Soliflore Notes | Snapshot #8, Maria McElroy, aroma M
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Snapshot #8, Maria McElroy, aroma M

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Snapshot #8, Maria McElroy, aroma M

Posted by Valerie Vitale in Snapshots 11 May 2013

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Maria McElroy is one of the few deeply glamorous people that I know. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit her studio, and experience her keen eye for detail, reverence for ceremony, and infectious laughter. I first met Maria earlier this year at Les Christophs show at the Dillon Gallery in NYC; I can still see Maria with blotter in hand and eyes closed savoring every scented moment. Note: Maria envisioned the fragrance for her Camellia face and hair (and soon to be) body oils as if they were a veil, and the combination of application and veiled scent helps to both ground and elevate the day, not to mention the skin and hair. Brava. Enjoy, VV

VV
What are you up to these days?

 

MM
There is a lot of activity at aroma M these days! I just launched aroma M Beauty, my organic Camellia Face and Hair Oils, and I am now formulating the next product in the line, Camellia Body/Bath Oil to launch in a few months. I am so excited about this oil, it looks like liquid gold and the fragrance is based on the face oil blend, with the addition of Moroccan Rose Oil. I’m really loving it! I have also started Art of Perfume classes with my House of Cherry Bomb partner, Alexis Karl. We have some really fun classes lined up this summer at the Dumbo studio. The one I am waiting for is ‘God Save the Queen: A Riot of Punk Perfume’ in June.

 

VV
Please let us know where you were born and raised? Can you share a visual and scent memory that stays with you from that time?

 

MM
I was born and raised in SLC, Utah. The visual I have is of the soaring mountains, and now as an adult I realize the scent in those mountains was crystal clear air. So pure… how I would imagine sky blue would smell.

 

VV
You have such a deep connection to Japanese culture in many ways; Can you give us a little window into your time there, a day in the life of…..?

 

MM
Well, I should start off by saying that I really feel Japan is my second home. I loved the time that I lived there. It was filled with adventure and inspiration. There was always something new to be learned and experienced everyday. My memory is that I felt very alive with a sense of excitement.

 

VV
Where exactly did you live in Japan, and how long did you live there? Can you describe what indelible impressions that were made upon your return to the states?

 

MM
I lived in Tokyo for seven years, and that time made a big impression on me, mostly in the way that the traditional arts and culture have helped me approach not just my creative endeavors, but life itself.

 

VV
Does it continue to influence your everyday world? If so, how?

 

MM
Yes it does. My husband is Japanese and a chef, so we are able to share many of the parts of the culture and philosophy that we both embrace. I always tease him that he is the last Samurai, because he has such integrity and humbleness- things that we both value.

 

VV
Do you have a daily ritual that you can share with us?

 

MM
I love rituals, so I have many! A few are: I start my day by lighting Japanese incense and meditate. I drink green tea every morning, and in this last year, have added a fresh green juice to my regime. I really think that green juices are the fountain of youth and energy!

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Maria McElroy

VV
When do you wear a fragrance; is there ever a time when you don’t?

 

MM
I wear fragrance before I go to bed at night, and always start the day with perfume. The only time I don’t wear perfume is when I go to the Zen center for meditation. I feel that the incense in the meditation room is enough and I don’t want to distract others from their practice.

 

VV
Does blending and working with raw materials influence you physically/emotionally? If so, can you explain a feeling that has stayed with you?

MM
It is such a joy to be able to work with these wonderful elixirs. Every time I blend, I experience an almost time stopping feeling. The fragrances are often enveloping and I am able to be in the moment you might say. Certain fragrances can really take you away on a physical and emotional level. I have always felt it is a kind of magic to work with perfumes.

VV
If you could sit down and have a conversation with anyone living or dead who would that be?

 

MM
Cleopatra

Lyndsey Marshal as Cleopatra

VV
How did your passion for the visual morph into your passion for olfaction?

 

MM
It was really organic. It felt very natural to create scents inspired by colors.VV
When you travel, what items do you not leave home without?

 

MM
I always take an amulet that I got at a temple in Kyoto that is for travel protection; I don’t like airplanes very much. I also always carry a Lavender scented handkerchief.

 

VV
Do you have a favorite book?

 

MM
The Tale of Gengi
http://www.learner.org/courses/worldlit/the-tale-of-genji

 

VV
A favorite cocktail?

 

MM
One of my other projects I’m working on is the House of Spirits, which is part of House of Cherry Bomb. We are creating flavored Vodka’s and Liquor’s. My favorite cocktail of the moment is our Fig Vodka over ice, it’s delicious!

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