For several days, I wondered what title would be ok for this post. “From Inspiration To Reality” sounded good to me but it was already taken by another blogger. “Discovering New Worlds” was another option but it sounded a little too “big.” So I decided that “A Flower Path To…” might be a good one for this post. Thanks to this month’s Soap Challenge hosted by Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soapworks I discovered a new world of elegance and beauty which I didn’t ever think could be created by human hand. Sure, there are many beautiful things created by man. Yet, handmade cakes — with their perfect lines, smooth surfaces, amazing flowers and graceful curves — are a world closer to that of fairies than to everyday life (for me at least.) Or, I probably thought so because I knew that I would never be able to create such a thing of perfection. I know that many soapers have already discovered the connection between cake- and soap making. This month’s Flower Power challenge made me think about it in a different way and see the connection in new light.
Also, I love flowers and appreciate the influence they have on our lives. Every time I have a look at a bouquet or a flower bed my mood gets better. One of my most treasured memories is that of a sunlit alpine meadow in June dotted with red, yellow, purple and white flowers: a pretty burst of colors, uplifting and unforgettable. That meadow was the first thing which came to mind after the theme Flower Power was announced by Amy Warden . But how do you transfer the prettiness of an early summer meadow in full bloom onto a small bar of soap? A novelist in my home country once wrote that wanting to do something, being able to do it and actually doing it are three very different things. So that’s where I was when the Flower Power theme was announced — wanting to do something but having no idea how to do it. Needless to say, I was not sure whether I could ever complete a project like this. So I went for a totally different image at first. I made some glycerine soap, used Cee’s tip and added some starch to make it pliable (for more info please see Cee’s post at Oil & Butter) and made some tiny roses of two colors.
Yet, the image of that alpine meadow was all I could think about even after making the roses and some leaves to go with them. So I visited flower shops (or to be more accurate, every day I walked past several) and tried to develop a new understanding of how flowers are exhibited there. I visited many sites about cakes and realized what I would and — more importantly — would not be able to do with soap. Then I re-visited the flower shops and the cakes sites. And then I equipped myself with sugar icing tips, plunger cutters, and cookie cutters. One day I practiced piping. I piped like it was the end of the world. (This was my first ever experience with icing tips; it just so happened that the substance I used was not a mixture of sugar and cream but one of lye and oils.) The next day, I used the cookie cutters and got differently shaped flowers. Then I realized that in order to be able to recreate (even only partially) the image in my head, I needed some more shapes. Poppies, anemones, ranunculuses, herbs — I wanted to put all of them together on soap. So I used Cee’s tip again and made some more glycerine soap to which I added some starch to make it pliable; then I cut, rolled and shaped it to make some more leaves, petals, flowers and buds. Yet, as I had close to none experience with piping (I figured that ranunculuses could be created through piping), I put off making the Flower Power soap until the last possible moment. Fever. Fever. Without a stage. With so much preparation what could go wrong? The question though was “Is there anything that could not go wrong?” I put it off for another day and then, when there was no time left for it, I mixed the lye and the oils, marbled the base of the soap with green and pink and got to the final stage of creating a Flower Power image on top of it. Though the sunlit point could be arranged by putting the soap close to a sunny window, there was no room for a whole meadow on top of the log. So I created something which I call a flower path but it may be closer to some people’s idea of a flower bed. However you call it though, I am satisfied with how it turned out because it accommodates the colors and some if not most of the shapes of the flowers of that sunlit alpine meadow in my head.
The soap is scented with a cheerful floral blend of ylang ylang, bergamot, tangerine, rose, and ho wood essential oils.
I have not cut it yet because I made it for a friend of mine and will let her decide how it should be cut.
After the completion of this project I am left with the roses and some leaves for them so I will be making some more flower-themed soap soon 🙂
Again, many thanks to Amy for giving us yet another chance to push our creativity. I’ve loved all the challenges so far but this one has been really special for me — going all the way back to my adventures in the mountains in my home country and learning how to go through with a project which is seemingly impossible to complete.
I am so excited about seeing all the creations in this challenge. Good luck everyone and happy soaping!