I’m a wedding photographer currently preparing for the process on the other end of the camera. My son and his high school sweetheart are tying the knot this spring. It’s really a confusing process so instead of thinking about the photography and why it is that I cannot bring MY camera, I’ll just make soap.
As of last spring, I became a soaper. I make soap. It’s relaxing. Mixing toxic poison with oil. Then, after a few days, the soap is set and a new form of pleasure gives rise, the excitement of un-molding and slicing it and marveling at the patterns. Soap-making fulfills my need to do a science project and an art project all in one.
Soap is a mix of Lye and emollient oils like olive and coconut. Like a wedding vow, you might think of, “in sickness and in health.” Taking the bad and the good. The lye and the oil becomes one new thing, it is no longer lye and oil, it literally becomes soap (from the word, saponification). In the process of creating it, combinations of fragrance and colors are added with intentional blending techniques to give the soap the characteristics that create the final result. It’s visual features and fragrance and texture, create a unique marriage every time. And, like marriage, it needs curing time. After the cure, it becomes solid, cleansing, useful, long-lasting and even luxurious.
Anyway, once I heard the announcement of my son’s pending nuptials, I was anxious to get on the bandwagon in whatever capacity there would be needed – plus something fun that I would love to do (because I’m not the photographer, I’m IN these photographs!). Fortunately, I’ve not had any soap fails, (well, nothing too bad, a few glycerine rivers in a lavender batch but I thought they looked cool, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to look like that) But no devastating fails that would make me fear doing the job so my idea to create homemade soap favors was a well received by the soon to be wed couple.
I started the process last summer making scented samples for Mike and Sarah, searching for a blend that was something they could agree wasn’t too foo-fee or too “Irish Spring” – We ended up with a fragrance balance of Honey & Leather.
Debbie, the MOB, and myself mixed up the first batch of soap this past Sunday and I un-molded it last night and cut it up this morning. Can’t wait too long or it gets too hard and chips. I had a stamp created, measured how big the soaps need to be to fit the stamp and did a few pressure tests. It looks really great.
My batch yielded about 60 squares of soap, of which 52 are most useable. I’ll be making 3 more batches this week and next.