Los Angeles

Photography by Kate Berry

Featuring Persephenie Lea

Where are you from/where did you grow up?
I grew up in LA, I left when I was seventeen, came back at twenty-six, and I’ve been here ever since.

Where were you photographed for this story?
In my studio and in front of my garage.

Please describe who you are/what you do.
I’m a creative, a romantic, and a dreamer under the guise of a perfumer and incense maker.

What are you working on/interested in/preoccupied with at the moment?  
I’m juggling a little too much a the moment. I get so excited sometimes I forget my limits! Preoccupying me at the moment is my brand, scent development projects, a new site called Scent Den for workshops, incense learning, and raw materials, and I’ve been dabbling with clay, natural dyes, and jewelry that I one day aim to incorporate into my brand.  

What does community mean to you and where do you find it?
Community to me means connection, and that can be deep and intimate with close friends and family, to light an easy through day to day interactions. With the shadow of germs and face masks, it’s been challenging. I’m lucky and grateful to have deep friendships and family. They’re very, very important to me.

What are some of your self care rituals/routines?
Walking is big and part of my daily self care rhythm. I walk everywhere when I can. It helps me process thought, or I listen to music on my earbuds and pretend I’m in a movie.
Daily incense burning, writing down what’s on my mind, reading, massage, occasional face and body mud masks, weekly therapy, looking at art, making art, stretching, cooking; pretty much anything that keeps me in touch with myself.
I have a reminder list of all the things that sooth, inspire, and ground me as a reference if I feel I’m being negligent or scattered.

Please share a product/art piece/project that you have created/worked on, that most resonates with you currently.
Working olfactively and with my hands on your herbal bead’s has been a lot of fun! I’ve also been playing with incense forms, hand building with clay, and making jewelry. Scent can be very heady, so I like balancing that with tactile materials. I’m also working on a platform for incense enthusiasts like myself. A sort of incense hub to learn and get inspired from. It’s complicated and a lot of work, but I feel strongly about creating it.

Has your work and/or the way you work changed in the past year? If so, how?
This past year was not only Covid, but I also turned 50 which feels like a milestone. What I produce, who I work with, how I’m investing my energy, and making time for my creative and playful mind feels more important than ever. I’ve been working primarily alone for the past four years, so my working rhythm didn’t change much. What did change was teaching and how I’ve been interacting with clients. Connecting online has been a blessing. Of course meeting in person is always ideal, but having the ability to connect olfactively across the world, that’s opened an entirely new door.

Pick your current favourite:
There’s always an ebb and flow with inspiration, excitement, and appreciation, so favorites are impossible for me to choose!!