Cross-pollination

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Good Monday morning everyone!

Above a scanned sketch I made, of a bottle of Chanel N°5 that my daughter gave me as a present. I’m a total newbie to drawing and painting so sharing these first attempts is risky. I can already pick out a gazillion mistakes and it makes me cringe, but that’s not the purpose of sharing this.

Yep, among the many things I’m learning I’ve taken up drawing and watercolour painting which segues quite nicely into todays thoughts – the cross-pollination in art and life of many things that may on the surface seem unrelated but which in fact are dear relatives. The dictionary defines “cross-pollination” as: influence or inspiration between or among diverse elements…a sharing or interchange of knowledge, ideas, etc. as for mutual enrichment; cross-fertilization.

Learning about art is a wonderful support and partner to learning perfumery – smell can take one into a heightened state of awareness and drawing allows you to loosen up and let go and see new relationships.  I find the warm up exercises, making circles with your whole arm, making lines, cubes, etc. they help me let go of the fear of making a mistake because I’m simply making marks on the page without judgment. The whole point is to loosen up and just do.

It’s easier in art to make mistakes – just erase a line or two or the whole thing or rip up the page and start all over again. Not so with learning perfumery, we tend to hold on to the mistakes because, hey, throwing away 10ml or 20ml of trials is like throwing away €50. And who wants to throw away money?! But throw away money we must if we are to get better. Learning perfumery is about experimentation – lots of it! And the learning shouldn’t be hindered by thoughts of “oh, shit, there goes €100!”.

It’s easier in art to make your mark, just pick up a box of crayons and a napkin and start doodling and call it done. A lot harder I find, to make your mark in perfumery since the challenges are many: the cost is rather high to experiment, the difficulties importing raw materials here in the EU, shipping issues, EU regulations, and simply the length of time it takes to evaluate an experiment. They all add up and many times I find the whole endeavour fraught with paralysing doubt, leading me down a path of OCD, the path of perfection, and of least practice. I had to find a way around these obstacles to learning and found that opening myself up to other avenues of creative expression does take the pressure off of learning a very expensive craft.

It’s easy to forget when working with essential oils that cost a small fortune that the important thing is to create, to do, to get your expression out of you and share it with the world. Whether we sell that expression of creativity is irrelevant to the journey of creating. What is important is to simply make – to engage with curiosity in the journey from imagination to hand to thing.

Sure it’s scary to make art or perfumes — anything that engages Soul authentically is frightening. Making art, making one’s own marks makes the heart beat faster — whether that’s painting, perfumery, sewing or architecture. But, in the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, “I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

So, let’s move boldly into our creations. Go make something today!

In joy,

MC


 

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Merry Christmas!

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This is the festival of lights!

Sure it’s the darkest time of the year, but remember, “…a certain darkness is needed to see the stars!” Christmas time is simply another one of the many nudges we get during the year to let in as much light and love into our lives.

This is the last post for the year for me, I’ve got a house to prepare, food to fuss over, gifts to wrap but first and foremost I am preparing myself to leave everything else, school, blog, teaching, at the door and just be in the moment, be present and enjoy every moment of having those I love near.

Wishing you and those you love a wonderful, very warm, jolly, merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Thank you for being with me this year as I grew personally in so many ways. Stick around I’ve got a lot of interesting things planned.

See you in 2015!

In-joy,

MC


 

thank you!

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When is the right moment to say thank you? Just Thanksgiving? Just Christmas, or your birthday or Valentine’s Day? Can you ever say it enough? I don’t think so.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I was completely overcome by a sense of gratitude that I knew I had to write and tell you all how grateful I am for you giving me this opportunity to write and to share what I love. It’s one of the most beautiful gifts one can receive on a birthday.

There are times when I feel so moved by the thought that hey, there are 80+ people who have signed up for Her Two Scents. Not all read them, for sure, but when I began I didn’t think I’d touch 80 people with my writing and my passion for perfume making, but here I am.

As a writer there is not greater feeling than knowing your words are read and appreciated and hopefully changing peoples’ lives.  As a perfumer-in-training there is no greater motivation for me to learn my notes than knowing that others are also looking to learn from my mistakes and successes.

For this I wanted to send you all, each and every one of you who read these words every week, a very special thank you! Thank you! Merci! Danke Schoen! Grazie Mille!  אַ דאַנק! شكرا! hvala! To all the readers of Her Two Scents that make sniffing and writing and formulating and sharing worthwhile!  I look forward to growing with you for many years to come!

P.S. Next week I’ll be profiling 3 synthetics: Orriniff, Verymoss and Velvione!

In-joy!

MC


perfumer’s inspiration for today

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This perfumer’s inspiration for today – hydrangeas! Perfume inspiration can come from anywhere, from anything and anyone. What inspires a perfume, I often ask myself? What inspires a perfumer? When I think about the things that inspire me to build accords, discover new aromas and create new perfumes I have to list hydrangeas right up there near the top of the list.

There’s a big ‘ol hydrangea bush right outside our front door which brings me endless amounts of joy from the early summer to late fall. I love its big, fat globes of light, tender colours in the summer. When it rains the branches hang heavily, drooping under the weight and you know it’s both happy for the drink but also straining to keep from breaking.

Then comes my favourite season — fall — and its breath-taking colours from deep greens to the prissy pinks and pompous pomegranate hues. Then just right around the first week in October LV and I begin to harvest them which he makes into about 10-14 ginormous bunches to dress up the home for fall.  Oh, and guess what? They smell like hay when they first begin to dry out. Love that!

Joyously I fly around the house placing them wherever the rooms declare they would like to have one (yes, the house speaks to me and I listen).

I have been in love with hydrangeas for as long as I could call them by name. When I am in the studio formulating or writing, their colours, graciously bleeding one into the other on each beautiful petal, caress the deepest part of me to remind me to be gentle with myself and that there is no end to the beauty in this world. This is the greatness to which I aspire in anything I do from perfumery to teaching to cooking to mending socks.

Beauty is everywhere and anything that reminds me of this truth is without a doubt a blessing in my life for which I am profoundly grateful.

Have a great weekend!

today’s inspiration

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While at the beach this summer I rolled over and found this acorn cap. I love acorns! This one feels fuzzy, soft and is incredibly tiny.

When I came home I put it on the cap of the bottle I’ve chosen for my perfumes when they’re ready to be packaged and voilà! It’s like this photo was waiting to be made. I’m inspired by it’s fawn-like colours — all the colours that are so me.

Pulling out the macro lens to shoot this made me consider the details of life and the beauty that is all around me, even in a careless moment like turning around to tan my backside!

See, little things can inspire greatness. Think of the power in such a little acorn cap to stir the soul of a human being, me, and set a spark to my imagination today to pick up my camera and take a shot of one of the many details of my life as it unfolds. It’s hard not to feel grateful.

What beauty do you see around you and how is it helping you create the life you love?