Do-It-Yourself is one of my favorite concepts. What it means to me is that when you want something in particular and you don't have it or can't get it, you take the option of making it for yourself. Many new artisan-perfumers are of this frame of mind, and have made perfumes which they imagined and wanted for themselves and others but which did not yet exist. Through experimentation, inspired by self knowledge and also paying attention to everyday ordinary life going on, a number have hand-made very distinctive versions of scent ideas ranging from the sweetness of violets and moss hidden in ferns growing in loamy earth, to strong tea with thinly sliced lemon, to black coffee with chocolate and unfiltered cigarettes, to metallic objects with sharp edges and corners and silver coins wrapped up in bruised flower petals, to all the other possibilities scent accords will allow.
I am thinking of Liz Zorn (Oolong, Sanctuary, Writing Lyrical Poetry) , Neil Morris (Dark Earth, Cafe and Spectral Violet) , Ava Luxe (Midnight Violet, Madame X), and many others. Playing around with the raw materials just as in any other materially based art like sculpture or painting can lead the direction. Sometimes thinking of the powerful plain poetry of single words (which are themselves huge concepts) such as tree, sun, leaf, rice, milk, grass, rain, tar, flame, stone, can act like a tiny bomb setting off a cascade of olfactory associations which are then combined and distilled. There is more than one road that may lead to the development and capture an accord that may viscerally demonstrate the essence of a meaningful encounter. These bursts of perfume creativity are coming from so many directions these days. It can make you feel like there's not time enough or skin, though still eager to try them all.
There must be some connection between this burst of creativity in perfume and the revival of other creative forms of embellishment of daily life, such as the new craft movement and so many people now making jewelry, wine, bread, or hand-restoring old gardens and houses, or making new ones from parts of old ones. Even the expansion of the pod-casting and blogging phenomenon documenting the experience of so many individuals brings something very singular to the public, not available otherwise. Just as now you can try to build and share your own life in a way that is comparable to an artistic creation, these new expressions in individual perfume making are shareable and accessible because of the ability to offer them directly to the public through the reach of the internet.
Herb Trek.com has clear directions for making your own tinctures and extracts from fresh herbal materials, which is one way to get started with the Do It Yourself scent making. Etsy is turning out to be a great way to get them out to the public, if you so desire.
Above photo of Liz Zorn's Tobacco and Tulle from Nathan Branch's site, where you may find a detailed review of same. It sounds delicious, and what a great inspiration -- tobacco and gauzey silk....