Hanger Swirl Winners

January 2022 Soap Challenge

Hanger swirls are one of the original design techniques for cold process soap. The first person I remember creating this technique is Sharon of Platypus Dreams in Australia.  They can be whimsical and unplanned, or you can have a specific design idea in mind, but the tricky part is that you can’t see what the design is until you cut the soap!  We did a hanger swirl challenge back in June 2014.  Much has changed since then – including the variety of designs and availability of hanger-type tools. You can still use a regular wire coat hanger bent to fit your mold, but you don’t have to anymore! 

Our sponsor this month is Nurture Soap, a well-known supplier in the handcrafted soap industry. They offer premium soapmaking supplies, including soap colorants, fragrances, carrier oils, soap molds and other soapmaking equipment – including hanger tools! They are providing gift certificate prizes for the top three voted winners in both the beginner and experienced categories, plus Sponsor’s Choice prizes for these and another for the bonus category!

We had a wide variety of beautiful hanger swirl designs represented this month, and an excellent participation rate.  What a great way to start 2022!  Let’s take a look at the winners from the experienced category first:

Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Christina Greenwood of Luna and the Leaf in Texas!  She made a gorgeous ombre and hanger swirl design in her soap called Dark Amethyst.  Even Christina was surprised at how wonderful her first attempt at an ombre turned out!  The swirls are nice and fluid, and the color combination is just stunning: 

Dark Amethyst by Luna and the Leaf

Christina wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap.  Fantastic job!  You can see more about her soap on her Instagram post by clicking on the photo.

In second place we have Irina Beketova of IB Organics also in Texas!  Irina combined the One Pot Wonder pouring technique with a butterfly swirl hanger design to create this super colorful and glorious result:

Fluttering Companion by IB Organics

The depth of color is just amazing, isn’t it?  Irina wins a $35 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – so awesome!  This photo is linked to her Instagram post where you can see more photos and information about this soap.

Third place goes to Natalie Jepson-Kundiger of Willow Tree Weaving and Creations in Kansas.  This was her first time participating in the Club, and she did an incredible job using three secret feather swirl designs to create flowers in her soap.  She calls it “Alice’s Afternoon” inspired by The Golden Afternoon in Alice in Wonderland:

Alice’s Afternoon by Willow Tree Weaving & Creations

What a fabulous soap! Natalie wins a $25 gift certificate from Nurture Soap!  She wrote up a blog post that includes a video link to the making of this soap if you would like to see it.  Just click on the photo.

Carrie Thornsbury, owner of Nurture Soap, has chosen Julie DiNicola of Simply Original Soaps in Florida to receive the Sponsor’s Choice award in the experienced category.  She says, “I really like the differentiation of colors and the use of black in the soap to further define the colors. This soap is visually stunning. I was immediately drawn to it!”

Epic Swirls by Simply Original Soaps

Gorgeous soaps, Julie!  She wins a $20 gift certificate from Nurture, and you can check out her Instagram post that is linked to the photo as well.

Recognition Awards for the experienced category are next.  The Best Technique award is for the soap that has excellent fluid swirls that are unmuddied and beautiful.  I loved the unique approach that Sayani Biswas of Cocoon Creations LLC in Texas took by combining the hanger swirl with the mantra swirl.  The result is truly fantastic when you see how consistent the swirls are that she made blindly:

Wings of Fire by Cocoon Creations LLC

The swirls are centered in the soap, and the colors are outstanding!  If you’d like to read more about this soap, check out Sayani’s Instagram post that is linked to the photo.

The Best Use of Color Award is for an entry with smooth, well-mixed colors with excellent contrast.  My choice for this award is Backwoods Hike by Melora Campbell of Tanglebrook Soapery in North Carolina.  Melora has chosen a beautiful six-color palette to represent outdoor elements of water, trees, sun and sky.

Backwoods Hike by Tanglebrook Soapery

She did a great job dispersing the colors throughout the design.  Click on the photo to see Melora cutting this soap on her Instagram post!

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with outstanding photography and soaps that are staged well.  This award goes to Yoshie Kawano of Carino Coni in Japan for her soap titled おひな様 (Hino-sama).  The photo has excellent focus, the soaps are shown in multiple angles, and the background is romantic yet neutral to match this charming design and color scheme.

おひな様 (Hino-sama) by Carino Coni

Soft light gives very few shadows, and all of the soaps are perfectly beveled and cleaned.  For more information, click on the photo to see Yoshie’s Instagram post.

Please check out the rest of the entries in the experienced category HERE.

For the beginner category, our grand prize winner is Beryl Moseanko in Canada!  Her Rainbow Feather soap showcases the secret feather swirl in all the colors of the rainbow.  It’s such a well-executed, clean design for a beginner!

Rainbow Feather by Beryl Moseanko

Beryl wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – Congratulations!!  Check out her Facebook post for more information about the colorants used by clicking on the photo.

Second place in the beginner category goes to Nicole Strayer in the US for her Lucy in the Sky soaps!  Nicole combined a One Pot Wonder pour with her hanger swirls and created this gorgeous display of sky colors:

Lucy in the Sky by Nicole Strayer

Nicole wins a $35 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – way to go!  Take a look at her Instagram post that is linked to the photo.

In third place we have Erin Korb in Kansas who was also inspired by sky colors – a beautiful Midwestern sunrise!  She used the Epic Colors collection from Nurture Soap, plus some activated charcoal to mimic the colors in her inspiration photo, and it all came together wonderfully:

Fire in the Sky by Erin Korb

Erin’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – how cool is that?  If you’d like to see her amazing inspiration photo, just click on the soap photo to see it in her Instagram post.

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the beginner category goes to Teia Westbrook-Johnson in Virginia for her Chili Peppers soap.  Carrie says, “With Chili Peppers, the swirls are very well defined and not muddied or brown, which is really easy to do with the colors chosen. The fact that they did not blend together shows both mastery of trace and colors.”

Chili Peppers by Teia Westbrook-Johnson

Teia wins a $20 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – hooray!  She has also used colors from our sponsor to create her lovely hanger swirls.  Click on the photo to see more photos of this beautiful soap in her Instagram post.

Now we get to do Recognition Awards for the beginner category!  For Best Technique I was looking for nice, fluid swirls and skillful compostion.  Spring Breeze by Eriko Jikuya in Japan fit both of these criteria.  I was impressed by the wispy hanger swirl design in a purposeful spiral shape:

Spring Breeze by Eriko Jikuya

Such well-defined natural colors as well!  Be sure to click on the photo to see Eriko’s Instagram post with more information and a photo of two more hanger swirl soaps she made for the challenge. 

Next is the Best Use of Color Award, and I have chosen Equinox by Heidi Glazier in Tennessee to receive this award.  The colors really stand out because of their brightness and contrast, but I also love how smooth and well-mixed they are.  The swirls flow so delightfully without being muddied.

Equinox by Heidi Glazier

Great job, Heidi!  I look forward to seeing more of your work in future challenges!  (Photo not linked.)

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen “Burning Bright” by Zoe Reilly-Ansons.  This photo is just superb in every way!  The soaps are well-lit and focused, there’s a balance of dark and light in the background that alternates with the dark and light colors of the soap, and the soaps are centered with plenty of “white space” around the edges.

Burning Bright by Zoe Reilly-Ansons

Plus, how gorgeous are those flaming hanger swirls?  Well done, Zoe!  (Photo not linked)

Please check out the rest of the entries for the beginner category HERE.

Finally, we have our Sponsor’s Choice award for the bonus category! Carrie has chosen That Neon Butterfly by Lynette Olsen in California for this award.  She says, The colors are very bright and well-differentiated. The butterfly was also done very well. She did a great job!”

This is such a stunning soap!  Lynette wins a $20 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – hooray!!  This photo is linked to Lynette’s Instagram post with more information about her soap.  Be sure to take a look!

Check out the rest of the bonus entries HERE.

Now that the Hanger Swirl challenge is wrapped up, we are moving on to Soap Dough Embeds for the February challenge.  Our guest teacher is the talented Lisa Cunningham of I Dream in Soap, who has quickly become an expert on the subject.  Her tutorial is full of wonderful tips to help you succeed with soap dough, and she’s sponsoring the beginner category as well.  Sorcery Soap is the original and iconic resource for soap dough and will be sponsoring the experienced category.  Here’s just one of the soaps Lisa made for the video tutorial:

Transforming soap by Lisa Cunningham

Registration opens Monday!  You’ll have the option to sign up for February only for $14.95, or the next three months for $40.50.  Check out the Upcoming Challenges page for more info and to sign up for notifications.  I hope you’ll join us!