Natural Stone Techniques Winners

July 2020 Soap Challenge

For the July challenge, members were given a several technique ideas to create either natural marble or natural river rock soaps.  They were given creative freedom to make their soaps however they wished to achieve the desired outcome.  In the process of this challenge, we received excellent counsel on how to identify true natural marble from a couple of our members who are geologists – it’s not as easy as you might think!  Since the colors of natural stones aren’t that impressive, I added a third category this month for members who wanted to create any type of rock or stone out of soap with any colors they wished.  It’s a non-competitive category, just for fun, and provided an opportunity for those who didn’t feel ready to be part of the competition to participate as well.

You can find the tutorial for these techniques in our Tutorial Shop!

Our fabulous sponsor this month is Mad Micas.  They offer carefully hand-selected and stringently tested premium micas, pigments, FDA batch certified lakes and dyes, glitters and other colorants that work beautifully in soaps, resins, crafts, bath bombs and more.  Their colorants are sourced exclusively from ethical supply lines. They require declarations from every supplier stating that no minors participate in any operations, including mining and factory work.

They have provided gift certificate prizes for our top three voted winners in the marble and river rock categories, as well as  Sponsor’s Choice prizes for each category, with an additional Sponsor’s Choice prize for the non-competitive category.  Thank you, Mad Micas!!!

I’m going to start with the winners from the marble category:

Our grand prize winner is Jana Sůvová Dolejšová in the Czech Republic who created her own silicone mold from a textured stone to mimic the texture of a natural marble slab.  The result is this stunning Crema Eva Marble soap:

Crema Eva Marble by Jana Sůvová Dolejšová

Congratulations to Jana for winning a $50 gift certificate from Mad Micas!!  Her soap is truly stands out from the others with its unique design!  Check out her Facebook post about this soap by clicking on the photo.  It includes a link to the video of her making the soap as well!

In second place we have Tami Ritz Gomez in California.  Her soap is titled “Magnificent Marble” and has subtle green and grey coloring with copper veining to create a natural looking stone:

Magnificent Marble by Tami Ritz Gomez

Tami’s prize is a $35 gift certificate from Mad Micas – awesome!  (Photo not linked)

Third place goes to Leila Hazou of Mad Soaper in Pennsylvania for perfectly elegant White Tiles soap!  The veining is delicate and lovely with just a hint of gold.

White Tiles by Mad Soaper

Great job, Leila!!  Her prize is a $25 gift certificate from Mad Micas.  You’ll find that she has created multiple marble soaps for the challenge when you click on the photo to check out her Instagram post!

The Sponsor’s Choice award from Mad Micas for the marble category goes to Daniela Mills of The Nature In Us in Canada for her amazing soaps titled “Rock my World.”  Jo and Karyn said, “This entry is by far the one we believe looked the most like marble.   Colors, textures, and lighting made this soap stand out.  The ‘chalky-like’ inconsistent corners look like real stone.  Bravo!”

Rock My World by The Nature In Us

Daniela wins a $20 gift certificate from Mad Micas – congratulations!  This soap is simply colored with titanium dioxide for the white with activated charcoal and silver and gold micas for the veining and accents.  Take a look at the other sphere shaped soaps she made with this technique by clicking on the photo and checking out her Instagram post!

Next we have the recognition awards for the marble category!  Starting with Best Technique, I have chosen Yumi Mori from Japan to receive this award.  Yumi took the natural color of the marble very seriously and considered the translucency of her soap by using 100% coconut oil for her recipe.  The result is a very realistic, true marble with delicate veining that looks remarkably like her inspiration photo of a Japanese marble called Kozakura: 

Kozakura by Yumi Mori

Very impressive work, Yumi!  You can check out her blog post about her soap by clicking on the photo – which includes a link to a video of her making the soap.

Next we have the Best Presentation Award.  This award goes to Robert Nadolny in Germany for the beautiful photo of his Marble-Dough soap.  The high resolution of the photo really brings the soap in the front and center into crisp focus and highlights every detail, while keeping the other two soaps just slightly blurred.  The lighting is fantastic, bringing out the colors of the soap without washing them out or creating harsh shadows.

Marble-Dough by Robert Nadolny

This photo is linked to Robert’s YouTube video where he demonstrates how he made the entire loaf from soap dough!

For Best Use of Color, I chose Julie DeNicola in Florida for her soap titled “Memories” made to look like Pink Etowah marble found in Georgia.  She based her soap on the Bok Tower Gardens that she visited as a kid:

Memories by Julie DeNicola

If you click on the photo, you’ll see how closely the pink in her marble soap matches the marble from her inspiration photo in her Facebook post!  I love the multi-dimensional look from the tone-on-tone pinks and grays that create the delicate and free-flowing veining.

Finally, Best Soap Newbie in the marble category goes to someone who has made fewer than 50 batches of soap and has been making soap for less than a year.  This award goes to Gaby Majoros in Australia for her beautiful Marble Marvel soap!  Gaby is a jeweller by trade and recently discovered her love for soapmaking at a local cold process workshop.  Her marble soap turned out incredibly well for the challenge with beautiful deep blue and black mica veining in the white base, with a touch of gold: 

Marble Marvel by Gaby Majoros

Feel free to click on the photo to see Gaby’s Instagram post about her soap and her new-found love of soapmaking!

Let’s take a look at the River Rock winners next.

The grand prize winner is Shaz Davis of Wild Wolf Soaps in New Zealand with her cleverly named soap, “Sedimentary, my dear Watson.”  Shaz was the very first entry for the river rock category.  (You’ll see why this is interesting information when you see who won second.)  These soaps could easily pass for rocks, don’t you think?  The colors and textures are simply perfect:

Sedimentary, my dear Watson by Wild Wolf Soaps

Shaz created her own silicone molds from real rocks and used volcanic sand and sea salt to create the texture in these fabulous soaps.  Her prize is a $50 gift certificate from Mad Micas – congratulations!!  Take a look at her Instagram post by clicking on the photo.  You’ll find more photos of this soap, as well as others she created for the challenge!

In second place we have Janie Hadsel in Colorado who created these wonderful River Rock Salt Bars for her entry!  She was the very last person to get her entry posted before the deadline!

River Rock Salt Bars by Janie Hadsel

Janie is a long-time member and supporter of the Club – in fact, she’s the one who inspired next month’s challenge! – but this is her very first time placing.  I’m very excited that she wins a $35 gift certificate from Mad Micas!  The photo is linked to Janie’s Instagram post about her soap.

Our third place winner (by one vote!) is Amy Bautista of Elysian Acres Soaps, also in Colorado!  Her entry will definitely make you take a second look to see if it’s soap.  She used a variety of techniques to create these very natural appearing river rock soaps:

Indigo Stones by Elysian Acres Soaps

Way to go, Amy, for winning a $25 gift certificate from Mad Micas!  You will definitely want to take a look at her Instagram post for more information about how she made this soap, as well as her discovery for coloring glycerin rivers for another soap she made for this month’s challenge!

The Sponsor’s Choice winner in the river rock category goes to Marina Baranov in Kentucky for her “Rock Solid” soap.  The Mad Micas team says, “We are loving the divots, curves and color marbling/swirling! We are in awe by the complexities of a rock’s hue and shape. This person has a superb attention to detail.  AHH-MAZING!”

Rock Solid by Marina Baranov

Marina wins a $20 gift certificate from Baraka – hooray!  Click on the photo to see Marina’s Instagram post about her soap and how she made it.

Recognition awards for the river rock category are next!  Best Technique award goes to Ann-Cathrin Schneider in Austria for her collection of river rock soaps called Danube.  Ann-Cathrin has had a life-long love for rock hunting and used her personal collection for inspiration.  I was impressed by the many different colors and textures she used to achieve multiple types of natural looking rock soaps:

Danube by Ann-Cathrin Schneider

These soaps came out wonderfully, and you can see Ann-Cathrin’s inspiration rocks by clicking on the photo to check out her Instagram post!

Next is the Best Presentation award which goes to Michal Nutt in Ohio for the photo of her Rugged river rock soaps!  The arrangement of the soaps is very pleasing, with the four soaps all stacked together in the center of the photo.  I really enjoy the rustic, weathered wood background, with the slats that run diagonally behind the soaps for added interest.  Michal took advantage of the indirect natural lighting to showcase her soaps beautifully:

Rugged by Michal Nutt

Take a look at Michal’s Instagram post about her soaps and check out the extra photo of her soap batter turning a surprise green color by clicking on the photo above!

The Best Use of Color award goes to Michelle Holicky in Minnesota for her Autumn Woods River Rocks.  Michelle explains how the colors were the key to her beautiful textures, as she used added water for the portions colored with Brazilian clays.  This resulted in a combination of different thicknesses of batter, and the mottled appearance of her soap that appears so realistic:

Autumn Woods River Rocks by Michelle Holicky

Click on the photo for more information in Michelle’s Instagram post that includes comparison photos with her inspiration rocks as well as her first attempt at this technique!

And now, we have the Best Soap Newbie award!  Congratulations to Gelly Kalouta in Greece for her excellent Pebble Beach soap!  Gelly has been making soap for less than a year and made fewer than 50 batches.  She did an excellent job with her colors, technique and presentation:

Pebble Beach by Gelly Kalouta

Fantastic job, Gelly!  I can’t wait to see more of your beautiful soap designs!  (Photo is not linked.)

 Finally, here is the winner of the Sponsor’s Choice award for the non-competitive “Snazzy Rock” category!  Mad Micas chose Irina Beketova in Texas to receive this award for her soap called Snazzy Jazzy.  They said, “The colors are bright and bold.  The design is on point and the different textures in the two rock soaps are gorgeous.  Well done!”

Irina wins a $20 gift certificate from Mad Micas!  Be sure to click on the photo to see even more amazing snazzy rock soaps by Irina in her Instagram post.

The rest of the entries for the Marble, River Rock, and Snazzy Rock categories are at the bottom of this post!

Registration for the August challenge opens on Monday for those who would like to join us for Layers with Drop Swirls.  The two categories are Beginner and Experienced.  Those who have made 50 or fewer batches or have been making soap for less than a year are the only ones who can enter the beginner category.  Everyone else will have to enter the experienced category.  Beginners can also choose to enter the experienced category if they wish!  I will also have a BONUS category again this month that is non-competitive.

Here is the soap I created for the video tutorial!  I hope you’ll join us!

Our sponsor for August is Creative Soap by Steso with amazing handmade soap tools for prizes. Check out the Current Challenge page for more info and to sign up for notifications!

The rest of the Snazzy Rock submissions can be found HERE.  Check out the Marble and River Rock submissions below:

Marble Category

River Rock Category