working with are Mark Haines and Wade Madsen and their pieces could not be more different.


Wade’s piece has a genre-bending retro vibe but there is also a modern ‘straight-lined’ quality about it.  It’s called ‘WANT”.  Isn’t that name ripe with potential? Don’t we ALL want?  I think it’s an essential part of the human experience, to want.  To hunger.  All of these elements informed my choices for the aroma that I have created for it.  It definitely has more of a “perfume” sensibility than it being just a mere “smell sensation” (which could happen when interpreting art forms) with even some historical referencing for those who know perfume designers.  (Hint: there is a Roudnitska thread in there).

WANT is a modern chypre-citrus-fantasy that manages to pull out a small gourmand aspect as well.  You might think that this design would be a train-wreck from the sound of it but it’s not.  It’s polished, clean (not soapy) and sparkling and yet as it wears on the skin, warm, inviting and lovely to have on your person.   And, it has aldehydes; it’s gotta have a that vintage reference after all.  Surprised?  🙂  And then there’s the hidden hint of sugar, that unfolds as it wears like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of sugar cubes instead of crumbs.  It’s not cloying or gross or infantile.  It provides you with satisfaction, something to feed that hunger.  Sweetness is something we all want in one form or another.  Design wise for me it’s like an Alexander Calder mobile; kinetic, moving and all the parts relate to the others while being separate and whole all at once.


Mark’s piece, “Catch and Release” is something deeply emotional and sad.  It is the expression of heart-break and loss.  How does one express a deep melancholy, loneliness and the tears that accompany it, in scent?  This was the challenge and I hope that I have done it justice.  This design really IS aroma sculpture and it is meant to be.  The scent is totally abstract, without the signposts of perfume history or traditional elements that would render the design “wearable” to guide you.  I have to say that for me, it IS very wearable, but I am not most and I love a scent that you can’t pigeonhole.  I am all too ready to ‘go for it’ when it comes to trying something that is not designed to be ‘pretty’ (although I love pretty, too…who am I kidding?).  If I had to describe Catch and Release I would categorize it as a modern chypre-green.  But that doesn’t totally say it.  It’s just textbook to say that it is a chypre because it has the typical bergamot-oakmoss combo, but it also has calone.  I know I’ve lost some of you right there but wait.  It also contains immortelle and some of the ancient ayurvedic choyas and attars.  C&R is not a frivolous novelty like so many calone-laden melony-marine whatnots.  While it is sad and lonely, it is also strangely seductive.  There’s an animalic warmth that keeps you smelling.  And feeling.  It’s strange and wonderful like finding a once loved, now abandoned old cottage.  Or an old book of love poems that’s been sadly discarded.

The performances have all been created to express the multi-sensory world and I encourage anyone who is in Boulder on July 27 to find their way to the CU campus to check it all out.  I am pretty sure you’ll be glad that you did.


“In the Realm of the Senses” on July 27, 2013 at 3:00 & 8:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Irey Studio Theatre on the CU campus.

Tickets range from $16 to $22 and are available 3 ways:
Online: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/384647
Call us: 303 492-7945
Pick up tickets at our co-sponsor/ticket outlet Boulder Body Wear
This performance is recommended for audience members ages 13 and older.

For more information about IDT visit our website: http://interweavedancetheatre.org

image credits:

Interweave dancers, photo(s) by Wendy Turner

calder mobile image found here 

cottage image found here (but manipulated by me)

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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


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