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Exactly 4 weeks ago, I set out to make my very first swirl soap using rose-colored kaolin clay. I was beyond excited and could barely wait until TODAY. Today is the exact day that the soaps became fully cured and ready for use. Today is the day I got to try my new swirl soap. Did it lather? Oh yes it sure did quite a bit! Does it seem moisturizing enough considering the clay content? Again a definite yes! I think by mixing the clay with avocado oil before introducing it into the soap really helps to boost the moisture content. Does the multiple essential oil blend smell great? It’s wonderful, woodsy, uplifting, and bright! In fact, when I tried this new soap today, my husband was home and nearby. I tried the soap, decided it was pretty awesome, and said to my husband, “Here try this” and handed him the soap. About 60 seconds later he was saying, “I like this soap; it’s manly.” I consider that a big compliment.

The swirl part was one area I know I can improve. I ended up with a really wonderful soap full of ridiculous lather and gorgeous essential oil scents, but the swirl was not so very swirly. Next time I will more aggressively blend the swirl of the rose-colored kaolin clay into the plain colored soap.

I should mention the wonderful aromatic of this soap. I made a blend of litsea essential oil, patchouli essential oil, lavender essential oil, and lemon essential oil. The result is a gorgeous, rich, full, woodsy lemon aromatic. It is bright and uplifting. I have made this soap before, just without the swirl. Every time men get to sniff this soap, they tend to really like it. My husband is a big fan of this aromatic.

If you are wondering what litsea is, it is very similar to lemon essential oil but more intense and woodsy. Litsea grows usually as a tree but sometimes a large shrub. It produces small, inedible fruits that contain a lot of the litsea essential oil. I believe they also utilize the leaves to get the essential oil of litsea, too. It holds better in cold process soaps than lemon essential oil does as it has more staying power due to its full, rich, earthy scent.

I love litsea and I really love this soap! Next time, more swirls! Next up on my agenda for new soaps is an interesting new one; sea clay swirled green man soap! I am excited for that one! Here is my swirled lemon chiffon soap available for sale:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/119723426/lemon-chiffon-swirl-soap-eco-friendly

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Step 1: Make some plates out of porcelain clay on the potter’s wheel, trim them, and let them dry halfway, at which time you will place Queen Anne’s Lace flowers on the plates and push them into the clay to make a good impression.

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Here is another picture of the fresh Queen Anne’s Lace pushed into the clay.

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Step 2: Fire the pottery to bisque (12 hours in my kiln up to 1828° F). Then, despite all your instincts, blob a bunch of black glaze over your entire flower impression.
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Step 3: Wipe away the excess black glaze using a natural sea sponge, as to leave only the impression with black glaze remaining.
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Step 4: Apply a clear coat of glaze over top to make this food-safe and fire it in the kiln again (this time I fired for 8 hours up to 2167° F)
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Queen Anne’s Lace plates:
made of porcelain on the potter’s wheel with a real Queen Anne’s Lace flower impressed into the clay.

I really love this set of dishes and how they came out!!! I am looking very forward to next summer’s Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms so I can make a bunch more!


We just made more soaps of the Lemon Poppyseed variety and also the Almond Soap variety.  We also made two brand new soaps, a Vanilla Spice and a Coconut Soap.  They all are such a lovely aroma!

The Lemon Poppyseed and Almond soaps will be ready June 30.  The Vanilla Spice and Coconut Soap will be ready on July 8th.  All cold process artisan made soap must be cured for about 4 to 6 weeks time.  This allows the soap time to mellow a bit so it is not overly cleansing and also allows a lot of the water to escape from the soap.  The less water in a bar of soap, the longer it will last in your bath, sink, or shower.   No one wants their new soap to melt away after only a few uses, so the curing time is important.

Despite my knowledge about how important the curing time is for soap, it is not easy to wait the entire month or so for the soap to be ready.  I always feel like a kid on Christmas morning when it is the 4 to 6 week anniversary of the soap and it is ready to try!  I like to reserve a sliver of soap for me to try out of each batch I make just to ensure it is lathering enough, cleansing just right, and moisturizing so it leaves your skin oh so very soft and clean.

What is a wonderful artisan made soap without a proper soap dish?  So I decided while I am on the soap theme, I would make more wonderful soap dishes.  I actually had a lot of help this time from one of my part time assistants!  Together we made 12 new and wonderful soap dishes, most of which have leaf impressions from various local plants and trees.  The way we make our soap dishes is 100% by hand from natural clay and we of course fire them in the kiln two times.  The first firing is always to prepare the clay for the glaze and is called “bisque firing.”  The second firing is done after we apply the glaze to the bisque phase to get all our colors and finishes.

11 out of the 12 new soap dishes have leaf impressions from maples, japanese maples, ferns, junipers, birch, and honey locust trees.  The 1 out of 12 that is different is now adorned with a Claddaugh symbol, an Irish symbol made up of a heart with hands around it and a crown on top.  The Claddaugh can be explained a bit by the saying, “With these hands, I give you my heart and crown it with my love.”  It is a lovely symbol indeed and very popular among many people and especially the Irish. 

Next time I make soap dishes, I want to focus on even more variety of different leaves to push into the clay and leave their impressions.  We press the leaves into the clay when it is a good pliable texture and not quite “leatherhard” state just yet.  We do not leave the leaves pressed onto the clay because we like to re-use the same leaf many times.  We have another technique to make the leaf impressions even more distinguishable, but that is a secret so I better not tell!  We always put small holes in the soap dishes so that they promote drainage of the water away from the soap.  No one wants soggy soap so the drain holes are important.  And lastly, we have to add little legs onto all those soap dishes so that they can sit properly and drain properly.  Finally, we sign the bottoms, which I am just realizing I forgot to do!  Better write that on my to-do list for next time in the studio!

That’s what I have been up to this week!  Hope you can get a chance to get your hands onto a good bar of soap soon.  Artisan made soaps made from all natural, vegan ingredients are the best ever in my opinion! 

I have some listed on my etsy site right now, and will have more in 2 weeks, then even more by July 8th!

You can shop around online easily on etsy and here’s my page:
www.craftybynaturestudio.etsy.com

Have a wonderful and creative day!