I have started session two, the winter session of the Soap Crafting Club. This is an on-line course taught by Anne-Marie Faiola of Brambleberry with strong help from her assistant Amber. Signing up for a session gives you a complete package of soap making supplies for that month’s lesson, on-line support, video tutorials and comments and suggestions on-line from others who have signed up for the classes.The only addition needed to take the course is the book Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola. The book can stand on it’s own as one of the best books on making cold process soaps but for those of us who want the add support of videos and personal suggestions, this course is a great bonus.I finally made the first soap in the Winter series, a funnel pour soap. I watched the two tutorials on line, carefully laid out the supplies and walked away for a few days. Thinking. The package I received contained a high quality 5 lb. soap mold with a sliding bottom for easy soap removal.
This mold retails for $45.00 on Brambleberry so consider that the package also had premixed oils, lye, colorants for five layers, fragrance and the bonus of a teacher. And with all that, I had more trouble with this lesson than any before.
I think I understand what this package was all about in a soap-making way. It was an attempt to make things easy in the oil and lye portion of the program by having everything pre-mixed so that the five color funnel pour would be something a student could spend more time working with. For me, a person who is used to cooling lye and heating oil and getting the temperatures of both within 5 degrees, I simply got lost. The lye was already mixed and at room temperature so I had some trouble getting the oil liquid enough to match the lye temperature. Nothing to do with the class, simply me being used to a certain way of doing things. In fact, honestly, I like mixing various oils and mixing lye and water, sort of a Dr. Frankensoap moment. I was thrown with this ready made approach.
As for the colorants, as I have mentioned before, most of us who make soap have a certain belief that while we can learn and get ideas from others, we ultimately own our own soap. We have “flair” and I say this with a grin. It is an art thing. A craft thing. I will vouch for this as in our first class, every soap was different and almost every person in the class had a certain thought on the way the soap should be done. At this point I bow in the direction of Anne-Marie and Amber as it just can’t be easy to handle all the personalities in the class! I looked at the colors that were provided, gray, brown, fuchsia, purple and sage and immediately set aside the fuchsia and purple. I hate it when that happens in my mind! I used gray, brown, gold, sage and cream. Already in trouble in this first class!
Now for my personal downside with this lesson. My oils stayed thick as I didn’t heat them enough (trying to compensate for lye temp and not knowing how to heat lye). Then I couldn’t tell if there was any trace at all as everything was thick. And did I mention my bowl was barely large enough? Common sense would have said, “Oh, FIVE pound soap mold!” but NO as common sense and creativity in my brain tend to spend too much time fighting with (glittery white) saber swords. As with many of us when we reach the point of no return I simply decided to go for it. I poured my glop into five wildly different containers that had my colors pre-mixed and did my repeated three second funnel pour until I had used all the glop. It looks GREAT in the mold. Is it soap?
Yes, it certainly is soap. In less than 24 hours, here is the cut end piece of the blackberry sage soap. The top of the loaf beneath that piece has a great swirl and a dusting of diamond mica. I didn’t expect soap based on my time creating it and I am grateful for the outcome. As for the colors? Oh yea!