Sculpted Layers Winners

April 2022 Soap Challenge

The April challenge was all about using sculpted layers to create a landscape or design inspired by a national park, national monument, or other famous or recognizable landmark (either locally or globally known).  Our guest teacher Roxanne Moore of Caprica Soapery and recent winner of the Meet Your Maker Showdown on Discovery Plus created a wonderful video tutorial and calculator tool for our members which is now available for purchase HERE!

Our sponsor this month is Love Your Suds, providing gift certificate prizes for the beginner and experienced categories, including the top three voted winners and two Sponsor’s Choice winners, plus an additional Sponsor’s Choice winner from the bonus category.

Belinda Williams is the creative force behind Love Your Suds®, the Kaleidoscope technique, and the Soap Shaper™ design tools. Her passion for soap making and experience in the design industry inspired her to develop high-quality, multiuse tools called Soap Shapers that allow soap makers to create extraordinary designs in soap – the first of their kind. In 2019 she launched the Soap Shaper Shop where you can purchase pull-through tools, scraper-style Soap Shapers, soap stamps, extruder discs, molds, and more.  Roxanne worked with Belinda to make the perfect custom soap shapers for her amazing tutorial!

There were so many fantastic entries for this challenge with complex designs and beautiful colors!  I really enjoyed seeing inspiration from so many fantastic places from all over the world and hearing the stories that made them meaningful to our members.  Starting with the experienced category, these are the winners who came out on top.  Congratulations goes to Lynette Olsen in California for her grand prize finish with her fabulous Isle Royale soap!  The inspiration for this soap is Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.  Lynette did an amazing job capturing the colors and mood of her inspiration:

Isle Royale by Lynette Olsen

Lynette’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – so awesome!!  This was her third attempt with this design.  You can see her other two tries and her inspiration photo by clicking on the photo above which is linked to Lynette’s post on Instagram.

Second place goes to Ben Frazer in the UK for his completely breathtaking soap featuring Mount Fuji in Japan.  The crisp lines between layers and smooth colors are truly outstanding!

Fujisan by Ben Frazer

Great work, Ben! He wins a $35 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – way to go! (Photo not linked)

In third place we have Etsuko Watanabe of Primadonna in Japan.  She has also chosen Mount Fuji as her inspiration, with a completely different design.  By using gradients for the sky and in-the-pot swirls for the water, she has created a distinctive type of beautiful depth and texture:

Mt Fuji by Etsuko Watanabe

Wonderful job, Etsuko!  She wins a $25 gift certificate from Love Your Suds!  Click on the photo to see the YouTube video of the making of this soap.

Next we have the Sponsor’s Choice winner from the experienced category.  Belinda has chosen Amy Bautista of Elysian Acres Soap in Colorado to receive this award.  She says, “This is so impressive! I recognized the Great Wall immediately. The number of layers alone is noteworthy. It’s such a thoughtful design with the pencil lines and the turmeric speckles.

The Great Wall by Elysian Acres Soap

Truly outstanding, Amy!  She wins a $20 gift certificate from Love Your Suds.  Be sure to check out her Instagram post with more information about her soap and her inspiration photo by clicking on the photo!

Recognition Awards for the experienced category are next.  The Best Technique award goes to Chass Walsted-Fakler of Wild Plantanica in Montana for her Rock Creek Lake soap inspired by its namesake in California.  Chass took elements from three different photos of the lake and surrounding mountains to capture this beautiful scene that looks like a work of art:

Rock Creek Lake by Wild Plantanica

The pencil lines that outline the shapes really make the design pop!  Click on the photo if you wish to see the three inspiration photos she pulled from and the list of natural colorants used in this soap.

The Best Use of Color Award goes to someone who has used color not only to create a most stunning sunset, but also the illusion of fog settling in the Smoky Mountains.  My choice for this award is Fire Over Smoke by Dani Demyen of Humble Bumble Soaps in California.  It has all the makings of a truly wonderful design! 

Fire Over Smoke by Humble Bumble Soap

Really beautiful soap, Dani!  Read more about her process and see other sculpted soaps she attempted on her Instagram post that is linked to the photo.

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with fantastic photography and well displayed soaps.  I love The Beginning of Human Art by Maria Merle in Germany because of the interesting way the lines of the soap are put together!  By placing the faces at an angle and in combination with one side of the soap, we get a sense of the landscape moving across them.  It is also well-focused and lit, without shadows or over exposure.

The Beginning of Human Art by Maria Merle

Did you know Vogelherd Cave in Germany is considered the beginning of human art? It was in this small cave that the people of the European Ice Age created one of the first pieces of human art 32,000 years ago. You can see Maria’s inspiration and two of the pieces made from ivory in her Instagram post linked to the photo.

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

In the beginner category, I am excited to announce that Zandra Ty in the Philippines is our runaway winner!  She created this spectacular soap inspired by Kirkjufell (or famously known as Church Mountain) in Iceland.  The colors and textures are absolutely gorgeous, and she did an excellent job creating crisp lines between layers:

Tranquil Moment by Zandra Ty

Zandra wins a $50 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – so awesome!!  Click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more photos of her process.

Second place in the beginner category goes to Orah Lemer in Israel for her Dead Seascape soaps, inspired by the mineral salt coastline of the Dead Sea in Israel.  Check out the colors, shading, and detail of these beauties!  Her photography and presentation is also spot on:

Dead Seascape by Orah Lemer

Orah wins a $35 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – how cool is that?  Be sure to click on the photo to find out her thoughts about how her soap turned out on her Instagram post.

In third place we have Valerie Baker in Australia who created wonderful rendition of Mount Fuji as well!  She did an excellent job with the contrasting colors and crisp lines between layers:


Land of the Rising Sun by Valerie Baker

Valerie’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Love Your Suds!  Great job!  This was her first time participating in the Club and I look forward to seeing more of her creative designs!  (Photo not linked)

The Sponsor’s Choice prize in the beginner category goes to Janelle Sharp in North Carolina.  Belinda says, “I love the composition and the colours too, especially the sky!

Blue Ridge Sunset by Janelle Sharp

Janelle wins a $20 gift certificate from Love Your Suds!  This was her third attempt at this design.  If you’d like to see the colors on one of her other designs, click on the photo and check out her Instagram post!

Now we get to do Recognition Awards for the beginner category!  The winner of the Best Technique has what I found to be the best example of crisp lines and contrasting colors.  Congratulations to Rachel Havener in Virginia for winning this award!  She did a great capturing the outlines of the volcanos and textures of the beach in her Hawaiian Horizon soap:

Hawaiian Horizon by Rachel Havener

This was Rachel’s first time participating in the Challenge Club!  If you’d like to read more about this soap and her disastrous first attempt, visit her Instagram post that is linked to the photo.  Congrats on pushing through and creating this beautiful soap, Rachel!

Next is the Best Use of Color Award, and I have chosen Galapagos Sunset by Zoe Reilly-Ansons in Canada to receive this award.  She has done an excellent job creating a vibrant five-color sunset as well as the contrast of the sun with the dark, shadowy horizon and reflection on the water.  Her swirling techniques just add to the effect:

Galapagos Sunset by Zoe Reilly-Ansons

Zoe has consistently produced beautiful soap designs and photos in the few short months she has been participating in the challenges!  (Photo not linked)

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen Peninsula by Amy Bruederle in Illinois.  Her soap was inspired by Cave Point in Door County, Wisconsin, a place filled with fond memories gathered throughout her life.  The quality of the photo is just superb, with just the right amount of lighting and perfectly focused on the soaps.  There’s a slight reflection of them on the lighter neutral background, and just the smallest amount of shadow.  I also love the eye-level vantage point and that she’s left an equal amount of “white space” around the soaps:

Peninsula by Amy Bruederle

Great job, Amy!  Click on the photo to read more about the story behind her soap and see her inspiration photo.

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

Last, but certainly not least we have our Sponsor’s Choice winner from the Bonus category!  Belinda has chosen Alcázar De Segovia by Wan-Ting Gonzalez of Tile Soaps in California to receive this award.  She says, “A beautiful design. The depth and shadowing in this soap are amazing!”  Quite true!  Check it out:

Alcázar De Segovia by Tile Soaps

Wan-Ting’s soap is inspired by Segovia Fortress, a medieval castle in Spain that she has personally visited recently.  She wins a $20 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – congratulations!!  You can click on the photo to read more about this fascinating soap on Wan-Ting’s Instagram post.

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

I have been releasing information about the May through August challenges on Instagram over the past several days, and I’m very excited for new techniques, new guest teachers and new sponsors!!  Registration will open on Monday, May 2nd.  Our guest teacher for the May challenge is Edgar Kameraki in Mexico.  He is showing us how to make his original Oasis Swirl technique!  Here’s the soap he made for the video tutorial:

Oasis Swirl by Edgar Kameraki

We have a new sponsor for this challenge: Micas and MoreStephanie has an amazing collection of soap colorants, fragrance oils, and my favorite spoonulas. You’ll have the option to sign up for May only for $14.95, or the next four months for $54!  Check out the Upcoming Challenges page for more information about the June, July and August challenges and to sign up for notifications.  I hope you’ll join us!