Tiger Stripe Soap Challenge

In times such as these, art is #salvation.

September through December, 2016: A blur of catch-up from summer production issues, market season prep, a re-brand + new website launch, plus the the brouhaha of the election and it's aftermath. Ai Carramba.

Friends, there's but one thing to do to extricate from the onslaught - we must exit the crazy-train and return to creating. We must return to art.

And, hoo HOO, what great timing to enter another of Amy Warden's soap challenges: The Tiger Stripe

I used a 2 lb loaf mold and a slow trace base oil recipe, divided into five colors: white, a light blue + a medium blue cosmetic mica, a gold cosmetic mica + activated charcoal (black). I used a scent blend of tea tree, eucalyptus, and a few EO's that wouldn't speed up trace or discolor the base. Added 1.5 tsp of powdered sugar to the water (before adding lye) to see if it made a difference in the liquid consistency of the raw soap - it did.

The scented, colored base was divided into squirt bottles, with a bit of the light blue left to provide some visual "space" in the soap. And I had my hanger bent into shape for a bit of swirling at the end. Here's the set-up:

I placed the mold on an angle, poured a small amount of the extra light blue, then alternately poured in thin streams of color via the squirt bottles. The colors were extremely liquid:

After getting one side filled, I carefully tilted the mold on the opposite angle, then poured the squirt bottle colors in again.

When this second layer was complete, I added an extra layer of the light blue for some solid space in the bars between tiger stripe groupings:

I choose to add in the extra light blue in a lattice design, rather than a solid pour of color. Why? The colors were still pretty liquid-y to work with - if poured in all at once, the weight of the added soap may have disturbed the integrity of the tiger stripes below. Plus - and this is peculiar to me - I simply wanted to see how it would come out.

After pouring the raw soap to the extent that felt right, alternating sides, solid areas with striped ones, I did a hanger swirl, then finished off the top with some variation of a mantra swirl. Below you can see the colors distinctly (in the background are tester soaps made with the scrapings from the squeeze bottles).

And...here's the cut soap about a week after unmolding:

So...the verdict? Overall, really pleased. The cheerful color combo compliments the design waves caused by the hanger swirl - all adding up to a bar packed with visual interest. A friend said that the design reminded her of sea shells: Sea Shell Shores, perhaps? Kinda has an ocean vibe. Must ponder.

The scent is refreshing with a little bite, but not at all medicinal (sometimes a challenge with tea tree/eucalyptus combos). I like how the solid color areas are flat - I think that something with the lattice design allowed flecks of other hues to come through.

What else would I try? Well, the gold mica seemed to morph/fade a bit next to the black lines - perhaps this wouldn't have happened had I made the lines slightly thicker...but then, maybe not. Working with metallics is tricky business. And I really liked seeing how skinny I could push the lines.

The gold is quite distinctive on top of the bars - so who knows? Another soaping mystery, though if you have an insight, please mention it in the comments below.

So, thanks, Amy, for pulling me from the black pit combo of FB politics + endless market prep to immerse myself in the pleasures of creation! Woo HOO!

So what do YOU all think of the Tiger Stripe technique? Are you a participant in Amy"s Tiger Stripe challenge? If so, how do you feel about your result? 

Thanks, friends - SL

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