Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
I did a thing today, and I’m really proud.
I made soap!
I love photography as a creative outlet, but I’ve always missed the physical draw of ceramics. Elbow deep in clay, rolling out slabs or using your weight to throw a bowl on the wheel. Feeling the clay grow and change in your hands is so satisfying. Slow and steady with hand building, fast and furious with throwing. Then there’s the waiting process; watching it as it dries, making sure no cracks form. Once it’s dry (sometimes days later), bringing the piece back to the wheel to create a foot before firing.
Then there’s the firing. Pulling pieces out that look the same, but sound and feel so different. Personality lives in the marks of the clay, but still remains a blank canvas for glazing (if you hadn’t under glazed it).
Glazing, then a second firing.
Then you get to love on it. Use it. Be proud of it.
Sometimes it takes a week or even longer to enjoy your finished piece. Multiple stages that slow you down, and help you to savor the process.
Photography feeds into our need for instant gratification, and while I love it, it leaves me lacking sometimes. Shooting with film helps feed that need for me, but I just don’t do that as much as I’d like to.
So when I walked into Modern Roots in Stillwater a couple weekends ago, I could’ve been there for hours. The look, feel, and smell of all of their handmade soaps was enchanting. They have a location in Buffalo, and I had heard great things, but never had the chance to stop in. I think I picked up, handled, and smelled each kind of soap there. Textures, colors, composition of how they fit together – it was a physical form of photography for me.
I quickly discovered it’s a danger level ten store for me.
You all may think I’m completely crazy for falling in love with soaps, but the care and craft of these soaps where inspiring.
Obviously, because when I got home I checked out about 6 books about soap making from the library and went to Amazon and Etsy for materials.
And today, I made my first batch.
Today, it was a simple lavender soap. Just an addition of dried lavender, no added pigments or exfoliants. Next week, when the rest of my materials arrive, I’ll be trying out a peppermint one, vanilla one, and – wait for it – a coffee one!
Also, on a photography note, I wanted to share the setup I used to shoot my soaps this evening. Super simple; I used one of my favorite dresses for the lace, and from there it was all window light in my living room.