Kodo (Way of Fragrance) has a long history in Japan as a refined ceremony. When practicing Kodo, participants of the ceremony experience the fragrant wood or incense, heated by smouldering coal, making the them to give off fragrance in a subtle way.
In Kodo, it is said participants ‘listen’ to scent as opposed to smelling them. Kodo is a ceremony which creates state of calmness that cultivates right frame of mind. Participants also engage in activities such as guessing the same fragrant wood and they are encouraged to express their experience in words and often they link and recite literature, and poems are composed on the spot sometimes.
This workshop was inspired by the Japanese Kodo ceremony to to create a narrative with scents - linking smell, sound, story and experiences. Participants had a chance to listen to basic ingredients used in Kodo such as Oud (沈香), Sandalwood (白壇), Musk (麝香) Myrhh (没草), Frankincence (乳香), Patchouli (藿香). Participants brought a story of their choice to the workshop and they were blinded folded and had to navigate through a variety of scents to ‘listen’ and decide how they would blend these ingredients and relate to their story.
Finally, each participant created a bespoke fragrance as a final outcome of the workshop to take home.
Photography by Jessica McCormick