Behind Temple O Flora
Aromatics, Alembics and Alchemy
I'm Sunny, and Temple O Flora (TOF) is a confluence of the deepest loves in my life, plants and art, as well as a distillation of many learned skills. I have felt drawn to plants as long as I can remember. At the age of 10, I carefully designed and planted my first herb garden after pouring over books, researching traditional herbs and uses. I studied horticulture in college, and went on to become an esthetician specializing in holisitic skin care. During my years in private practice, I continued my studies in traditional plant based practices, including ongoing training in Ayurveda and herbalism since 2007. I create and handcraft many of the herbal skincare formulas I use in my practice.
I first heard the name Temple of Flora in reference to John Robert Thornton's iconic book of floral engravings depicted in exotic settings. I later discovered in my research that the original Temple of Flora was an ancient sanctuary in Rome, dedicated to the goddess Flora. Erected in 238 BCE in her honor, it served as a sacred site for earth centric rituals. I chose the name in honor of the beauty and wonder of plants, and their ability to connect us with our own creativity and the Divine Feminine within all.
Fiber + Fragrance
For most of my adult life, I have been pursuing a working knowledge of aromatic materials and processes. I began training in the art of aromatic distillation in 2015 and continue to advance in my knowledge and experience. Aromatic art, like Ayurveda, is a discipline which requires (in my experience), a lifetime to master. Our sense of smell is the only sense which is directly linked to our limbic system, the most primal part of our brain. It is intimately connected to our emotions and memories, personal and collective, and can form a bridge to the unconscious parts of Self. As such, I believe it is a powerful tool in healing and embodiment, and it is one of my favorite practices for working with plants.
Most recently, I have immersed myself in the study of natural dyeing and ecoprinting. There is magic in working with the plants to extract color and print. I am continually spellbound by what the flowers, leaves and roots reveal of themselves, and I experience an incredible sense of interdependence with them in this practice. I am a privileged partner and facilitator in the expression of their innate beauty.
My hope is that by sharing what I have gathered and learned along the way, I may guide you in your own exploration of plants, primarily through the mediums of fiber and fragrance. And that by developing a greater appreciation of their magic and medicine, you will cultivate deeper connection and personal relationship with the plants and the natural world as a whole. This is "viriditas", the green vitality in plants, which they may generously impart to us, making healing possible.