“The blossoms gathered after sundown,
carefully separated from stalks and leaves,
are macerated in virgin olive oil of very fine
quality at ordinary temperature for twenty
four hours, after which they are strained
out and pressed, fresh flowers being added.
This operation is repeated for seven days.
One part of this perfumed oil is macerated
with one part of pure spirit at 60 per cent
over proof for seven days, being frequently
agitated. Lastly, the oil is allowed to
separate, and the spirit (which has become
perfume) carefully poured off.”
recipe from Traralgon Record, 21 August 1896 supplied by National Library of Australia
The scent of bush wattle, once sweet and wild, is bottled and divided. Our hearts break.
The scent of bush wattle settles on our wrists. We sometimes find strength in small things.
We wear our defiance beneath our sleeves.
Artists often work by thinking through objects; teasing out the many associations that a substance might hold to those things that their minds are concerned with. Going through the motions of making this perfume brings up questions for me about the place I call home, about ownership and belonging; about connections lost, and broken family lines; about the mistakes of the past, and the mistakes of the present. The question of identity, or of a national identity, constantly redefined. Am I the people or the land, separate to or part of something? Was this the best thing to do with a sprig of wattle?
I acknowledge and respect the palawa people as the traditional and ongoing custodians of lutruwita, the land in which I live and work, the land in which these flowers grew. I offer my respect to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty of the land was never ceded.