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!