Remember When? A Request of the Experienced
Remember back to the days when you first began to make soap or candles. For some of you, it’s a distant memory. For others, it’s easily recaptured. Regardless of the time and path traveled from then until now, try to remember how “green” you were– maybe far enough back that “green” only meant the color or that you were new to the craft! Are you remembering how confusing everything was, how many terms you had to learn, how to procure the equipment and supplies? Remember carefully studying the safety tips others gave you? I want you to put yourself in that place again for a moment.
Why? I have a couple of reasons in mind; one of them is empathy. If you can remember how much there was to learn and the trepidation that you felt at the beginning, you can feel empathy for the newbies you run across. Yes, it may feel as if you’ve answered a certain question a hundred times and yes, it might seem obvious what the answer is to another. Nevertheless, you can answer that question or help the person figure out the answer, paying back what has been given to you.
I don’t have to tell you that soap and candlemaking have been serious industries and crafts for centuries, their secrets closely protected and passed on to future generations. Just as in the past, this vital information must be passed on to others now, so the crafts will be preserved for the future, which is my second reason for asking you to think about where you began. I personally remember many teachers I had–Rita Scheu of TLC Soaps and many others I “met” online who taught and encouraged me along the way. Indeed, I’m not finished learning. Just a few days ago, I asked a question which other soap makers helped me with, and that knowledge will make me a better soapmaker.
Potential and beginning soap and candle makers these days face a different challenge than many of us faced. Before the explosion of the internet, instruction was difficult to find. Today, they are barraged with information, much of it inaccurate at best, and dangerous at worst. If you can lend some encouragement along the way and show newbies where they can find good information (Saponifier), you’ll be doing them, the craft, and you, a world of good!
Until next time, bubbles up!