I've taken soap- and candle-making classes at various organizations including Abbey Brown, and I'm also very interested in natural botanical perfumemaking. A year ago, I read a wonderful book about the history of NBP, Essence and Alchemy, by perfumer Mandy Aftelier. Among other things, it goes into the "primal" nature of scent, the history of perfume and why she chooses not to use synthetics (a unique perfumery choice.)
Today's natural botanical perfumery class at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, taught by the talented and generous Jessica Hannah, (who has studied with Mandy and is influenced by her). I learned so much, and love the vetiver-heavy custom perfume I made today. Jessica spoke passionately and emotionally about the proper and sustainable use of essential oils, and got me even more excited about delving into this world of NBP. Now, I feel ready to make some blends of my own; starting with a mosquito-repelling blend (using things like cedar, lavender, citrus--all proven to repel the pests).