Separation – Purification – Recombination

Thursday 11 February 2016

Separation – Purification – Recombination

3 stages of alchemy and perfumery

As part of our Body of Poetry theme, Rebecca Sharp will be Poet-Perfumer in Residence at StAnza 2016. In this guest blog, she talks about her work with poetry and perfume and the installation she has created for the festival.

"The installation is taking shape - with less than a month to go, the research is done, materials gathered, poems somewhere in the purification phase.  My study is looking a bit like a medieval apothecary – which is exactly as it should be.  The installation will be in the Old Chemist Shop space inside the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum – many thanks to curator Samantha Bannerman for showing me round and giving me access to some real treasures.  There is so much wonderful material that writing the poems truly has become a process of distillation.  The final work will be a series of 5 poems and 5 scent jars, created site-specifically for the apothecary space in the Museum.  I’ve been writing the poems and composing the essential oil blends at the same time – looking for links between the elements of each poem and its corresponding scent… And it’s this process of correspondence, synaesthesia in a way, which I hope you share when you experience the work for yourself. 

"I’ve also been planning a new workshop, which will take place just after StAnza – on Saturday 19th March at Centre for Stewardship in Falkland: Poetry Apothecary.  The full-day workshop will explore the ideas and techniques that have gone into making the poems and blends for the installation, looking at how these concepts can apply to any creative process.  Participants will create a poem with a matching essential oil scent blend to take home, exploring how the ingredients and techniques of blending a scent can be compared to writing a poem, and vice versa.  £50 for the day, which includes all materials – book soon if you’re interested, as spaces are limited.  Open to everyone, no experience necessary – get in touch to find out more: and on Facebook:

"During StAnza, there will be two free ‘Meet the Artist’ events, where I’ll be explaining more about the installation: Thursday 3rd at 1.00pm and Friday 4th at 4.00pm.  Information for the Falkland workshop will also be available at the installation."

Rebecca's installation can be seen and experienced at the Preservation Trust Museum