I've used the most "natural" ingredients possible in my products, but after much research, found it was not the either/or decision you'd think. For the purposes of this blog series, I'm going to limit the discussion to the color I use for my products: cosmetic micas, plant powders (either added at trace, added at the lye stage, or added as an infusion), and mineral color (clays, titanium dioxide).
Most Artisan soapmakers have been told at some point, "Whoa - that soap looks good enough to eat!" Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks has obviously taken that sentiment to heart because her August Soap Challenge - a Brush Embroidery technique - was first used in cake decorating circles. What is Brush Embroidery? Essentially, one creates a base soap and, after initial saponification (24 - 36 hrs), cuts the batch into fresh bars that must be decorated with piped soap "icing" before completely curing. You can drag a small brush or other implement through the piping to further sculpt a design.
The pointy layers technique was such a blast that I tried about four variations - honestly, with more time, I would have created more. What my experiments had in common (fellow challenge soap artist may relate):1) Every batch looked uniquely intriguing (difficult to choose what to enter)2) No batch was reproducible
...an understandable mistake - I had stored the bars in a candy tin for protection in my luggage. After arriving in town and showing the folks my latest artsy soap designs, we moved into the living room, leaving the tin in the kitchen. I didn't discover it was gone until later, when I attempted to retrieve it to give everyone their soap. Apparently Mom had be tidying up and thought the tin held candy, and so put it in the refrigerator (Dad discovered it later while looking for a beverage). Logical enough. No harm done. A mistake any of us could make. Except, when I opened the tin and handed their soap to her, Mom looked genuinely confused: "Do these go back in the refrigerator?" My...