Abstract Art Design Winners

July 2021 Soap Challenge

For the July challenge, we were inspired by abstract art created by palette knife designs.  The goal was to use a base soap as the canvas, and add textured soap on a large, flat side of the soap using various tools that could include actual palette knives, but they were not required.  We used the non-objective definition of abstract art, meaning designs must simply be shapes and patterns that do not try to represent any person, animal or object whether realistic or of a fantasy nature.  The two different competitive categories were Natural (soaps that were colored and scented with all natural ingredients) and Synthetic (soaps that were colored and scented with ingredients that are skin safe, but may have been created in a lab).

This was a completely blind challenge, which meant that no one could share anything about their entries anywhere on the internet until the winners were announced.  The names were also removed from the entries during the voting period, and have just now been revealed.

We had two brand new sponsors this month!  Soap Stamps For You sponsored the Natural category, providing gift certificate prizes for the top three voted winners, plus a Sponsor’s Choice winner in this category and another in the Bonus category.  They are the world’s first 3D stamps manufacturer via 3D printer, with tools made for cold process, hot process and melt and pour soaps, as well as bath bomb makers. Every single tool is hand finished and 100% quality checked for easy use and crisp results.  I was fortunate to interview Viktor on Instagram!  You can check it out HERE.

Japan Soap Design Association sponsored the Synthetic category, also providing gift certificate prizes for the top three voted winners, plus a Sponsor’s Choice winner in this category and another in the Bonus category.  They offer certification and soapmaking school, Fastcolor (micas and pigments), and soapmaking tools supplier in Japan, with international shipping available.  I really enjoyed using Fastcolors for the tutorial soap in the Synthetic category.  They stayed very true and vibrant!

Let’s start with the winners from the Natural category…

Congratulations goes to Amy Bautista of Elysian Acres Soap in Colorado for her excellent Parfait soap!  Amy used annatto, red Brazilian clay, pink kaolin clay, alkanet, indigo, white kaolin clay, and activated charcoal to color her soap, and orange, lemon, bergamot, lavender & peppermint essential oils for the fragrance.  The texture looks amazing!!  Amy’s prize is a $50 gift certificate to Soap Stamps For You – woo hoo!

Parfait by Elysian Acres Soap

Second place goes to Sabina Allegretti in Italy for her beautiful soap called Pandora.  She created a rainbow of natural colors using yellowdock, paprika, annatto, spinach powder, indigo, and madder root with coconut carbon for the black.  It is scented with an essential oil blend of litsea cubeba, sweet orange, rosemary, peppermint, lavender, and ginger.  Sabina wins a $35 gift certificate from Soap Stamps For You – awesome!

Pandora by Sabina Allegretti

In third place we have Yumi Mori in Japan, who has created her abstract design soap called Summer Pond with such beautiful natural colors!  She used indigo powder for blue, lithospermum root infused oil for purple, and himalayan rhubarb infused oil for pink or red.  The white base soap is made with 100% coconut oil, and scented simply with lavender essential oil.  She used real gold leaf to embellish.  Yumi’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Soap Stamps For You – congratulations!

Summer Pond by Yumi Mori

For the Sponsor’s Choice award in the Natural category, Viktor has chosen Amy Lapham in New Hampshire for her entry titled “The Abyss.”  Viktor says, “Amy did a great job trying something new, and being brave enough not to go with something she has already done. The colour turned out just perfect.”  She used indigo and kaolin clay to achieve the dark grey to white ombre effect and scented the soap with eucalyptus essential oil.  Her prize is a $20 gift certificate from Soap Stamps For You!

The Abyss by Amy Lapham

Before I announce the Recognition Awards for the Natural category, I want to clarify something.  In the past, I have sometimes given a few recognition awards to those in the top three; however, the goal is really to recognize other outstanding entries that did not get voted to the top.  You can expect the top three to have excellent techique, colors and presentation, but there are other entries that deserve recognition also.

The entry I would like to recognize for Best Technique in the Natural category is Nuclear by Diletta Vitturi in Italy.  I love the way she layered the textures, utilizing the colors to create an amazing design that truly looks like it could hang on a wall.  She used Paprika CO2 extract and red palm oil to create the vibrant red, and activated charcoal for black, with white kaolin clay to lighten some of the base oils to yellow.

Nuclear by Diletta Vitturi

The Best Use of Color Award goes to Lucia Mori, also in Italy, for her brilliant Blue and Orange soap!  Lucia did an excellent job creating these complimentary colors with indigo for the blue and red palm for the orange.  She mixed in charcoal with some of the blue on top to create more depth, and mixed paprika with some of the orange, additionally sprinkling more paprika on top as an embellishment.  The effect is quite stunning!  

Blue and Orange by Lucia Mori

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with outstanding photography and beautifully displayed soaps.  I loved this photo of Golden Memory soaps by Silke Johns of Soakind in the UK!  The first thing I notice is how the light shows off the texture of the design and how the tight focus reveals the smallest details in the soap.  Each soap is neatly beveled and the diagonal presentation creates interest.

Golden Memory by Silke Johns

The last recognition award is the Best Soap Newbie Award.  This one goes to someone who has been making soap for less than a year and has made fewer than 50 batches.  It is my pleasure to give this award to Eriko Jikuya in Japan for her Feelings of Gratitude soap!  Eriko has done an incredible job with the colors and textures of her soap, and the photo is also exceptional.  She used mugwort and rose clay for the natural colorants:

Feelings of Gratitude by Eriko Jikuya

Let’s take a look at the winners from the Synthetic category next!  Congratulations goes to Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana for her grand prize winning soap!  Teri did an exemplary job not only creating a fascinating abstract design, but framing it as well!  She calls it a Series of Near Escapes, which I’m sure has a good story behind it.  Teri wins a $50 gift certificate from Japan Soap Design Association – hooray!

Series of Near Escapes by Tree Marie Soapworks

Second place in the Synthetic category goes to Whitney Schneider of Cheeky Goat Soapery in Florida for her fantastic Vintage Ruffles soap!  Whitney says she made the ruffled/ripple pattern with a pallet knife, after pushing some soap around aimlessly and happening across the pattern.  The design is definitely unique and interesting!  Whitney wins a $35 gift certificate from Japan Soap Design Association for her efforts – way to go!

Vintage Ruffles by Cheeky Goat Soapery

In third place we have Wan-Ting Gonzalez of Tile Soaps in California who created these incredibly colorful Autumn Sky soaps!  I love the extra shimmer from the added splashes of gold mica.  Wan-Ting’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Japan Soap Design Association – well done!

Autumn Sky by Tile Soaps

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the Synthetic category goes to Margie Ewing in Washington State for her Jewels at Night soap.  Hisako says, “I felt that the multiple shades of this work were very mysterious. The color is very beautiful and many colors are used. It is a design that I will want to look at all the time. Thank you for your wonderful work.”  Just gorgeous!  Margie wins a $20 gift certificate from Japan Design Soap Association.

Jewels at Night by Margie Ewing

Now I get to announce the Recognition Awards for the Synthetic category!  For the Best Technique in this category I asked for my daughter’s help since she is a fine arts student.  She helped me choose Abstract Brat Attack by Natacia Binns in New York.  The colors and texture of this soap combined give a real wow factor!  

Abstract Brat Attack by Natacia Binns

Next is the Best Use of Color Award, and I believe Uprising is an awesome choice for this award.  Bridgid Allen of Woodville Soap Company in New Zealand created this magnificent soap, showcasing a unique palette with super smooth colors that blend without getting muddied.  It’s an excellent themed set with fun designs that are connected by color.

Uprising by Brigid Allen

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen Current Mood by Danielle Demyen of Humble Bumble Soap in California.  She did such a fantastic job planning out the colors of her design to move from one corner of this set of four soaps to the other.  The lighting perfectly highlights the texture of the abstract design, and once again we can see the smallest details because of the superb focus:

Current Mood by Danielle Demyen

The last recognition award is the Best Soap Newbie award!  Again, this goes to someone who has been making soap for less than a year and has made fewer than 50 batches.  I am very happy to present this award to Amanda Johnson of Cheeky Monkey Soap in Massachusetts for her Bedelia soap!  I love the colors and textures of her soap, and the gorgeous way she has presented it:

Bedelia by Cheeky Monkey Soap

Finally, we have the Bonus Category Sponsor’s Choice awards!  Viktor of Soap Stamps For You has chosen Windmill by Susan Marchant in New Zealand to receive this award.  He appreciates that the four soaps form a rotor-like design and come together in the middle to give a dynamic feeling.  Susan wins a $20 gift certificate from Soap Stamps For You for this well-crafted display of soap.

Windmill by Susan Marchant

Hisako of Japan Design Soap Association has chosen Summer Haze by Lucy Mulhern in Ireland for her Sponsor’s Choice award.  She says, “The bright colors are summery, and the textures are layered with paper and brushes.  In particular, the contrast and pattern of white and blue reminds me of the beach and feels like summer.”  Lucy wins a $20 gift certificate from Japan Design Soap Association – great work!

Summer Haze by Lucy Mulhern

The rest of the entries for the Natural, Synthetic, and Bonus categories are at the bottom of this post!  

Registration opens up for the August challenge tomorrow!!  We will be doing the Sqwiggle Pour, a technique created by our guest teacher Lisa Cunningham of I Dream in Soap.  Here’s the soap she made for the tutorial with micas from our sponsor Micamoma. They are suppliers of premium mica powder soap colours, neon colourants, cosmetic pigments and nail polish making supplies in the UK, with international shipping.

Sqwiggle Pour soap by Lisa Cunningham

Registration for the August challenge is just $12.95.  Check out the Upcoming Challenges page for more info and to sign up for notifications!

The rest of the Bonus category submissions can be found HERE.  Check out the Natural and Synthetic submissions in the order they were voted below, and if you click on the title of the soap, you’ll be able to see who made them. 

Natural Category

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Synthetic Category