Studio Classes

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Studio Classes in Berkeley ($1,800)


After completing the Level 1 Workbook, you can come to work with me in person here in my Berkeley studio. This level of instruction can’t be done remotely – I need to see how you interact with the materials, and spend some time 1-on-1 (the class size is very small). This is a key step in learning how to critique your perfume formulas. It is very important to understand what contributes to the essences burying or locking with each other; both effects can have either a positive or negative outcome in a perfume blend.

The class fees cover all materials, including the essences used. The topics include:
      - filler & accessory notes
      - natural isolates
      - burying & locking
      - using different forms of particular ingredients (absolute, concrete, extra, etc.)
      - why top notes are so difficult
      - final perfume = total lock
      - scaling up your formulas using the Aftelier drop chart
      - content & format for the student to teach a beginning solid perfume class

At the studio classes, I work directly with each student in making liquid perfumes. In the mornings, I lecture about specific essences and their unique capacities in a perfume, and we do some odor studies as a group. In the afternoons, students work on a specific perfume construction, sometimes based on the morning lectures, or sometimes dealing with a specific type of perfume, like a floral-floral, or a chypre. After each student has created a perfume, I constructively criticize the results, pointing to where the flaws are, and as importantly how to fix them. We evaluate the results again after the students have revised and remade the perfumes according. Examining the details of these very specific examples illustrates the broader general concepts, which improves each student’s ability to create beautiful perfumes.

Each student makes at least 5 perfumes to take home, but the goal is not to make great perfumes in class. The goal is for you to learn to critique your own designs, finding and fixing the flaws in your formulas. Every time you create a new perfume, there will always be new design problems. Learning natural perfumery with me is like studying painting at an art studio; my teaching focus is solely on the aesthetics, not on weights, scales, specific gravity, or how to run a business.

The Studio Classes are scheduled several times throughout the year, meeting for a long weekend (Friday through Sunday, 10-5 each day). The price for each 3-day session includes all materials. When you buy the Level 1 Workbook, your email address is added to the the list for announcing the class schedules. Each session is announced several months ahead by email, and then filled on a first-come basis. You will receive a Level 2 certificate of completion after attending 2 sessions, and a Level 3 certificate after completing a total of 4 sessions.




...special ability to pass on what she has learned...[click to see review]
— Ross, student

...a humble, giving, and loving soul who loves sharing her knowledge and art...[click to see review]
— Anu, student

The learning one receives, not only from one’s successes, but also from the disasters, is immense...[click to see review]
— Michelle, student

...a most informative, creative and sensual workshop...[click to see review]
— Julianne, student

...shifts in beliefs, new perception and perhaps the discovery of an exciting new oil...[click to see review]
— Michelle, student

The Queen of Green...she started a revolution that we now take for granted as part of our environmentally conscious culture.
— Beauty News

Mandy Aftel is a recognized authority in Natural Perfume and a true pioneer in the modern field of Naturals
— Rochelle Bloom, President, Fragrance Foundation

The Queen of Green...she started a revolution that we now take for granted as part of our environmentally conscious culture.
— Beauty News

Mandy Aftel is one of the fragrance industry's most creative thinkers, not to mention one of its most prolific talents.
— Vogue.com

Mandy Aftel is an indisputable icon in the world of perfumery, and quite arguably, the Mother of Natural Perfumery.
— Cafleurebon

Mandy Aftel is the perfumery guru and pioneer who managed to alight an all naturals aromatics Renaissance with her body of work and especially her seminal book, Essence & Alchemy, the cornerstone on which the naturals movement has flourished.
— Perfume Shrine

The trend toward using natural ingredients was pioneered by perfumer and author Mandy Aftel.
— Allure

Mandy Aftel is like the Alice Waters of American natural perfume
— Indieperfumes

Mandy Aftel has spearheaded the artisanal natural perfumery movement in the United States
— Now Smell This

One of the great living masters of natural perfume
— Affluent Lifestyle magazine

Winner of Perfumer's Lifetime Achievement Award as "The Last of the Alchemists"
— Perfume Smelling Things

Ms. Aftel's work as a natural perfumer has been trendsetting...Essence and Alchemy...became a corner stone upon which the contemporary natural perfumery movement was built.
— Bois de Jasmin

Essence and Alchemy is in no doubt partly responsible for the current growing interest in natural perfume. You would be hard pressed to find a natural perfumer without a well-thumbed copy of this book on their bookshelf.
— Basenotes