YOUR PERFUMER, Ananda Wilson
I come to you as an artist, an herbalist, and a mother.
My background is as a contemporary dancer. Touring as a performer, teaching, and choreographing dance is really the lens through which I see and approach the world. I look for ways to create, hone skill, compose elements, and then use that to express emotion, human experience, and juxtapose the abstract with the literal. I see perfume this same way - as a medium of sensory experience and of living an artistic life through the body. It is a way to tell a story, to compose a song, to paint a landscape, to read a poem, to process a feeling, or recall a memory. I want it to contain a little of the familiar, a little of the unfamiliar, and a cadence or crescendo, but most importantly, I want you to be moved.
My secondary background is plant medicine - it never occurred to me to make products from synthetics, as plants have always been my primary medicine. Coming from seasoned herbalist mother, and being raised in the Transcendental Meditation community of Fairfield, IA, I was brought up in a bubble of natural health, good food, aromatherapy, self care, yoga, nature connection, and all things ayurvedic. While I did have a few trysts with designer fragrances when I was a teen, I was quick to learn their synthetic ingredients and cloying ways were not for me, and returned to the warmth and complexity of natural oils and the delight of working hands on with plant materials.
Thirdly, as a mother of two, even though they are young adults now, my approach to products is that of botanical purity and authenticity. While the "natural versus synthetics" debate is complex, nuanced, and heated, I choose to work with naturals because that is what I love and makes me feel both alive and connected to nature, and is what I feel is most compatible with our human bodies. While I hold strong passion for what I choose, I'm not here to shame or pontificate.
Creating perfume is a natural extension of my life - a way to give art and beauty to others, to serve in a way that is beyond material products. I wish to invoke experience, to lavish you with delight and pleasure and curiosity, and to connect you with a facet of the divine through the transcendent experience of smell.
In my years focusing primarily on perfume, I have enjoyed studying with Charna of Providence Perfume Company. I have completed 5 + of her perfumery intensives and apply much of what I have learned to my work. Aside from her teachings, I am entirely self taught in the art of botanical perfumery and have spent significant years practicing, experimenting, learning, and smelling. In addition I've had the pleasure of time in broader realms of plant healing; everything from starting (with my mom) an herbal product and skin care line founded in 1996, teaching aromatherapy and herbalism, botany and herbal medicine, wilderness herbalism, and creating and selling over 80 different botanical perfumes over the years.
I'm currently a competitive masters Olympic weightlifter and have competed three times at national level meets, one resulting in three gold medals.
I bring a sense of empowerment and philosophical inquiry to most of my work - self growth has been a large influence on me and emerges in much of my artistic process. For many years I attended the Women's Herbal Conference with my mom and daughter, and I founded one of the first Red Tent Temples which ran for four years. I studied with Susan Weed and completed her Green Witch course, and have spent countless hours studying and cooking traditional hunter-gatherer food ways. I am always seeking ways to move through the ecstasy, mystery, and challenge of being human, through art.
The overlapping and interacting elements of perfume, poetry, dance, music, and nature are what moves me to create.
Gather perfume began as Blissful Botanicals in 1996, then Amrita Aromatics in 2003, and finally became Gather perfume in August of 2017.