Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rules? What rules?

Nobody can teach you to be a natural botanical perfumer.


They can teach you how to analyze and evaluate. They can teach you perfume history, and they can regurgitate information gleaned from the handful of perfume making books that specialize in pre-synthetics. They can even try to force you to follow methods of blending that directly relate to modern synthetic perfume formulation.

But they still cannot teach you to be a perfumer no matter how much money they charge for the service.

You teach yourself. You teach yourself because there are not yet any hard and fast rules in modern natural botanical perfumery. The same techniques and modes of blending used before the late 1800's don't apply -- there are far more raw materials in our palettes than there were then. Modern French techniques don't apply either.

As those folks who use these mismatched methods of instruction harp on and on about Edmond Roudnitska and Jean Carles, let them be reminded that these great perfumers made their mark because they tossed the rules.


Sara said...

Too true, the lot of it.

What it comes down to in part is the motivation of the student, methinks.

I don't even class the couple classes I took as classes, per se. They were more a collective experience. The jury is still out on whether I learned much, but that's water under the bridge several years later.

Something else though... as long as there are wishful thinkers that maybe with this class, or that class, that they'll be able to master the subject matter, this kind of thing is going to continue to be an issue. It plagues every art form and craft and trade.

In the end, are you looking to learn from someone who is self-taught? Do they demonstrate a mastery or at least solid working knowledge of materials, or do they just say they've mastered this and that, and they're acclaimed, and then do they hastily attach a list of other qualifications that have nothing to do with perfume?

Gail said...

The only time I pay attention to rules is when I am practicing technique. The rest of the time, I'm figuring ways to get over.

Education leads to standardized techniques.

Arts' secrets are occult but not invisible I think. gail