creative tension


creative tension in artI’m 47 now and in musing over what it is that I really want to do with my life energies in the next, say 10 years, I’ve allowed myself to be led by, more than push, mold or orchestrate, a dream.  This new way of approaching the “white space” in my life, those moments in our lives when we go through whole chunks of time not knowing what to do with ourselves, led me to something that has always defined the muted outlines of my family growing up – smelling good!  For most people their first memories of scent are linked to their mothers, and although every one of the six members of my family love perfume, it was my father’s interpretation of scent that I remember most.  You couldn’t go into his car, pick up one of his shirts, sit in his chair, or enter his musical lair without being hit by his olfactive signature.  In scent my father was everywhere and this desire to make our mark through scent has touched each one of us — right down to my daughter.

And so in this “white space” the desire “I want to create great smelling stuff” came through.

I’ve already got a name and a domain name and in between working on new formulations I pull up Illustrator and doodle at designing a label and other marketing bits (ass backwards, I now, but I am motivated by the whole and not just the parts).

For over a year now I’ve been researching the umteen pages of forums like Basenotes, sniffing out other blogs and other niche perfumers’ sites trying to get an insight into how to go about developing a nose for this craft.

So why are you writing a blog instead of making perfumes? Simple.

Right now a fair chunk of my change goes into sourcing good raw materials, both natural and synthetic, bottles for my tinctures and dilutions, alcohol, scale etc. and I’m fine with that, but I got to a point where the pressure was building, impatience really, it was a familiar tension that I’ve lived with for most of my creative life but now I am learning to channel it better, master it, because I’ve learned that that kind of impatience doesn’t help but hinders my process.

Sitting down one day in absolute frustration over the fact that my flow was somehow obstructed — the bottles hadn’t arrived yet, my next paycheque to purchase more EOs and bottles was 3 weeks away — whatever the reason the endless waiting was creating mounting frustration and I thought I’d explode that day when it struck me. The problem here isn’t a lack of funds or not having supplies, the problem is outflow.

How can I outflow, this creative energy, while still learning and building? Because that is the naked truth: I’m still very much a beginner.  Yes, with a passion and motivation, but a beginner.

The answer: write!

Write about the process – my unique creative process – my feelings about going through the process, the bumps and hurdles (especially living in Italy where regulations are stiff and the amount of red tape makes you want to give it all up), the baby steps, triumphs and absolute failures, it’s all important and it’s all part of creating.  Actually, I feel mighty lucky to have writing as a form of expression that I feel quite adept at while I’m still learning a new craft; I can channel that anxiousness into something like this blog that allows me to instantly manifest.

We get inundated with so many stories about artists that have already arrived (where we want to be, that is, we all know there’s no such place), have already built the successful business, created a line of 12 perfumes, studied at the school or alongside perfume (insert here whichever art you’re pursuing) masters of our dreams, developed the fantastic e-commerce website and given spectacular interviews left and right, it can all seem so defeating, like, why even try?!

We try for the simple, very basic need to create, express our unique essence in the world.

The creative tension created by the struggle between our desire, vision, and the current reality, how things truly are is absolutely essential to creation.  Or should I say the ability to master creative tension is essential to any artistic endeavour.

And so I blog.



2 thoughts on “creative tension

  1. Maxine, what a pleasure to read this blog. I identify completely . I am also on the course – Module 1 – five months into the course and all I want to do is create and create and create. Become so discouraged with failures and my own limited abilities. Doubting my nose and my judgement with no one to soundboard with. It is a lonely place studying like this. I do so hope to be able to attend the summer school next July in Como and it would be wonderful to meet you. Enjoying your blog


    1. Hello Bev! Welcome to the course, I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am – love it! Actually you’re lucky to allow yourself all those failures, that means you’re growing a very large library of what DOESN’T WORK which down the line, believe me is as important as knowing what does mix well together. Continue on and welcome those failures! I’m here, available whenever you want a sounding board :). You’re also right that this is a lonely art, that’s probably why I chose it, I know that, it fits perfectly well with my reclusive character. Looking forward to continued connections with you and definitely looking forward to meeting you next year in Como! Glad too, to hear you like the blog :). Have a wonderful weekend.


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