Monday, October 30, 2006

Shea buttuh, shea buttuh, shea buttuh!

Ahhh! Gotta love the shea buttuh! 'Tis the season to begin the whippin' of luscious shea; nilotica, raw unrefined, water refined, yellow, beige, greenish ~ whatever, it's good food for the winter beaten epidermis.

I've still got a couple pounds of some deliciously soft, blissfully scentless nilotica with which to add a few of my newly developed oil perfumes. Maybe some of Will's delightfully stanky choya loban. Ooh, maybe infuse a few tablespoons of grains of paradise in a little organic refined coconut oil for that 'lord it just rained can't you just smell the wet dirt?' essence.

Can't hardly wait to fire up the KitchenAid.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's in a name?

Three Peckered Goat.

What is this? No, it's not literally a three-peckered goat. It's the name of a deliciously oily coffee roasted by a company called Raven's Brew out of Alaska -- or Washington State.

And it makes the most insanely divine tincture.

Do you see a pattern here? Goat this and goat that . . . must be the year of the goat, eh?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Synthetics vs. Naturals

What? There's a debate?

To me it's like debating vegetarianism. Where's the freakin' debate? It's a choice, people. C-H-O-I-C-E, for whatever your reasons.

And who's to say what medium is best in which to create art? I remember several years ago reading an article about an artist who'd created sculptures with shit. Yeah, shit. Poo. Dooky. Doo-doo. Crap. Excrement. Critics razed this guy. Art lovers flocked to his show. He made loads of money and got his name all over the newspapers. And if I hadn't known the medium was crap, I might have looked harder, beyond the materials used, to the actual art, because honestly I can't say whether or not the sculptures themselves were aesthetically pleasing ~ to me.

So here we are, standing in the middle of a great Synthetics vs. Naturals debate that quite frankly just seems silly. A certain writer, with no obvious experience in the world of natural perfumery, has been bashing the use of all natural ingredients in perfumery from his lofty position in a well-read American newspaper. Natural perfumers don't like it. They don't like him. There are camps in the debate that say 'Let's go after the bastard!', others whose position is to leave him be and hope he'll just go away. One *almost* feasible response to this kind of bad press is to make something (a natural perfume) so extraordinary that he'd seem an ass to continue his hostile attitude, but this road is booby trapped. On the other hand, ignoring him seems the better option. No artist ever made great art with revenge as his medium (this is not the same as revenge as his muse).

How we ascend to that place in our hearts where joy and love and peace surround us is our business, even if it means adding a drop of aldehyde c-11. Choice and art. Art and choice. See? No debate.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More Tincturing

Tincturing has become my newest obsession. A dear friend of mine likes to say she can (and will) tincture ANYTHING. A dirty shirt? No problem. Soiled socks? Toss those puppies in the sauce! After throwing ideas at her, her list of 'I Will Tincture' starts to sound like the ingredients to a very potent witch's brew. Skin of toad and eye of salamander, toe of a condemned criminal and the ex's blackened soul. *Cackle!*

And maybe in some small sense, this is what I'm trying to do within my tincturing adventures -- find some special witch's brew of essence.

Like this dark, soupy, almost resinous green tea tincture that's more like an essential oil or diluted absolute than anything else. When I sniff it, I think of bongwater, mossy rocks in a cold running stream, the loamy soil of a warm forest floor.

Tincturing is an artform itself. No, it isn't difficult to gather up the materials, fill a jar with them and pour a good alcohol over the top. But selecting the right materials at the right time, finding the just right proportions and knowing when to decant the resultant sauce is a trick.

I now have requests to tincture from customers. Can you believe that? One woman wants me to tincture her bra to extract the essence of lactation and warm mother's skin. Wild.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Perfume Counter

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people still raise their eyebrows a titch and paste on one of those pretend smiles when they ask me what I do and I go into my late-in-life career*slash*art introduction speech.

Perfume? Natural perfume?

But I couldn't have been more surprised than I was when I visited the local perfume store and found someone who actually got it. And it was the perfume salesperson! You just cannot know how wonderful it feels to have piqued and held someone's interest while droning on about tinctures, dilutions, absolutes, essential oils, organic grape alcohol and dreams of Grasse while grasping a half dozen scent strips stinking of synthetics. You just can't -- unless you've been there.


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