At Juniper Ridge, we channel our love of the wilderness and wild spaces into everything we do, and our field labs are the purest expression of that love. We recently lost our founder, Hall Newbegin, and the Topanga Canyon Field Lab was an annual pilgrimage for Hall, who described the sweet air of coastal bloom, saying “It smells like love to me.” It is in this spirit that we created this year’s Topanga Canyon Field Lab, with incense, room spray, and cologne offerings.
Our field labs are an aromatic study of an instant in time and place, an expression of those few days we’ve spent hiking through the blooming backcountry, sleeping under the stars, gaining inspiration from the plants to capture the subtle combinations of scents, which we bottle and bring into people’s homes. Field Lab was Hall’s passion, a distillation of all that Juniper Ridge means, a labor of love. Under Hall’s leadership we drove our field lab van down to experience and hike the Central and South coast region of California year after year, at the same time, when the wildflower and native vegetation take over the landscape after months of hibernation, springing to life after the winter rains.
"These plants, and their wonderful sticky gooeyness, exist for me on an almost spiritual level. They keep calling me back, year after year." - Hall Newbegin
It’s the unpredictability of the field lab that we find so generative. Every year the canyon’s plants grow differently depending on what the rains were like, or how much sunlight they’ve gotten, and that’s where the magic lies. You could say it’s an art, you could say it’s a science, you could say it’s a scent, but our Topanga Canyon Field Lab is a feeling.
We’ve been coming to the canyon making friends with these plants, the Hummingbird Sage, Woolly Blue Curls, Sticky Monkey Flower, Mugwort and Sagebrush, taking whatever the plants would like to offer and crafting from them our annual Topanga Canyon Field Lab line. It was fitting to be in the coastal mountain range that was such an inspiration to Hall as we said goodbye to our founder. As our understanding of the landscape deepens, and our extraction methods grow and develop, our annual Topanga Canyon Field Lab too shifts and changes. We know Hall would be proud that we continue to return and hike through the wildflowers, contemplating the strength of whichever bloom fills the air with its nectary, sticky aroma against a backdrop of blue sky and ocean breeze.
As Hall said of the Topanga Canyon, “These plants, and their wonderful sticky gooeyness, exist for me on an almost spiritual level. They keep calling me back, year after year. Each time I breathe this place in, I just want to share it with the whole world.” And in honor of Hall, that’s just what we are doing.