YOUR PERFUMER, Ananda Wilson
(this segment is in progress)
I come to you first as an artist, second as an herbalist, and thirdly, 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. 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, 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 purity and authenticity. I wouldn't make anything I wouldn't want my children using.
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 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 Compay. 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 time practicing, experimenting, learning, and smelling. In addition I've had the pleasure of time in broader realms of plant healing over the years; everything from starting (with my mom) an herbal product and skin care line founded in 1997, teaching aromatherapy and herbalism, botany and herbal medicine, wilderness herbalism, and creating and selling over 80 different botanical perfumes over the years.
I bring a sense of empowerment to much of my work - self growth work has been a large influence on me. 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.
One of my favorite projects is a collaboration that I have with Alexandra Schueler. We created a line of botanical perfumes called ARCHETYPE and each fragrance calls upon and embodies an archetype. These archetypes are historically considered 'feminine' but we know today that this spectrum is present and alive in all of us. We have created The Wild Woman, The Maiden, and The Witch, with a Fourth one in process.
Gather perfume began as Amrita Aromatics in 2003, and became Gather perfume in August of 2017.