“My dream has been to create something truly special, distinctive and lovely from nature; the scent, that when adorned, would evoke the story and mood of the carefully selected notes and essences that were chosen for each artisan crafted perfume and cologne.
I believe in the power of weaving a story out of natures own roots, flowers, leaves, wood, spices and fruits…”
-Tommie Flannery Baskis-
I was always intrigued by the sensual nature of plants, trees and scents as a child. Since I was young I was helping my Father in the garden, watching him tend his plants, all of the camping and hiking trips growing up we would take and spending time in my Grandmother’s kitchen, enjoying the lovely scents from spices she used when baking; I knew then, I had a true desire to learn and experience nature through wild plants, trees and the great outdoors.
I studied the ‘Old ways’ of the Shaker women and men and set out to learn about the medicinal properties of plants. I would find many interesting plants like wild carrot, Cattails, which the pulp like substance makes a flour substitute. Chicory roots and dandelions were always abundant in the warm spring and summer in the hills of Indiana and Kentucky.
I loved to explore old cemeteries for my books and would also find many wild plants nearby, in the forest. The sumac I am cutting is from an old Kentucky cemetery.
I loved reading the old folklore of my ancestors in the Appalachian Mountains who loved to weave a good story and used plants in many interesting ways. I studied readings and spoke with women that new about early dye making we call ‘Staining’, from berries, nuts, roots and other plants.
I enjoyed staining cloth with Poke berries I would find in summer. The Poke berries make a gorgeous hues of purple red varieties. Raspberries and blueberries also make great stains. Roots of plants and barks also make an array of light tints to use.
It only seemed natural for me to start incorporating my love of plants into creating distinctive scents that are natural for women and men to wear. This inspiration into starting my Angel Blue Perfume LLC company started early and I love to search out wild plants to bring back to my perfume studio.
I also harvest our own honeysuckle for my ‘Lady Lonicera’ luxury perfume that is processed with our Patented Polar Solvent Extraction system.
I hope you enjoy the photographs above and stay tuned for more writings on my journeys for plant and wild flower gathering.
Beautiful Autumn Sumac – Rhus spp.- I will elaborate a bit on Sumac but will reserve more information about this interesting edible plant for my posts dealing with Wild and Edible Plants.
These are very pretty small shrub like or trees with compound leaf structures, pithy twigs with a milky sap. The fruit berry is in a dense cluster with small, hairy and dry fruit. If you rub the berries gently and soak in cool water for 10 -20 minutes it will yield a vitamin C rich when sweetened, tasting like pink lemonade. You must drain this juice through cheesecloth to remove little hairs and berries. I would find this on almost every deep woods trail I would hike. It is very abundant on Upland open fields in IL, IN, KY, TN and Northern GA.
Sumac is a wonderful light dye to use on soft creamy or white linens.
The sumac I am cutting in the old cemetery is in Bear Wallow, KY is an unincorporated crossroads village in Washington County. The County was named after George Washington and was founded in 1792.
The story behind the name of Bear Wallow is that there was a small depression that bears would come to wallow in the mud.
(c.) 2019 Written by- Tommie Flannery Baskis