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Monday, June 30, 2014

Clay and Soap


I remember when I first started making pottery, I made so many bowls, so many cups. And I glazed and glazed. I read and read. I learned. There were so many heavy thick bowls all over the house it was crazy. We used them  until I made better ones, then they got the hammer or got sent to the thrift store and a new batch took their place. I read everything I could find about ceramics and took as many workshops as I could afford. I was obsessed with clay.

Now I have soap all over the place, and notes and recipes and books. I have made a bunch of batches, all pretty "rustic" to put it kindly. None of them are particularly professional looking, but they smell incredible and they have taught me much. I'm learning what I like in a soap, the recipes I want to work with, the colors I want, the fragrance I want. It's all learning and so much fun. And in four weeks we will have so many soaps to choose from. Who knew?! SOAP!!

Above is a clay soap I tried. I got the essential oil amount wrong so the fragrance is very faint, and it mostly smells like clay, but I happen to like the smell of clay, so it works for me! I also do not know how much of a recipe will fill my molds and I got this one completely wrong, so I cut it up into a bunch of odd sizes to see how it would look. It looks pretty bad, but it is a great color and I learned from this batch that I want more to make more clay soaps.  The feel of the soap is so great and I just love that red color. Reminds me of Highwater Clay's Orangestone.  I want to try using bentonite and kaolin and there are several other colored clays I want to try. The clay soaps really interest me, wonder why?!


The little antique molds worked nicely. I used rooibos tea instead of water for the making and added the tea leaves to the batch at the end. Lesson learned, the tea leaves speckled the soap a lot, I didn't know it would do this. It's kinda cool. These smell of sweet orange and bergamot with a hint of the rooibos tea, you almost want to lick them :)  They look like I added manganese, don't they? Funny how I am relating so much of soap making to clay making. It is all very similar and familiar to me.


Speckled hens, ha! Love this mold.


 More hen soap, cute right?! These are scented with lemongrass, really nice, these were the best of the batches, almost professional..... just a bit of tweaking. I'm still figuring out the scents. I tried mixing oils, didn't go all that well. Gerry suggested just using one fragrance and I think he might be right, at least until I know what I'm doing. The lemongrass alone was very nice, the sweet orange is nice alone.


This one, however, was the best one yet, and it has a mixture of fragrance. I used a fragrance oil of juniper and sage, then added rosemary that I ground into a powder. I used hemp seed oil at the end for a super moisture boost and the color came out a really nice light green. It smells amazing!








If I am going to make these soaps, I want them to have beneficial qualities. The oils I am using are nourishing for the skin, moisturizing and full of vitamins. I would like the essential oils to be the same but I also want them to smell great and have the benefit of aromatherapy. I got a bunch of books at the library and I have been reading about the healing powers of essential oils. Again, who knew!?

Clearly, I like learning. I have no idea why I couldn't be this engaged when I was in school, haha! This soap making is fun! We are going to be so clean and soft...........





13 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

Love, love, love.
I want to see and try, when are you selling some?

Dennis Allen said...

Ironic that I use soap to get red clay OFF. These look very nice.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Meredith, you can be my tester! soooon :)
Dennis, wipe on wipe off haha!

Michèle Hastings said...

The chicken soaps are adorable! If you start selling I bet those will be popular.

Vicki said...

Wonderful soaps!
The sorcery of scent... you've been bewitched :)

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Michele, thanks, they are pretty cute! Gotta get them out of the molds better though, haha!
Vicki, yes bewitching aromas, the house smells so yummy!

oldgreymareprimitives said...

they look wonderful and I'm so happy you are having fun..I am still in the the throes of the "client move"..It goes on forever. 2 1/2 more weeks really but I need something to refresh my brain as I am "done in"

Tracey Broome said...

Suzan, you need a nice relaxing bath with some lavender! When I get it made I'll have to send you some :)

Sandy miller said...

Your photography and staging just blow me away! Beautiful! I just read sniffing rosemary can increase your memory by 75% ..... honestly bring on the rosemary!
here's the article:
http://www.doctorbob.com/04_09_13news7.html

I LOVE the chicken soaps!! I love when everything comes together :) Chickens, soap, clay, life......

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Sandy, actually I feel like I gotta get a little better at the photography, I was lazy yesterday. I need to seriously think it through better. I really makes the soap look a lot better than it truly is though, haha!

Lori Buff said...

I like the speckles, it reminds me of speckled clay...hmm, I think you've got a theme going here, but you knew that already.

Shannon said...

goldmine, baby--chicken soap!!!

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Lori, I know, I thought the same thing, looks like I slipped a little manganese in there!
Shannon, yes, jackpot! who knew, chicken molds!!!