Mantra Swirl Winners

November 2021 Soap Challenge

Mantra swirls are a specific type of swirl that resemble an infinity or figure eight.  The challenge for November was divided into two different types of mantra swirl techniques: original mantra swirls and mantra marbles. The original mantra swirl was introduced to the soapmaking world with a tutorial by Nicole Benitez published in Saponifier Magazine (now known as Making Soap Magazine) in 2009.  It was the second challenge we did as a Club in July 2013!

Mantra marbles is a technique that combines Ebru paper marbling with the mantra swirl. Credit for this technique goes to Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab.  The Soap Challenge Club originally featured this technique in August of 2015.

It was fun to re-visit both of these techniques this month and see a variety of beautiful swirls!

Our sponsor this month is Artisan Master LabelThey provide design and printing services for soap, cosmetic and food labels.  One of our challenge club members, Mary Hansen of Hansen Soapery in Florida started the business with her brother Bob, who has decades of design and printing service experience.  The prizes for our top three winners in each category include design services (as well as labels for grand prize).  The Sponsor’s Choice winners in the competitive categories and the bonus category will also receive design services as a prize this month.  We are so grateful for their generous contributions to our winners!

The more popular category to enter this month was the original mantra swirl, so I’ll start with those winners.

Congratulations to Diane Schmid in Austria, our grand prize winner!  Peacock in Mantra Swirl is a stunning, colorful mantra with thin, clean lines and wispy swirls:

Peacock in Mantra Swirl by Diane Schmid

Diane wins a $100 value prize package from Artisan Master Label that includes design service with multiple designs and 100 labels – wow!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post where you can read more about how she made her soap.

Second place goes to Wan-Ting Gonzalez of Tile Soaps in California for her beautiful mantra swirl soap called “Tropical Bird.”  This was her third attempt at the technique, and the precision of her swirls, along with the gorgeous color palette really stands out:

Tropical Bird by Tile Soaps

Wan-Ting’s prize is an $85 value design service with multiple designs from Artisan Master Label.  Congratulations!  Check out her Instagram post with more information and another photo of this soap, linked to the photo above.

In third place we have Katja Schneider of Absolut Seife in Germany, who has created a lovely mantra swirl in blue.  She calls it the “Blue Butterfly” and truly it does resemble this magical insect:

Blue Butterfly by Absolut Seife

Katja wins a $35 value design service package for one design from Artisan Master Label – way to go!  This photo is also linked to her Instagram post with more information about blue butterflies!

For the Sponsor’s Choice award in the original mantra category, Bob has chosen Hallie Edlund of Double Cherry Soapworks in Washington for her super fun Confetti Cake soap.  

Confetti Cake by Double Cherry Soapworks

Wonderful job, Hallie!!  She also wins a $35 value design service package for one design from Artisan Master Label – woo hoo!  Click on the photo for more information about this first-time Challenge Club participant on her Instagram post!

Next up are the Recognition Awards for the original mantra category.  Best Technique goes to William Baczek in Massachusetts for his Pink and Blue Mantra soap!  The goal of the technique is excellent, fluid mantra swirls, pulling the soap across the entire design. Consistent symmetry is also considered important to good technique.  Not only does William’s soap have all of these characteristics, but it also has beautiful colors with excellent contrast:

Pink and Blue Mantra by William Baczek

Great job, William – especially as a new soapmaker and first time participating in the Club!  The photo is linked to his Instagram post, if you’d like to check it out!

The Best Use of Color Award goes to Elena Tan in Malaysia for her colorful Magnificent Bali soap!  Elena use four dividers and incorporated nine different colors in her design.  The result is truly fantastic!

Magnificent Bali by Elena Tan

This is Elena’s third out of five attempts at this technique.  Be sure to click on the photo to see her post on Instagram!

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with awesome photography and beautifully displayed soaps.  I choose Amber Coon of Smithfield Valley Soaps in New York to receive this award for her stunning photo of her Sugar Plum Swirl soaps!  The presentation is pleasing, not only because she placed the soaps at various angles, but they are also symmetrical and perfectly centered with plenty of white space around them.  The lighting and focus are also excellent:

Sugar Plum Swirl by Smithfield Valley Soaps

Click on the photo above to see Amber’s Instagram post with more photos and supplier information for her colors and fragrance.

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.  I thought Beryl Moseanko in Canada did an incredible job on her Ghost of Christmas Trees Past soap!  The mantra swirls are nice and fluid, covering the majority of the soaps and the colors certainly look like trees:

Ghost of Christmas Trees Past by Beryl Moseanko

Beryl did a great job with her photography and presentation as well!  Check out her Facebook post with more information about her soap by clicking on the photo above.

Next up are the winners from the mantra marbles category!  Congratulations goes to Daniela Mills of The Nature in Us in Ontario, Canada for her grand prize winning Be You soap!  Daniela has been actively participating in the challenges for a year and a half, and this is her first time placing in the top three.  Check out the amazing colors, symmetry and swirls in her soap:

Be You by The Nature in Us

Daniella wins a $100 value prize package from Artisan Master Label that includes design service with multiple designs and 100 labels – fantastic!  Click on the photo to find out the fragrance notes for this bonfire-style soap on Instagram.

Second place in the mantra marbles category goes to Chrysta Hiser of Wild Elephant Soap in Texas for her amazing Autumn Flames soap, inspired by brilliant fall leaves against a sky background:

 

Autumn Flames by Wild Elephant Soap

This is also Chrysta’s first time placing in the top three, so it is very exciting that she wins an $85 value design service with multiple designs from Artisan Master Label!  She has posted a pouring video on her Instagram post – just click on the photo!

In third place we have Matylda Holtmann in Germany who created a unique looking mantra marble soap that resembles a praying mantis!  The colors and swirls are so fluid and smooth:

Encounter of Praying Mantis by Matylda Holtmann

Matylda’s prize is a $35 value design service package for one design from Artisan Master Label – hooray! Be sure to click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more photos!

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the mantra marbles category goes to Amanda Johnson of Cheeky Monkey Soap in Massachusetts for her Gilded Holiday soap.  Bob was drawn to the beautiful gold mica swirls:

Gilded Holiday by Cheeky Monkey Soap

Amanda wins the $35 design service package – way to go!! Click on the photo if you’d like to check out her Facebook post with more information about her soap and why she was so excited by this technique.

Now we get to do Recognition Awards for the mantra marbles category!  For the Best Technique in this category, the goal was the same: fluid mantra swirls that cover the majority of the soap and excellent symmetry.  I was drawn to Sea Anemone by Linda Irawan in Indonesia, not only for the gorgeous mantra swirls, but also the unique way she poured her colors in the mold to create such a fantastic design:

Sea Anemone by Linda Irawan

Such beautiful contrasting colors and wispy mantra swirls!  Click on the photo to see her post on Instagram that includes photos of her process.

Next is the Best Use of Color Award.  This award is for an excellent color palette with smooth, well-mixed colors.  Susan Marchant in New Zealand created a beautiful Tropicana Dreams soap that meets these criteria so well!  Check out the crisp lines and lovely colors:

Tropicana Dreams by Susan Marchant

Susan says she chose these colors in the hope that she will be able to travel overseas again soon.  I hope you can too, Susan!  Be sure to check out her Instagram post by clicking on the photo!

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen Midnight Fantasy by Jessica Krames of Swamp Farm Suds in Florida.  She’s done a fantastic job placing her soaps and getting just the right lighting and focus, with just a slightly blurred background.  The black surface she has placed them on is shiny and clean, and the soaps have been beautifully beveled and appear to be the exact same size.  Very professional looking!

Midnight Fantasy by Swamp Farm Suds

Jessica has more information about her soap and more stunning photos – including the wet soap in the mold – on her Instagram post which is linked to this photo.

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 Talissa Almeida in Brazil for her Take Two mantra marbles soap!  I love the fluid swirls, the colors with a touch of gold mica, and the gorgeous way she has presented it:

Take Two by Talissa Almeida

Read all about her soap, and see the other mantra swirls soaps she made for the challenge this month on her Instagram post by clicking on the photo.

Finally, we have the Bonus Category Sponsor’s Choice award!  Congratulations to Lynette Olsen in California for receiving this award for her Christmas themed mantra swirl soap called “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”  Bob liked the clean lines and how much the colors pop!

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Lynette Olsen

Way to go, Lynette!! She wins a $35 value design service package from Artisan Master Label.  Click on the photo to read more about this soap and see photos of the wet soap in the mold on her Instagram post.

The rest of the entries for the original mantra, mantra marbles, and bonus categories are at the bottom of this post!

We’re going to take a short break for Thanksgiving in the U.S. and then registration will open for the December challenge on Monday, November 29!!  I have advertised this challenge as an “inspiration photo” challenge, but has I’ve been working on the tutorial it has become so much more than that!  In fact, I’m changing the name to “Back to Basics.”  The primary goal is to create soap that is uniform in color with completely smooth texture and crisp lines between colors.  The secondary part of the challenge is color matching.  You may only use the six colors that are provided from the inspiration photo in your soap.  Color matching should be close, but doesn’t have to be exact.  You will be allowed to use any design technique that you wish to showcase the uniform colors, crisp lines between colors, and smooth texture of your soap.  

I am also launching a brand new winners category in December that will only include those who have placed in the top three during January through November in 2021.  The other two competitive categories are beginner and experienced.  Benefits of participating next month include being able to vote in all three categories, and competing against those with similar experience levels.  Additionally, this will be a completely blind challenge – no one can post anything about their entry anywhere on the internet and no names will be attached until after the winners are announced!

No hints about the inspiration photo or sneak peeks of the soap I made for the tutorial…you can only see them once you have access to the tutorial.

Registration for the December 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 original mantra and mantra marble submissions in the order they were voted below:

Original Mantra Category


 

 

Mantra Marbles Category