I choose to use the term “illuminated” for my botanical perfume brand for a variety of reasons. Some of you may have already heard, this story in some form or other. This post is for those who may not have heard the tale as of it.
It all started way back in August 2003 while I was juggling working as an illustrator, practicing and teaching aromatherapy and learning how to create pure fumes with essential oils. At the time I was reading quite a lot about the history of fragrance, specifically in Egypt , inspired by attending a class in Malibu with John Steele.
The three week long workshop took place in a small Austrian village, high up in the Alps, called Reichenau. The workshop, taught by artist Phillip Rubinov Jacobson, was titled Old Masters, New Visions. It centered on learning the secret, ancient painting technique called Mishe that had been resurrected by the visionary painter Ernst Fuchs. You can read more in depth on the subject here at the journal.
During the first week of the intensive we learned the history of the technique stemming from 14th and 15th century when artisans within the guilds of painting and alchemy shared their wisdom with each other. I became aware of the sacred triad that existed between art, perfumery and alchemy. The unifying component within this triad being the prima materia, plants! Thus, the term “illuminated” as in illuminated manuscripts and the aspect of bringing to light the beauty of plant matter in pure fume popped into my head like a lighting bolt. It also was made clear that Greg’s imagery would be perfect for the brand since he has a very old world, romantic quality to his work…besides the convenience of him being my partner.