Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sending Love and Thanks to the Teachers, the Crones, the Wizards, the Mentors of Perfumery

 A beautiful fanciful image of a tree with branches that form a heart, 
rising up from deep roots.

I was speaking with one of the wise women of perfumery the other day and she bemoaned the fact that today's crop of students, followers, enthusiasts -- whatever the term may be -- were so easily shedding any bit of acknowledgment of those who came before and helped them on the perfumed path.  I reminded her that this is not a current problem, because perfumery for centuries has been fraught with jealousy, corruption and all sorts of chicanery. So odd to remember my studies in university that the spice trade of old, herbalism and many other scented or healing arts are the same way.

Remembering back to 1976, when I discovered William I. Kaufman's book Perfumery and the lush photos and history of perfumery and the -gasp!- essays by Edmund Roudnitska and Jean Carles, I can only smile at the great, fantastic strides that have occurred in this world, where artisan perfumery now can challenge, in a tiny way, mainstream perfumery. Kaufman's inclusion of those essays started me on my perfume studies.

I only wish I could remember the names of the two gentlemen who ran the Bannockburn Bookstore on the University of Riverside campus. They were retired salesmen from major perfumery supply houses, and they gave me some of their old sample cases with dozens of essences in them, and a lot of leisurely afternoons where they shared stories about the industry. They had retired from the New York/New Jersey area, so they knew everything about everybody in perfumery in the 40's, 50's and 60's. How I wish I had taken notes!

By the time I got around to writing this Valentine to all who came before me, and with all intentions of trying to inspire others to honor those who have done so little as to just help them source bottles, I find it's 9:00 PM and I'm exhausted. I'll continue this another day, perhaps even make it a series of thankful notes.

One person who did get a lovely blog out today on this theme is a young American perfumery student in France. His eloquent post touched upon many of the ideals I was going to write about, but he says it a lot better. Please go read and take a moment to think of those who have helped you on the path.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?"  William A. Ward 

"Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people" Samuel Johnson

"Ingratitude is the essence of vileness" Immanuel Kant

"Take from the altars of the past the fire - not the ashes."  Jean Jaures

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Anya for your support..Thank you for taking on the Guild from Mandy and for the NP group on yahoo. It has been a great ride. Lots of people have learned about natural perfume in all its glory..In gratitude, JoAnne


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.