I love to take part in soap challenges as it allows me to really express my creativity and at the same time enhance my soapmaking skills. I don’t get much chance to do this within my business as I have to stick to my strictly regulated cosmetically certified recipes for the soap I sell via my website.
This month’s challenge required you to find a friend or family member to make soap with, who you don’t normally work with. I asked my friend Anna as she was really keen to make soap and had tried on her own previously but was unhappy with the resulting soap.
Anna is an artist; you can see her work here:
When I asked Anna what kind of soap she would like to make, she asked if it was possible to recreate one of her gannet drawings within the soap. Anna originally wanted to embed the design within the soap log, but we only had a single day to work together so I advised her that an ebru style soap would work better and allow her more freedom of design. I thought her painting skills would really work with this style.
We made a white soap base in the bottom of the mould and I suggested scenting it with a marine fragrance called sea spray as it went well with the overall soap theme. We allowed it to set, and then poured a thin layer of soap batter on top (about 50mm thick). As you’ll see in the video below, Anna then created her design in this top layer using plastic pipettes and wooden skewers. The design was coloured using yellow iron oxide, activated charcoal and blue mica.
The soap recipe was a mix of palm, coconut, olive and sunflower oils with a superfat of 5% using 40% lye concentration.
As the challenge was all about collaboration, I thought it would be great to show what we’d each done to make the final product. I’ve made sections of the video go quickly so you get the essence of our day together without having to sit through hours of video!
Here is the finished wet soap next to Anna’s original drawing
After Anna had created her gannet design, we both took the leftover soap batter and created some more little soaps in some silicone moulds.
Thanks to Amy for coming up with this challenge, I really enjoyed working with Anna as I usually have to work on my own, it was so much fun and I would love to do it again.