Recently I met with a "Culture Circle" group and brought as my contribution the samples of Ineke Ruhland - the four samples in her package, which have been reviewed beautifully and in depth by Legerdenez (see here for her wonderful posts on these fragrances). The Culture Circle idea is that a small group of people, about a dozen, meet about once a month and each brings an example of a creative cultural expression that they are excited about or that moves and inspires them, and then shares it with the others. Like a Dead Poets Society kind of thing, staying up late and talking about art, like we all used to do in our school days. It was my first meeting and I was the first ever to bring scent for their consideration and direct experience. An interesting point made was that many realized they don't think much about or stay aware of their sense of smell, even though it is obviously working all the time, and a few people said that because they now realize that they want to actively expand and fully develop all their senses it was good to be reminded of and to focus on this particular sense, with examples of artistry designed for it, because this directly powerful connection to memory can deepen and enliven an active experience of life continuously. These particular four fragrances are a carefully crafted distillation of beauty inspired by everyday life, and I think it was a successful beginning for me and for the idea of scent as an art form for them. Especially in the context of the other offerings, among which were beautifully performed pieces of music and poetry, a well told story, photography and a handmade object pieced together from carefully chosen special fabrics and colors. The fragrances and couple of small paintings I brought were a contrast because sense of smell and visual art are silent forms of communication, meant to evoke a strong connection to the subconscious and the physical body. They are not acts of performance as such, like music or dance or the reading of poetry or other writing can be, but act quietly. These sensual forms of art can contain a primal energy which can powerfully expand and complete the body's own mindful connection with the glorious and sometimes difficult natural and social world.
See www.ineke.com for more information on Ineke Perfumer-San Francisco.
See here about the Culture Circle concept.
Above illustration is a Persian miniature of a poet's meeting.