The Alchemist’s Dressing Table

A collection of analogue tools for the production of natural cosmetics at home, inspired by beautiful ancient rituals and the transformative powers of alchemy. The palette of copper and maple wood are chosen for their traditional and folkloric symbolism. Cork is used for its insulating properties, borosilicate glass for its heat resistance and stainless steel for strength. All components are fabricated in collaboration with craftsmen in the south east of England.

Together, the tools form a statement piece; igniting a dialogue about our relationship with nature and the materials we use. I believe this could be the future of cosmetics for the modern woman who has a desire to be more in control of what she uses on her skin and the impact these products have on our environment. The tools I’ve designed will enable women to forge a stronger connection to their personal beauty rituals and a more magical relationship with nature’s intricate mysteries.

The Alchemist's Dressing Table - Heka London, sensory design studio

The distiller can be used to make hydrosols and essential oils. Water is boiled using the heat from the oil burner underneath the spun copper bowl at the base. The steam then passes up through the scented plant material sitting on the handcrafted sieve above. The top compartment is filled with ice allowing the spun copper cone below it to act as a condenser. The steam containing scent particles, passes up through the second sieve and hits the condenser where it cools, turns into liquid and drips down into the collection glass below.

The hand held tools comprise of a pair of copper tongs to be used with plant material in the distiller or scent infuser, a stirrer for the pan, a mixing tool for use with the kohl plate and a set of measuring spoons (1 TBSP, 1 TSP, 1/2 TSP, 1/4 TSP) to be used where accuracy is needed.

The Alchemist's Dressing Table - Heka London, sensory design studio

Oils and waxes can be melted in the pan over the hot plate and mixed with scents and pigments.

The scent infuser is for the cold maceration of volatile scented plants to make creams and balms. The scent is built us over time by replacing the scented plant material regularly. 

The kohl plate is for the preparation of black kohl eyeliner. Carbon collects on the underside of the copper plate from the almond oil burning in the oil burner below for a period of time. This black carbon deposit can then be mixed with almond oil for a smudged finish or aloe vera and witch hazel to allow a brush drawn line and used as eyeliner.

Distiller Sieves – Lucie Gledhill
Photography – Jess Bonham
Film – Diana Antunes
Model – Aya Husni Bey