Soap is a lifelong love of mine. Making it, using it, using other brilliantly made handmade soap . . . there's something magical about it. It's basic chemistry, yes, but there's something else in there, something that moves beyond chemistry, something of the spiritual bent.
Anastasia Angelopolous of Chant Aromatics (eleneetha at Etsy) has it down. She's elevated the art of soap making to another level, and I often try to emulate her techniques -- usually just singing to the soap or clearing my mind and meditating a bit before starting on a batch. I normally use just three basic oils/butters -- organic virgin olive, organic coconut and organic cocoa butter. Every so often I'll throw in some hemp oil or butter, some shea, a little kokum, sweet almond, rose hip seed oil, olive leaf infused olive, but I more than usually just stick the the solid three ~ovoo, oc and oca. And sometimes, every blue moon or so, I make something absolutely spectacular. Like the rose soap I made last year with real rose oil, rose absolute, rose floral wax and every other rosy smelling eo I could get my hands on, and a pot load of patchouli. Today the fabu soap is this one, Dervish, a blend of the solid three and two of the most lush eo's I could dig up from the apothecary -- davana and Himalayan cedar wood. Davana is multi-faceted, it's fruity, piquant, pitchy and screamin', while the Himalayan cedar is smooth, creamy, mellow and sensual. The two combined create something entirely different, something alive and meditative, a soakin' scent. It smells floral and fruity, creamy and rich, like sandalwood, it's buttery and mouthwatering.
Years ago, when I had my shop, Delicia ~ A Natural Skin Care Delicatessen, I made a Neapolitan ice cream soap using davana in the strawberry layer of the soap, and it worked beautifully -- a little davana, a little pink grapefruit, a little lemon, a dash of vanilla, and voila! Strawberry! It was a hit. That soap was made in big blocks, so when a customer wanted some, we'd have to make this big production of taking the soap to the marble slap and cutting off a piece and weighing it out (we sold the soap by the oz). It was quite something, working in that shop, getting to be there when a customer experienced the fragrances of everything in the shop -- the soaps, the body butters, balms, and the smattering of Natural Botanical Perfumes we offered. I'm worming my way back into the Tower District and am eyeballing a very small space to rent, so my aspirations of being a shop keep may be coming true once again.
I'm working furiously to get all my ducks in a row for the scent event I've planned for May 14th. I recently found out that the weekend I scheduled the event is also the same weekend that Fresno hosts its annual Pirate gathering. So my competing event (and we're both in the same neighborhood) is a gathering of tavern wenches and peg-legged hairy dudes with eye patches. Stiff competition indeed.