a workshop with Bon Bon bon
gallery of photos by Chris Gerrard
One of my all-time favorite travel memories is a cooking class. I was travelling with three other women (my mom, my cousin and her mom) and we took a cooking class at a small women-owned shop in Galena, IL. When you sign up for this class, you meet other travelers too. We all prepared a beautiful meal together and then shared it... wine, soup, salad, main course and dessert.
I loved the comfort of being with friends, but also meeting new people around a common interest. It's one of the things I love best about events like this chocolate and henna event, too.
Strangers gathered at the home of Bon Bon Bon in Hamtramck to refine henna skills with a little chocolate play.
And while I got to lay down a little henna magic, and pass along some hints; I also learned there are some surprising similarities for piping ganache and piping henna paste.We both manage texture and flow with sugars.
What a lovely evening!
Thank you for hosting Bon Bon Bon and to everyone who came.
Henna or Chocolate?
Weaving together a global community through art and scent
A little art, intuition and imagination - the creative process of plant based perfumes. This batch begins with a tincture made of organic rose petals - and a story of compassion.
'Firdous' is a fragrance that I have been refining over time. The word feels like poetry on my tongue, and has meaning for me because it weaves together a story of global community.
It is no secret that I am passionate about henna. As an art form and because of henna my life is richer for the people I know. There is an intimacy during the application, bonds people together with shared experiences. And since henna is practiced in a global way, I love feeling connected up to that history.
At a gathering of henna friends, a woman told me a lovely Garden of Eden story from her homeland:
In this story we are in The Garden, just at the end of innocence. Of all the flora and fauna who witness this event, it is only the humble henna plant the shows compassion and offers comfort.
Henna weaves for me a world full of connections; this time a familiar story which is told by at least three of the worlds' great religious traditions.
In retelling the Eden story to a historian friend who works with ancient texts, I learned that hinna (henna) may have the same root meaning as compassion, or tenderness of heart.
Which brings us back to Firdous, 'the garden'. In addition to drying and crushing the leaves for body art, the leaves & flowers can be distilled for perfumery.
Firdou is a companion to the Alchemy Henna Attar anointing oil which also features the henna plant.
from: Eshkol HaKofer: By Any Other Name
We like our fragrances SLOW at Alchemy / Synthetic Free Perfume
On a daily basis our sense of smell is assaulted. In many ways we have been trained away from the appreciation of the subtler nuances of natural fragrance in favor of the fakey man-made options.
There is a movement afoot to reintroduce people to the world of natural fragrance with perfumes created only with natural elements (like flowers and roasted sea shells). Related to the craft cocktail and foodie movements, niche perfumery reintroduces classic methods paired with modern technology.
This feels revolutionary given the attachment to cheap and quick when it comes to clothes, food and homegoods. But for those of us who appreciate SLOW and quality over consumption - botanical fragrances aren't a stretch.
Plus, when your cosmetics and fragrances are free of synthetics and hormone modulators found in commercial products, it's healthier for you and for the environment.
And a quick note on the nasty stuff found in commercial fragrances.
Here's a quick read from Mind Body Green on the NEW wave in fragrances.
Community, Wellness and Workshops
Yoga & Alchemy
September 17 - The Collective at True North, Detroit
Join Rachel Vurpilllat for guided yoga and meditation, mindfulness and mandalas.
DIY Street Fair
September 22-14 - Nine Mile at Woodward, Ferndale
Celebrating 10 years of DIY Street Fair! Alchemy and Friends are returning for a 4th year. We are dedicated to offering you gorgeous henna and an awesome festival experience. With artists from around metro Detroit (and Grand Rapids). Our booth is behind the Library on Troy.
September 28 - 6:30 pm Pastel, Plymouth
With Cat Golden of NIne Lives Health, journaling, meditation and personal mantras. Henna is a great way to reinforce intention. A beautiful manifestation of your commitment to YOU and a reminder of your intention. Register here. $15 for henna
Henna Basics Workshop
October 19 - 6:00 pm Alchemy, Ferndale
Huzzah! Our first workshop of the fall. This workshop is best for those who have 'played around' with henna or doodle henna designs all day. We will discuss mixing, safety, after care and much more. Super small class size for personalized attention. All materials provided, plus light snacks and drinks. Register here
Party at Alchemy
October 26 - 6:00 pm Alchemy, Ferndale
Celebrating a new season. Literally and figuratively. Alchemy will launch our first 'real' perfume line this October and enters the world in a small way with our products available in several stores in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Live music, and cake. The boutique will be open.
Caffeine and Community
October 29 - TBD Ashe Supply Co, Detroit
more information soon! I'll be there to do henna ($ per piece)
Alchemy is helping with 'grown up' skincare conditions
Effective doesn't have to be complicated. But it might require a little extra care.
When I was a teen and in my 20s the prevailing wisdom was 1. oil is bad, 2. be aggressive with your skin and the spots go away and 3. you'll out grow it.
We now know all three of those things are wrong.
Lets start with number 3: The reality is that our skin is a living part of us and is the bridge between our internal and external 'environments'. And with cell turnover, we are literally different people every few years.
If you're seeing cystic acne for the first time in your 30s, hormones, stress, lifestyle and diet related imbalances can be the 'culprit'. Some find relief by eliminating dairy or gluten.
Whatever your skin is telling you, aggressive action is NOT the answer (number 2). Acneic skin is reactive. Extra care is needed to protect that critical acid mantle. Sometimes with blemishes or cystic acne the skin hangs onto dead cells longer than necessary which clogs pores and reduces the skins' ability to drink in nutrients. Gentle exfoliation is the answer.
And number 1: Oil is GOOD, it's petroleum that is bad. We suggest using an oil cleanser as a pre-cleanse several times a week to loosen debris gently. Follow that with a foaming cleanser that washes clear (fancy if you want, but Dr. Bronner's makes some great castile soaps).
Gentle exfoliation is key. Select something that has no pointy pieces (salt, sugar and nut hulls actually cut the skin). Rice bran, chic pea flour and almond meal are all good choices.
Potent plant medicines like turmeric and skincare superfoods like tocos and cacao powders support healthy skin without damaging the delicate balance of the acid mantle.
Double Cleanser: powerful plant essences gently cleanse and support the skin - in rice bran oil which softens the skin and doesn't clog
Haldee Cleansing Grains: usable as a cleanser or a mask. Mixable with water, foaming cleanser, honey or yogurt. Gently exfoliates, supports the skin with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cacao powder.
Boost: Like a spring cleanse for your skin. Add to your favorite cleansers and masks to boost liver activity. Your liver works with your skin to cleanse the body of toxins.
Heal: Super light elixir that nourishes the skin. Use after toning to moisturize and reduce redness. Tamanu Nut oil is even reported to reduce scarring related to acne.
Meet the artist - Monique Herzig
Hello! I am Monique, the woman behind the brand. And like most women I know, I wear a dizzying array of hats. While I am fortunate to have wonderful friends, supportive family and crazy-talented boss ladies in my corner; I am Alchemy, llc.
The word 'we' gets used a bunch on the Alchemy website, and in posts on social media. However, it's mostly me.
I am the alchemist, webmaster, henna artist, facialist, CEO and CFO at Alchemy Slow Living Studios -
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Alchemy. A place to nurture passions for art, human connection and the witchy magic of plant science. I'm delighted to meet you!
(also, it is way easier to say 'we' than 'I': this was an intriguing exercise).
classic cologne, summer fragrance and a hint of autumn
Hiawatha is a short-run fragrance inspired by a course in classic colognes and the short summer season in Michigan.
It is the nature of a cologne to be fleeting.
In proportion, colognes are generally high in top notes - - and for Hiawatha it's the bright fir absolute on the top with neroli at the heart and vetiver at the root (literally: we get vetiver from the roots of the plant).
'Hiawatha' is a late summer-dune kind of a fragrance made entirely made with plant essences - Hiawatha evokes the white-hot sandy Michigan beaches at the birch forest edge.
we aren't like mall shops, not even a little - - we are only here for YOU
Want to shop the boutique? Want to consult on skincare concerns or talk about plant based hair coloring options? Please book a Cuppa & Studio Visit - - We LOVE to share the Alchemy Studio experience and would love to meet up with you for a cuppa. We don't really charge for this...
PLEASE don't be shy - reserve a visit and come on in.
We are on the vanguard of the modern shopping experience: on demand. With a real person. Unlike a mall shop, or street level business, we are here when we are wanted.
Browsing welcome -bring a friend. No Purchase Necessary.
All of our appointments are this easy to reserve. Just select your desired appointment and the times available will pop up. Reservations accepted Tuesday - Saturday with later hours on Friday.
Having trouble or the time not showing up? Feel free to message us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org every so often there's a glitch. If we get enough requests times we can extend our business hours.
Marble & Milkweed skincare essentials restocked
We kind of have a crush on Marble & Milkweed. Briar is passionately dedicated to finding the best quality ingredients. Effective, plant-based and ethically sourced, I love following her IG feed because it's populated with pretty flowers and her forays into the countryside from her home-base in Brooklyn.
To learn more about the philosophy and get a peek into Briar's studio, please look here.
Please know, that I personally have been making skincare for myself for more that twenty years (long before Alchemy was a spark in my eye)... so I have some sense of what is involved. And Briar's Marble & Milkweed skincare products are superb: Exquisitely simple and elegantly packaged, you really feel like you're buying yourself a gift.
We've restocked several favorites including the Nourishing Facial Balm with cardamom, Orange Blossom Butter, and Rosy Lip Tint.
Available only in our boutique.
clear your mind, cleanse your space
At Alchemy we get very 'elemental' sometimes. You know, earth, water, air and fire - - I love the image of the gentle smoke wafting away the stale air and stale thoughts to make room for fresh perspective, clarity and deeper breathing.
Incense feels like an invitation. Some scents are energetic and encourage movement and good for cleaning the house day. Or, like this copal resin incense from Amoona Botanicals, the burning incense suggests stillness, and an opportunity to rest; to lift the spirits by shifting consciousness.
Copal Resin has a long history of use in sweat lodges, purifying ceremonies and ritual offerings. Amoona Botanicals incense is lovingly bundled with quartz and available in our online shop and in the studio.
monique herzig, alchemist, aesthetician