Natural Perfume, Music and Embroidery this Trinity weave through my life. They support and give each other inspiration. It is my lifes work and profession. I think about Natural Perfume everyday. It is my reason d'etre. It brings joy, fulfills my soul. Creating beautiful perfumes from flowers, fruits and resins is superlunary. I am besotted, obsessed, deeply in love.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

an intriguing discovery

preparing some natural dyes today ..... I thought I would use some dried hibiscus petals. Placing them in bowl I was taken by the fruitiness of its odour.

I have enjoyed Hibiscus tea. The petals give up to various colours of soft antique rose shades and deeper depending....and this fruity perfume.

I have tinctured a small amount in a 15ml bottle with alcohol and will change petals (if I can get them out :-)) when needed and see if this fruitiness can be captured.


I have lots to do and rather than try to restrict myself in order of a list . I will try and flow.

reformulating kite is one I am looking forward to sitting and working with that, mordanting in prep for natural dyeing, embroidery testers and anything else.. will write more later.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Fifi LaRue and her bootleg balancing act..

I found this Robilee Mcintyre after contemplating further the Prohibition Era and what is happening with the IFRA and 40th amendment.

It seems to be that when governments try to impose over-regulated laws, citizens rise up and challenge authority.

Flexibility and reason is the key, we do not want to become a society like George Orwells 1984..... where everyone is frightened to move because of Big Brother. There surely must be a way for which safety and creative endeavor can walk peaceably together. I think one of the natural perfumery group members put it beautifully, describing in a nutshell, if we do not take a step back we will be living in a plastic bubble..too frightened to come in contact with anything... I certainly do not want to end up in a Michael Frayn's ' A very private life' ...... it is all about communication based on intelligent interaction and balance.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Ingredients IFRA and the 40th amendment

Pear Snaps
Originally uploaded by maasha.

Dear Perfumistas

This could affect everyone in this community naturals or synths... please take the time to read and vote for Tony at Cropwatch. Your vote is important....... and let us take a stand for balanced reason . Listed below is first the vote then IFRAs response to cropwatch and finally the 40th amendment

I am glad to be a member of the natural perfumery community group..... this is what I said...

' Today, now more than ever ......Artisans are springing up intent to uphold the past traditions of excellence that has been laid down before us..... For example: the Art world has conservationists who study and learn the ways of the old masters so that when a priceless painting needs repair they use the same methods and materials to complete the restoration to exacting standard.....The same goes for listed building.... Cathedral restoration ...Textiles, restoring a piece of the Bayeux they don't use modern dyed threads but traditionally naturally dyed threads so that it is seamless. Artisans don't just use modern techniques and materials they use the knowledge of the best materials and available knowledge of the past because they know it is quality..... that speaks for itself .... these are the standards IFRA need to look at ..... respect and attention to past perfumers and how they approached their work.alongside the best of the present....When that fabulous age of perfumery came was there any IFRA then? Was there any need? Did anyone suffer ? Maybe.... we may not know..... but because of this age of communication everything is thrown under the microscope..... We are exceptionally lucky inasmuch modern technology has given a pallette of raw material that far exceeds what the past well as our understanding..... because of this and scientific breakdowns of molecular structures of oils good and bad , we have to somehow find a way to embrace the old and new traditions of excellence .....It may not be easy ...but, if there is a will there is a way.......'

Monday, 22 January 2007

Threads and woodruff

I Have continued thoughts and plans and samples on the machine. I am still unsure of the background colouration and what weight of threads to use. I am playing with a red background today and applied the beginnings of Galium odoratum (woodruff) ... fragrant flowered herb with whorls of lanceolate leaves and creamy star shape flowers. Interesting to note is that several species of this plant are used to curdle milk in cheese-making. I am using a heavier weight cotton and threads and am unsure at present how it shall develop. I liked the way I did the digitalis sampler that is on the NP group photos but I feel I need to explore fully different techniques until something clicks. These samples are all work in progress and will define the movement of the project.

Finally back on internet so can catch up with NP group and continue working on this so I can post it up.

Havn't felt like blending today although I still think about it and work things out in my head. There is a dusting of snow on the mountains and a cold north wind....brrrr.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Earth notes, birds, insects and trees

Saturday January 13th 2007

Kristina from the NBGW emailed yesterday and had some helpful suggestions regarding the dried material for the project. I responded and have also enquired about insect and birdlife round Llyn-y-fan..Also what trees are about the lake.... I know about the silver birches but it would be good to get a topography of the area. I still need to drive up there and take some photos. I will do that in spring when the weather is milder.

Went back to my deep dark base notes and was utterly delighted with it .... cocoa, ambergris, choka loban and vetiver have moulded together in the most scrumptious earthy note...
The Incense formulae needs adjusting...... I feel paraguaan guiaccwood to offset some of the sweet and spicy notes... give a fuller smoky note.... added that before I retired.

What I had planned and what I eventually do is always different ..... I always rebel against my own list of things to do.... rather funny really...

Friday, 12 January 2007

The story of The Physicians of Myddfai

January 12 2007

The Physicians of Myddfai

It was another spring morning and the farmer of Blaensawdde was watching his flocks on the shores of Llyn-y-Fan Fach on the slopes of the Black Mountain.

As the first rays of sunlight hit the shimmering waters there was a strange rippling on the surface of the lake and then he saw, sitting on a small rock the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The farmer gave his heart ..... he could think of only to share his barley bread but with a smile she refused

Cras dy fara Hard baked is thy bread
Nid hawdd fy nala It is not easy to catch me

With that there came a gentle breeze and as the waters on the lake rippled the sun glinted. For a moment he was blinded and as he looked again there was no rock and no maiden....

Twice more he came to the lake and twice more he was refused in the same manner. The third time he waited all day until the day cooled as the sun dropped from the western sky.... One by one the stars appeared mirrored on the lake ..... he felt despair.. with a sigh he threw the bread onto the water.

" I have no gold, silver or riches to offer thee, just the bread grown by my own hands from the rich earth. It is all I have to offer , save myself which is yours forever".

and threw the last bit of bread into the water as the moon rose over the mountain tops and laid a cold light over the broken waters.
He turned to give one last look and there standing on the lakeside was the lady of Llyn-y- Fan
laughing gaily.... " Truly I will have you for you offer as much s any true man many. But, beware, if you strike me three causeless blows no matter how gentle I will return to the lake and never more be with you..."

They were married and three sons were born...........sadly, three causeless blows were struck by the husband on three occasions which on the last occasion the faerie lady returned to the lake from whence she came. Their sons grew strong and wise and it was the fairy blood still flowed through their veins for they succeeded in all that they turned their hands to. It is said that had they chosen they could have become the richest and most powerful men in all Wales, but they had other purposes and turned instead to healing. Maybe it was the fairy blood within them, and maybe their mother visited oft-times to give them advice, for their herbs and remedies were renowned. They were the first of a long line of physicians.

excerpts from Lancaster University Alan Dix
edited by Janita Haan Morris
sourced from Myths & Legends of Wales by Tony Roberts
Welsh Legends and Folk Tales by Gwen Jones

note: The 14th century manuscripts that survive show the physicians access to European medical writing of their day as well as their sophisticated use of plant medicines.

Preparing the Way

january 11 2007

Had a good day in preparation for work... A basket file for all the current research and lists for the flowers of Myddfai. We had no electricity for the best part of the day .... so the fire was lit with logs and candles burned.... rather beautiful.

Thought on and off about Natashas perfume Kite... I will collect the authentic Linden from Caroline Monday and then will reblend (yup that naughty Linden got in my current work.....) I have given it to Caroline Ingraham now for her work with animals so that is the end of that. White Thyme and( green mandarin) marry together well. I have just come back to edit as since this has been posted there has been IFRA banning mandarin or its component..... So now I will have to look at an alternative and explain to Natasha why..... great...:-( Sharp and fresh. I shall have to put my thinking cap on. Natasha liked rosewood which I love too, but with endangerment I may replace it with Quinesssences rather beautiful linaloe wood. The balance between those three will have to be examined and with linaloe and rosewood the aroma is soft woody and round and may clutter the clean sharpness to the other two.... However, I will ascertain and assess their dry down times and adjust accordingly. Recheck the safety .... I am undecided whether to add the pink grapefruit I had in earlier..... but it will unfold when next I blend... I may make up an accord first and add a small amount to the top note to augment the others but I will see and think on for a bit. I will have to sit and think for a heck of alot more thanks to these IFRA 40th amendment issues..... time to download and assess it's potentail damage.

I have sent Kristina an email at the apothecaries garden about the dried material and am waiting for her response. It is now 2.16am and time for sleep.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Flowers of Myddfai

This shall be a travelling log ..... my meanderings and journeys of a Natural Perfumer. A noted history of all that transpires as the plant hunter explores this delicious world of natural origin.

I have begun work on the project explored last year with the National Botanic Garden of Wales based on the Physicians of Myddfai, part Myth and Folk tale, part truth and the healing plants they used in the community. I think I may change the title and call it (at present) 'Flowers of Myddfai' or even 'Healing flowers of Myddfai' ...... oh I am never very good at making decisions.... will leave it like that for the present. Will bring, hopefully the visual and perfume together.
I will narrate the story here at another post.

I have Professor Turners authentic list of plants used, about 92 in all and have begun separating them into botanical art plants and perfumery plants. I can then begin the line drawings and collect the best oils I can source to be used in a perfume for the column which I loosely titled the Physicians needle. David Mark from the Guild the authentic Potpourri maker from Chicago has been very helpful in the fixative area. I had a pretty good idea what I needed but he really dotted the i's and crossed the t's. Invaluable advice.. So that is written in my book for later.....

Today I looked at the different threads I had requested samples of and am still deciding on what background colour to use for the plants. Some of my research is just for me and is secret, but I do want to share to those who have shown such support and interest. I still need to contact Kirsty from the Apothecaries Garden who sent me the list of plants to enquire about the dried material. I also have to request samples of the type of fabric for which I will eventually machine onto.

The Victoria and Albert Museums Conservation dept have been most helpful as there were pertinent questions that needed answering. I will be keeping them posted on the development of this work as others in a newsletter from time to time. I am excited, nervous about this it willcertainly be an adventure...