Argh and wouldn't you know I'm a day behind. I'd like to blame it on being sick with a cold, if I can. Thankfully I am feeling much better today. But enough about me!
I would like to introduce you to a fantastic artisan. Please say Hi to Christina of Swan Mountain Soaps, she and her family live way up in Alaska. She creates fantastic cold-processed soaps, body lotions and butters, and even jams and jellies using elements native to Alaska. Her gorgeous products can be found on Etsy.
1. What brought you into your chosen craft or art?
Living in Alaska, I and my whole family suffer from really, really dry skin. Several years ago, I purchased some handmade soap on a trip. I was amazed at the difference *real* soap - not the detergent bars from the store I'd used all my life - made on my skin. I'd dabbled a bit with handmade lip balms and thought, can I do this?
I read and read and read everything I could find on making soap from scratch. it seemed so intimidating - working with lye, creating a formula. I joined and lurked on several soapmaking forums before I finally found the courage to make my first batch. I scented it with lavendar essential oil and added lavender buds to the mix, which I thought would make a nice, decorative effect. Well, the soap felt great and smelled great, but what I didn't know was that lavender buds turn brown in cold process soap. They look exactly like mouse poop. Nice. However, an addiction was born.
2. Do you have a favorite piece that you have created?
Yes, a different one almost every day. I am currently in love with my Wild Dandelion soap because the swirls came out really nice and smells exactly how I think Spring should smell. It's still curing so it isn't up on etsy yet (cold process soap has to cure for at least 4 weeks). This sounds dumb, but I am always reluctant to sell the last bar of any batch of soap I make. I feel such ownership over it - like they're my little soapy children. =]
3. What would you tell someone who would like to venture into creating?
If you're going to get into making your own cold process soap, don't ever plan on having any free flat space in your house ever again. You will have to put soap on it. The dining room table is usually the first to go. Then goes the bookshelves, the tops of bookcases and china cabinets. Knickknacks and decorative items suddenly seem silly and extraneous when they are taking up space that could be devoted to racks of curing soap.
Oh, and you'll never have any money again either. Any money you have will HAVE to be spent on more soap stuff. Like I said, it's an addiction. But your house will always smell good. =]
So I hope you will take a few minutes to go visit Christina over at Swan Mountain Soaps