Inlaid Designs Winners Announcement

We learned the Inlaid Designs technique from guest teacher Carmen Iclodean of Earth’s Raw Beauty. Carmen has been perfecting the technique over the past several years and has created many beautiful soaps that leave you wondering – how did she do it? The technique opens up a wide world of design possibilities that are impossible to achieve any other way. Members took advantage of this aspect of the technique as they created their soapy masterpieces for the challenge.

Our sponsor this month is Elements Bath & Body. They offer a wide variety of wholesale soap making supplies, bath and body supplies, recipes, packaging, and accessories to suit any soap making or cosmetic requirements, and they also ship internationally! We are so grateful for their support and offering gift certificate prizes to the top three winners in both the regular and advanced categories!

We have several sets of winners for the regular and advanced categories. The top three spots are voted by the members, the Sponsor’s Choice awards are chosen by Elements, and I have chosen several entries to receive special recognition awards.

Let’s start with the advanced category, where members had to have at least one embed running through their soaps in addition to their inlaid design work.

Grand prize goes to Liz Martin of The Cape Coop in Massachusetts for her beautifully crafted soapscape featuring the Nauset Lighthouse, her favorite landmark on Cape Cod:

Nauset Lighthouse soap by The Cape Coop

Liz created an embed for the red and white parts of the lighthouse which was carefully placed as she poured the land, sea and sky around it. All the other details are part of the inlaid design. The silver light is especially spectacular! Congratulations on your $50 gift certificate prize from Elements, Liz! I’ve also chosen this entry to receive the Best Presentation award in the advanced category as the soaps are presented exceptionally well. The photo is perfectly balanced with the wood texture in the foreground and blurred background. Click on it to read more about the soap and her inspiration in her Instagram post.

In second place we have Emily Scherer of EJ’s Farm in Denver with her beautifully shaded Sunflowers soap with all natural colorants:

Sunflowers by EJ’s Farm

The embed for this soap is the half-cylinder shape used to represent the center of the flower. The petals and seeds were created with the inlaid technique. Emily created several versions of sunflowers in her quest for the perfect shade, which can be seen in her Instagram post that is linked to the photo. Her prize is a $35 gift certificate from Elements – woo hoo!

Third place goes to Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Canada for her whimsical Rabbit Rain Dance design:

Rabbit Rain Dance by ChezHelene

She created the umbrella embed in a Pringles can, and the dancing rabbit silhouettes and umbrella handles are all inlaid. The lines are so perfectly clean and the contrast is stunning! Helene wins a $25 gift certificate from Elements!! Click on the photo to check out her post on her Facebook page with more photos of her process.

The Sponsor’s Choice award goes to Taina Garcia in Florida for her Llama, llama! soap. Here’s the feedback from Elements: “Llama, Llama is such a colorful, fun, and happy soap! We just love everything about it! Well done!”
I completely agree!

Llama, llama! by Taina Garcia

Taina wins a $20 gift certificate from Elements. Click on the photo to see her process photos and the other fun soap she created from this batch on her Facebook post!

Here are the winners of the rest of the recognition awards for the advanced category:

I’ve chosen Jaimie Pendergrass of Soap Authority in Washington State to receive the Best Technique award for her Kawaii Cupcakes:

Kawaii Cupcakes by Soap Authority

I was super impressed with Jaimie’s engineering skills for her embeds. She created a 2-part embed for the cupcakes and another embed for the awning. The precision of her inlaid designs is incredible, and all of the details really make these soaps something special and definitely unattainable with any other soapmaking technique. Jaimie did a great job planning out her design so that the embeds work together with the inlays. The photo is linked to her blog post with a comprehensive tutorial on how she created the soap.

Best Use of Color award goes to Cheryl Wetzler of Saponaceous Soap in Pennsylvania for her Flowers Always entry:

Flowers Always by Saponaceous Soap

I love how Cheryl created four different types of flowers with the same set of embeds as the centers! She was very crafty in how she inlaid the petals and created some really lovely shading and variations of colors. Even the green to tan layers in the background enhance the flowers and create the illusion of greenery. Feel free to click on the entry photo to see Cheryl’s post on Instagram with lots of process photos!

I’ve chosen Rhodana Fields in Maryland to receive the Best Soap Newbie award for her Peaceful Poppies soap. This award is only given to those who have made soap for less than a year and fewer than 50 batches. Rhodana actually won this award last month in the regular category!

Peaceful Poppies by Rhodana Fields

It’s certainly not easy to compete with more experienced soapmakers as a newbie, but Rhodana’s skills are certainly making quick progress! She created the poppy heads as “the world’s ugliest” embeds and enjoyed many firsts in the course of completing her soap. Click on the photo to read all about her process, see the embed, and why she was compelled to make this soap on her Instagram post!

Now, let’s check out the equally stunning results from the regular category, where the inlaid design work was the only requirement:

Congratulations to Jodi Welsh in Maryland for taking Grand Prize with her Reflection soap! Jodi was the Sponsor’s Choice winner in the advanced category last month, and has created a beautifully balanced design for her entry this month:

Reflection soap by Jodi Welsh

Jodi’s soap was inspired by an art piece plus a color palette she found on Pinterest. Her interpretation became a piece of art in its own right, with beautiful, yet opposing colors to create the illusion of the tree and root system. The fruit of her efforts is a $50 gift certificate from Elements – fantastic!! The photo is linked to her post on Instagram where you can see progress and inspiration photos as well.

Second place in the regular category goes to Lindsey Smith in Washington State for her intricate Dahlia soap:

Dahlia soap by Pirate and Pearl Soap Co.

Lindsey did a fantastic job with her soap, creating an entire canvas with her flower pattern. The shading of the petal colors really enhanced the design, and the difficulty of the carving is also to be admired! Lindsey’s prize is a $35 gift certificate from Elements. Check out her Instagram post about her soap by clicking on the photo!

In third place by just one vote, is Dawn Birt of Perry Creek in Ohio with her Soap & Water entry that resembles stained glass:

Soap & Water by Perry Creek

Each piece has an element of water to it that brings them all together, and because of her testing, she was able to get the colors she wanted for each tiny cavity. Dawn did a lot of carving to make these stained glass soaps come to life, and her reward is a $25 gift certificate from Elements! You can click on the photo to see more photos of her process on her Instagram post.

The Sponsor’s Choice award goes to Svetlana Moiseyeva in the Ukraine for her Sunset by the River soap! The Elements team says, “Sunset by the River really evokes the feeling of tranquility; it’s just gorgeous!” I was also impressed with the soap as Svetlana is very new to the soapmaking process!

Sunset by the River by Svetlana Moiseyeva

Congratulations!! Svetlana wins a $20 gift certificate from Elements! (The photo is linked to her Instagram post.)

Recognition awards for the regular category are next! Starting with Best Technique, I wanted to choose an entry that obviously could not be made with any other technique, the carving was neat, and the inlays were an integral part of the design. I had to choose Tiziana Cherubini’s Rubik’s Cube soap!

Rubik’s Cube soap by Tiziana Cherubini

If you click on the photo, you can see more photos of the soap from every angle in Tiziana’s Facebook post. She carved and inlaid every side of the cube with a different color! Very impressive work!

For Best Presentation in the regular category, I chose Conny Chubbuck’s Soapy Stick Family! Conny chose her own family as the subject of her soap. I was very impressed with the clean lines of her “chalkboard” stick figures and the way she stacked the soaps to present them:

The Soapy Stick Family by Conny Chubbuck

The photo itself is balanced, well lit without shadows, and all the soaps are in focus and fully presented within the photo. Great job, Conny! You can click on the photo to see and read more about Conny’s process on her Facebook post.

Congratulations to Rebecca Chobat in Virginia who received the Best Use of Color award for her Jamaican Sunset soap:

Jamaican Sunset by Rebecca Chobat

The most impressive part of this soap is the ombre sunset that goes from yellow to orange to pink to purple to blue! The colors are smooth and well-mixed, and completely vibrant as the perfect backdrop to the simple palm tree silouette inlays. (Photo not linked.)

Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award goes to Kayse Kruschke in Minnesota for her Metamorphosis soap set! I’m super impressed that this soap newbie made such a realistic portrait of each stage of the life cycle:

Metamorphosis by Kayse Kruschke

The monarch butterfly is especially beautiful and realistic! Please click on the photo to read and see more about Kayse’s process as well as her inspiration photos on her Facebook post!

The rest of the entries are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post. Next month we get to make soaps with Mirror Glaze Designs! This technique is credited to Meagan Dearmon of Avery Grey Soapery. Here are some photos of the soaps I made for the video tutorial:

Mirror Glaze Design for the regular category by Amy Warden
Mirror Glaze Design for the regular category by Amy Warden
Mirror Glaze Design for the advanced category by Amy Warden

Registration opens Monday, April 1st for the April challenge! More information on the Current Challenge page. Sign up to be notified as soon as registration opens HERE.

And now, here are the rest of the entries for March:

Advanced category:

Regular category: