Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Art of Collaboration: Rachelle Garniez and Her Signature Scent

A few years ago I decided that working collaboratively was going to be far more interesting than anything I could come up with on my own.  After years of insisting on working solo and rejecting any input I suddenly came around to the notion of how creative it could be to work with others.  I've always loved an assignment, someone suggesting a project that has to be worked within guidelines.  A blank white page can be thrilling but often intimidating and overwhelming.  Collaborating is more like working within the guidelines, testing how creative you can be within certain boundaries.  I also enjoy the chance to step outside of working in isolation and having another to share ideas with.

Rachelle Garniez
I met Rachelle Garniez a few years ago at a local music venue.  She was listed on the events calendar as "an accordionist and chanteuse extraordinaire" and I was intrigued.  I loved the show and kept coming back until we finally talked and became friends.  She expressed a love of perfume and as I warmed up to the idea of a collaboration I approached her with the idea of turning one of her songs into a fragrance.  She loved the idea and suggested "Tourmaline", off of her cd, Melusine Years.

After spending some time listening to the song we finally got together to start blending, not sure exactly how to put musical notes to fragrance but we knew we wanted the scent to be uplifting and spirited, like the song.  We loved the tobacco absolute and how it pared with peru balsam.  A touch of ambrette and guaicwood rounded out our bottom chord.  Linden and orange flower absolute became the basis of the heart note with honey absolute, neroli and carnation giving it a bit more edge.  Rosewood and bitter orange top out the fragrance.

I made a limited edition of the perfume for a pair of shows that Rachelle was doing at the locally famous Joe's Pub in Manhattan.  It was a joy for me to dab perfume on the many outstretched wrists after the show.  I mingled with the crowd afterward and got a chance to really smell how the perfume interacted with each woman's particular chemical make-up.

I recently sold the last bottle of Tourmaline.  After seeing Rachelle perform again last night I've decided to make another batch.  Working with those particular oils again transports me back to that long afternoon spent blending while a lost butterfly fluttered around my studio.  Trish at Scent Hive has written a lovely revue of Tourmaline which you can read here.

Rachelle is releasing her new cd, Sad-Dead-Alive-Happy, at Dixon Place in Manhattan on Friday, November 11th at 8:30.  I'll be there dabbing wrists after the show.