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August 2015 Soap Challenge: Mantra Marble Technique

As an artist in any medium, you have to keep things fresh. Those of us suffering from the “Oh, SHINY!” syndrome never lack ideas. Frankly, I often have to keep away from soap challenges or I’d spend my time doing nothing BUT. However, sometimes learning a new technique is so compelling that I just can’t resist – so along with about 160 of my global soap making compatriots, I signed-up for Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks August 2015 Challenge: the Mantra Marble Technique (MMT). Here’s Amy explanation of MMT, which she cheerfully credits to Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab: “Mantra Marbles is a technique that combines Ebru paper marbling with the mantra swirl in a slab mold using horizontal dividers. Half of each bar is...

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November 2014 Soap Challenge: Comb Technique

Hallelujah, hallelujah! I’ve found “my people” and they do SOAP CHALLENGES! In October, I heard from Amy of Great Cakes Soapworks, who offered a chance to join her monthly soap challenge club. For a nominal fee, members receive a an artsy soaping tutorial, along with deadlines for submitting your creation to post for community viewing/voting, and the chance to win fun, soap-related prizes. November’s theme was soap “combing” techniques, which I had been wanting to learn anyway. What is this “soap comb,” you ask? It’s a very complex tool used to carve intricate designs in soap – KIDDING – it’s actually a simple but brilliant tool that you can make yourself with cardboard, skewers, and packing tape (though it is used to create designs). Some soap suppliers carry manufactured ones that are sturdier and more accurate,...

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Freedom, the Ugly Truth, and my Inner Snark

(Breathtaking view opposite the blood moon eclipse. Oct. 2014) I don’t want to make soap this morning. Just not lined-up with it, I can tell. This is today’s “ugly truth.”  An ugly truth, I’ve decided, is present moment breakthrough that sparks an internal war between my Cerebral, Practical Self and my Wise Nature. My Cerebral, Practical Self – let’s call her CPS (aka: Inner Snark) – just barks barks barks “This is your busiest season CP soap doesn’t cure overnight you just got in huge shipment of supplies what are you going to do with 18 lbs of lye if you don’t make soap NOW???” My Wise Nature reasonably points out that anytime I’ve forced myself to do something creative that felt more like a “should” than a “woo hoo!” the endeavor has either been...

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The Kernel of Good

One of my many take-a-ways from the whole 101 New Experiences in 1001 Days thing was to drop the idea of instant perfection and accept, no, embrace the evolution of an idea. There are already enough critics in my head – finding the kernel of good in each experience keeps me excited, curious and psyched about my creative process, rather than curled up in a little ball thinking exceedingly Dark Thoughts. Recently, a young friend contacted me about leading a soap-making class for a non-profit that she works with, one that helps teens develop healthy relationship expectations and positive body image through art projects. I usually teach the gospel of Cold Process (CP) Soap, an undertaking involving lye, eye protection, and patience (ie: a requisite 4- to 6-week cure time). Due to these factors, my CP class...

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