Kirsten Schilling: The Botanical Perfumer


A perfumer, cat lady, baker, tea-drinker and candlestick maker, I regard the natural world, and my work with plants, with the highest sense of enjoyment, scholarship, and reverence.


I have a background in art, art history, women’s studies, writing and literature. I began researching plant folklore and authentic medieval to Renaissance-era aromatics in 1999 with a burning desire to smell history, and have been creating handmade artisanal perfumes, and other aromatics from the heart, ever since.


A graduate student, I enjoy exploring the meeting of East and West through my study of Humanities, medieval studies, art history, literature, food, mythology, faery tales and the folklore of plants.

Arabesque pattern - insignia used by Arabesque Aromas natural botanical perfumes.
Kirsten and the Arabesque

The inspiration for Arabesque Aromas came during a spontaneous visit to the Islamic Decorative Arts wing of the V&A museum in London, 2008. My friend Brandi and I were absolutely mesmerized by the sumptuous color and intricate designs in the exhibit.


Many of the ornamental patterns featured stylized plants or flowers and these designs, I learned, were known as arabesques; a Western term used to describe an Eastern style in art.


The Arabesque is arranged symmetrically and extended indefinitely over a flat surface such as a textile, a decorative tile or an art object.


And another common characteristic of the Arabesque, according to the V&A, is to morph into fantastical forms unlike any seen in nature…


The thought occurred to me that, as within the decorative art, a similar abstraction occurs within the art of perfumery when mixing different botanical ingredients together to create an end result.


And Arabesque Aromas was born…