September 7, 2015
Miriam Carl of Kindred Earth Botanicals
Profile:I was born on the winter solstice. My name, Miriam, is a bit unusual and old fashioned – a bit like me. I grew up in northern Illinois, with the forest preserve as my backyard. Our living room had a glass wall that faced the forest, and as a young girl I would simply sit and stare out, transfixed by the beauty and vastness of that world.
Exploring the woods behind the house was one of my favorite pastimes. I also remember the scent of lush, white and magenta peonies that grew in big bunches in our front yard.
Peonies – an early scent memory
I've had an interest in scent for as long as I can remember. I was always very sensitive, and I believe that a keen sense of smell is a facet of that sensitivity. I also felt a kinship for things and times past; I loved Turner Classic Movies and old books. I think a feeling of longing is definitely connected to the world of perfume. I imagine other perfumers also have a strong sense of nostalgia.
Handcrafted Soaps made with essential oils
I started making my own handcrafted soap when I was twelve. That was the beginning of my creative experiments with scent. I continued to make artisan soap for over ten years. In my mid twenties, I discovered essential oils and aromatherapy, and while I had enjoyed many other topics before, this was different – it felt like a calling. I started traveling to study more deeply, and this led me to meet many other individuals in the field. I was amazed by their intelligence and kindness. There was so much to be excited about. I completed a 400 hour clinical aromatherapy certification at The East West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, and I continue to learn everything I can.
Rose by Candlelight
While I love the therapeutic power of aromatherapy, I also equally enjoy creating formulas just for the beauty of the scent. I strongly believe that the sense of smell is the most under acknowledged sense. I think many people are now waking up to how deeply it affects our lives. A truly wonderful scent becomes unforgettable; it will forever imprint itself into the limbic system. There's no other human sense that has such a direct connection to this emotional part of the brain. Helen Keller said it best: “A whiff of the universe makes us dream of worlds we have never seen, recalls in a flash entire epochs of our dearest experience."
Miriam Carl Exploring a Cabin in Winnetka Illinois
I think people are always looking for a transcendent experience, and when perfume is exceptional, it does offer that. I know of a man who argued that hurricanes can actually make people feel good. The idea is that they lift people out of an everyday malaise; a free-floating despair associated with the feeling that you’re not a part of the world or connected to the people in it. I think perfume has an oddly similar effect; it lifts people out of their mundane existence and it shows them a glimpse of another world; another place or time. It makes us feel something we have long forgotten, and it makes us dream again. There’s a lot of fragmentation and alienation in the modern world. I think that’s why so many of us are reconnecting with the earth in various ways. There’s a subconscious desire to gain what’s been lost.
Miriam Carl creates tinctures and uses all botanical essences in her fragrances
In 2013, I founded my aromatherapy business: Kindred Earth Botanicals. I love to weave beauty, healing, poetry and seasonal wisdom together. As a budding perfumer, it’s a joy to add perfume to my offerings. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to study with both Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co, and Jessica Hannah (who won this year’s Art and Olfaction Award for Skive). At Kindred Earth Botanicals, I create my own handcrafted botanical tinctures, and I source only the finest natural materials from all over the world. It’s always so exciting to introduce these essences to my clients.
Essences and raw materials from Miriam’s Perfume Organ and Workspace
On American Perfumery: I’m still very much a beginner, so it’s taken some faith to just jump in and start creating. There is a quote by Michael Meade that comes to mind. "The hardest thing is to believe oneself, and yet there's really nothing else we have to offer." I think it’s a really exciting and ideal time to be a natural independent perfumer. While there are guidelines to perfume, there are no rules. If the scent is brilliant, it doesn’t matter how you got there. So we all find our own way.
The Bus to Veracruz by Richard Shelton is an Amazon.com Best Book of 2015
Favorite American Artist: Richard Shelton is a poet who I deeply admire. He imprints themes of landscape, memory, and human nature in the reader’s mind. I can read “The Bus To Veracruz” over and over and still find new layers of meaning. The desert southwest is his muse; I hope to one day create a perfume that captures the beauty of that region. There is an undercurrent of sadness and even bleakness in his poetry, but he also alludes to glimpses of hope and renewal.
Miriam Carl, Owner and Perfumer for Kindred Earth Botanicals.
Kindred Earth Botanicals Visions in the Garden and Cafe Providence
Thanks to Miriam Carl we have a draw for a US or Canadian registered reader of their choice of full size bottle of either Autumn Afternoon, Visions in the Garden, Labyrinth, Café Providence or a sampler set of all four botanical perfumes. To be eligible please leave a comment with what you found fascinating about Miriam Carl’s path to perfumery and your choice of fragrance should you win. Draw closes September 9, 2015
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