Have you seen the beautiful cold processed soaps that soapers are creating?
In various places on the internet, you’ll see beautiful multi-color swirls, swirl designs with their own names, peaked tops, cupcake soaps, and soaps that look like cake–and that’s just the beginning, swirls, twirls and whirls abound. I am impressed daily by what my fellow soapmakers are capable of, most of them better than what I am able to do. I feel that I make a good quality soap, but not one as gorgeous and imaginative as what I see from some of my colleagues. It’s truly enjoyable to gaze in wonder and delight at their creations.
It makes me wonder, however, is a plain jane bar of soap acceptable anymore? Will a bar of one color, no swirls, no peaks and no design be received with as much joy as the bar that bowls you over with its intricacy? Might the soaper who makes that plain bar be seen as a lesser soapmaker than her fancier counterpart? I wonder if the bar has been raised or is in the process thereof (yes, pun intended) to require a soap not only to be well made, but gorgeous, too.
So far, the soapmakers I’ve seen have been very supportive of each other’s work and it makes me pleased to be in the company of such individuals. I have seen men and women who cheer each other on and who freely pass along hints and favorite suppliers. I hope that continues and that it is widespread, not just where I hang out. I do wonder, however, where soapmaking is taking us as an industry and whether this will separate the novice from the professional and whether the customer will eventually demand artistic soap.
What is your opinion on the matter? What do you make?
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
I’ve been checking out hundreds of photos of soap recently and I’ve been so impressed with the artistry that has been displayed by my fellow soapmakers.
I thought back to the days when I first began reading about making soap. Not only were pictures harder to come by, but soapmakers just were not doing as much with their soaps. Yes, they were adding color, spices, herbs, and scent, but not the lovely designs I’m seeing now.
Also, the first design, it seems to me, was the swirl and we saw lots of one color swirls out there. Shortly thereafter, we began seeing multi-color swirls. It didn’t take long for even more ideas for beautiful designs to be employed. We began seeing soaps that looked like desserts, layers, brand new types of swirls, and so on. I like to think that the Saponifier, among other sources, assisted soapmakers in inspiring one another to kick things up a notch. What I see now is nothing less than astounding!
And yet, a handcrafted bar of soap is beauty in its own right, whether it’s a plain castile bar or a more primitive looking bar.
I know that some soapmakers feel frustrated at not accomplishing a design that is as beautiful or as artistic as that of another soapmaker’s. That feeling is unnecessary, however, because creating a good quality bar of soap is the goal. Further work to make it even more visually appealing is simply icing on the cake.
That is not to say we shouldn’t be challenged to try new techniques or to create our own, only that we shouldn’t lose sight of what is truly important, a good soap. If you’ve gotten to that point, you are already a master.
Therefore, now that you are a master, forge your own path. Do you find swirling hard to do well? Try something else! Let your imagination wander and free yourself to experiment. You might come up with the next new trend! And even if you don’t, know that the fact that you make great soap is enough.
Until next time, keep yourselves in bubbles and wax!