Interview with Perfumer Lyn Ayre of Coeur d'Esprit + Giveaway
As part of SmellyBlog's series of conversations with perfumers, I am pleased to host Lyn Ayre of Coeur d'Esprit. Lyn is a Reiki healer and works with fractals, colours, crystals and pure natural essential oils, of course. If you have any questions for Lyn, or any thoughts about this interview, leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a collection of 4 perfume samples and fractal postcards by Coeur d'Esprit. You may also visit Lyn's blog to get to know her better.
Ayala Moriel/SmellyBlog: Where are you from, and how does this influence your perfumes?
Lyn Ayre/Coeur d'Esprit: I was born and raised in New Westminster. I traveled extensively then, 19 years ago, we settled in the French Quarter of Coquitlam, about ten minutes from where I was born.
The river, the rain, the snow, the distinct four seasons and the aromas each one has to offer has definitely affected me in ways I sometimes don’t even understand. My perfume ‘Coastal Rains’ is an effort to capture the wetness of my hometown; the times I spent dreaming and writing in front of a drop-covered window pane; and how my emotions were influenced by each season. ‘Inspiration from the Sea’ is an olfactory reminder of long-ago summer days in White Rock, Crescent Beach, and Boundary Bay, digging for sand crabs, building castles, investigating the seaweed, and walking on the wet sand for seemingly miles trying to reach the water at low tide. ‘Pink Conch’, the first in a series of Fibonacci Perfumes, is a whimsical journey of a drop of water from the bottom of the ocean floor to my perfume jus. So, in thinking about, yes, living in the South West corner of British Columbia has completely influenced my perfume characters. Sometimes, it’s like living inside a Monet Painting.
Ayala: Where did you get your perfumery training?
Lyn: I was introduced to Natural Perfumery through a course I took on Aromatherapy. One of my teachers told me that my remedies smelled more like perfumes. I have a good nose, natural innate blending talent, an excellent olfactory memory, and keep great notes. When I started out, there were no online courses in perfumery available to me so I consider myself to be self-trained. I read extensively and did a lot of research and experimentation all of which has served me well.
Perfuming literally became an obsession. I could not sit still anymore to watch a movie. I had to get up and get playing with my essential oils. I began to amass a wonderful collection of essential ingredients and tincturing various botanicals. I published a new page to my website and began to receive orders. I put together a little half-day course on making perfumes in 2004. I’ve been teaching various course on Natural Perfumer for nine years now.
I sometimes felt like a channel for some disembodied mad scientist cum perfumer who must and must and must make another perfume. So, I have literally made dozens of perfumes. I sometimes go back to them and toy around a bit but mostly, when it's done, it's done. I write, paint, and create music the same way – it just comes through me.
Ayala: When did you start Coeur d'Esprit? How did you pick the name?
Lyn: I began making perfumes in 2003. I already had a herbal dispensary named Heart of Gaia (Gaia means Mother Earth) so it just seemed a natural progression that my fumes be called Heart of Spirit or “Coeur d’Esprit”.
Ayala: What inspires you? Lyn: Life inspires me. I know that just breathing in and out is good enough. Anything over and above that is cream. I love the cream. I’m an artist and this comes out in many endeavours ie: writing, song-writer, singer, photography, pottery, painting, and perfumery. An alchemist at heart, combining lyric with melody, water with oil, essences with alcohol, apples with carrots, phthlalo blue with titanium white, clay with water, is all the same to me. It’s creation; it’s love; it’s life. I use my mediums to capture the essence of life.
Ayala: What is your vision for Coeur d'Esprit?
Lyn: I’ve enjoyed each phase of growth as I’ve gone along – designing and selling my fragrances; teaching the “A Path To the Heart of Spirit” Natural Perfume correspondence course to people from all over the world; visiting and learning in online chat rooms with fellow scent-seekers; meeting other perfumers; hosting the Canadian Artisan Natural Perfume yahoo group; and moving forward to co-operatively create a Guild for Canadian Natural Perfumers. We’ve already had our First Annual Conference of Canadian Natural Perfumers in May 2012. The BC contingent, of four natural perfumers, met in Nanaimo. I’m also developing a series of Fibonacci Perfumes and launched ‘Pink Conch’ on my birthday July 8th.
I love to teach so my vision also includes more of this. I currently teach a one-day introduction to perfume creation in oil; a five-day perfume intensive; and a full correspondence course.
Ayala: Where do you sell your perfumes?
Lyn: I sell them in-person at my Atelier in Coquitlam as well as from my website.
Ayala: What makes your perfumes unique? How would you describe or define your style?Lyn: My personal energy signature makes my perfumes unique. Every perfumer can say that. When we create, we may go into a theta/gamma brain wave where our consciousness can expand and open to new ways of doing things. Ideas flow unimpeded; different combinations of essences can present themselves, at this time. Everything that is on the earth began as an idea on the mental plane. It was envisioned then created. I work within this framework.
An idea will pop into my mind, generally with the questions ‘I wonder if...?’ or ‘What would happen when...?’ or ‘Is it possible to...?’ I mull it over and create the scent in my mind then set about creating it in my Atelier. I begin with the base notes as they will hold the other notes as they are dropped in. There may be accessory notes, at this point, to enhance something in the base chord. The heart notes are next. I may need to use bridge notes either between the head and heart or heart and base. The number of drops for each note are determined based on where I want to go with the scent. This is where thoroughly knowing ones perfume palette is essential. It is important to know the strength of each note and who plays well with whom. For instance, Ylang Ylang is very strong-willed so only a small amount is generally necessary or she will literally take over the blend.
Ayala: How did your background in alternative healing arts influence your work?
Lyn: Early in life, I learned that scent had the power to heal, soothe, capture the imagination, and, at times, make my Spirit soar.I've been hooked ever since. I also learned I had a particularly keen nose as I could smell things others couldn’t, i.e.: a gas leak, rotten food, and so on. I began doing ‘healing work’ 40 years ago so it is ingrained into every fiber of my being. Whatever my pursuit, I do it from a spiritual perspective and perfumery is no exception. I am not interested in becoming a commercial perfumer with a factory and chemist employed rather, I appreciate small limited contracts. In my work area, I am surrounded by the soft music of the Tibetan Singing Bowls, Fractal Energy Art, and deep peace. This produces an environment of free-flowing creativity in which I can manifest, from Spirit into physical, all of the ideas and inspirations that come to me.
Ayala: Do you make any other products besides perfume?
Lyn: I make a whole line of bath and beauty products as well as household cleaning products. Some of them are online. I love working with natural ingredients and the challenge of creating effective products, no matter what genre. As a side-note: I use Soap Nuts instead of laundry soap for the last two years and have never looked back. There are many people who have allergies and sometimes it has to do with the cleaning products they use.
Ayala: Tell me more about your educational work.
Lyn: I went to school here in BC completing grade 12 in 1969. I’ve since gone to college (SFU) for a few years, majoring in writing and business. I hold 49 certificates in various energy-healing modalities and in 2005 earned a Ph.D. in Energy Healing as a consideration for a lifetime of work spanning 30 years, at that point. My dissertation was on ‘The Efficacy of Energy Healing’.
Ayala: Thank you so much, Lyn! Wishing you a wonderful year 2014.
Lyn: Thanks so much, Ayala. Have a scent-filled year.