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Near Miss

Familiar with that famous story about the Indian Elder who shares wisdom with the youngster about the nature of doubt? Paraphrasing, but basically this: Wise elder: “You have two wolves fighting in your mind at all times: the wolf of encouragement and the wolf of doubt.” Naive Youth: “”but grandfather, which will triumph?” Wise Elder: “The one you feed.”   Me and doubt: we’re well acquainted. We have us some junk food in that space.   Late July, 2016:Bleary-eyed, I looked over the entry notification from 2016 Denver County Fair. Deadline: four days away. We had just moved back into our home after months of hotel living, waiting for our gutted kitchen to be repaired from a water line leak. Yay for good homeowner insurance, but...

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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...

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The Teardrop Technique: Psychedelic Psuds

“NEVER give up! NEVER Surrender!” – Jacob Nesmith, Galaxy Quest I’ve found my motto for soap challenges issued by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks.  The Basics: The May challenge, Teardrop Technique, is designed to produce an elegant teardrop shape suspended in the center of the bar. This is achieved by using a slow trace formulation, removing about 25% of the raw soap for the teardrop shape (divided into individual cups of color), pouring 30% of the remaining batter into your mold as a base, then slowly and carefully pouring your colors – one on top of the other – down the center of the mold. After applying your center color, the soap is finished off by pouring equal portions of the base-colored soap equally and at the same rate along...

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Location Soap Challenge: I-70’s Point of Geological Interest (PoGI)

Been awhile since I’ve succumbed to the siren song of Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club. Sometimes I MUST STEP AWAY from the email notification – not because they aren’t intriguing (they are!) or because I don’t want to learn more (I do!), but because these challenges are like the crack cocaine* of soaping – once hooked, I end up dropping EVERYTHING to participate. Cooking? NO! Sleeping? NEGATORY! Bathing? …er…well I do shower (I make soap, for chrissakes.) {Sigh} April’s soap challenge theme is Location, requiring participants to enter a soap design that reflects something special about where they’re from or presently living. Amy, a Kansas native, appropriately chose a Wizard of Oz-themed soap as an example. Her reasoning is that once people hear she’s from...

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Picasso’s Breakfast

November 2015 Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge: Tall and Skinny Shimmy I won’t lie, I’m on the fence about this technique. It took FIVE tries before I was able to get something decent enough to enter. Why was this challenge so…challenging? The goal of the technique – which btw, looks quite intriguing when done correctly – is to have a thin, “shimmying” line of contrasting color run up the center of the soap. You can see an example of this on my entry soap to the L (“Picasso’s Breakfast”), starting at the bottom where the green color snakes between the yellow and white, then the white curls between the yellow and green, and the thin line of yellow passes between the white and green to the top....

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