Summer of Fun: Messing Around with Essential Oils

My area of interest for this summer’s exploration brings together history, art, and science of oils and a lot of “sure we can do that”-wishful thinking and naive bravado. On my plan:

  • Marblezing paper and boxes
  • Making essential oils from things in our garden using a stovetop espresso as a steam distiller
  • Explorations in oil painting

We have had marblezing kit and books since a couple of Christmases ago, but never got around to using it.  This is Olaia’s kit, so we have til end of June to do this. Pictures of this crazy adventure are soon to follow.

Distillation-OMalley2015Next on the list is distilling essential oils from our garden- another crazy idea in my mind but that “sure we can do that” makes it seem plausible. I have been fascinated by the history of distillation for a while, I do think of making some home beer some day.  It all started when I was doing my independent study on the Iberian peninsula. In that period of research I developed great respect for the contributions of the Arab world to science and art. Their knowledge of pharmacology was so extensive, their approach to wellness a seeming alternative to the western familiar notion of reducing everything to a pill.  I was captivated by the careful design of gardens in homes to facilitate cooking, aromatherapy and home remedies. The volumes upon volumes of books documenting ancient recipes for over a thousand medicinal products.  Digging farther back, the Arabs of course had built upon and added to the Hellenic knowledge. And to the serious academic reading I added the curious short History of the World in 6 Glasses, an amusing elaboration of this thread weaving history, distillation, science and art.

Sure we can join the history of distilling essential oils… and we will do it with a twist.

Materials: Our cherished stovetop espresso and ingredients from our garden: mint, orange blossoms, lemon blossoms, recao, rosemary and oregano brujo.

Summer 2015 reading: “A Short History of Distillation” by Robert Forbes and  “History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage