Winners of the Brush Embroidery Challenge

The challenge for August was to create soaps with brush embroidery techniques that were originally made for cake decorating. It’s a beautiful design technique that makes the soap (or icing) look like threads of embroidery. There were so many creative ideas using this technique, and I know you will be completely impressed by the results! We had two categories: regular and advanced. The only difference was the number of colors used for the piping. In order to qualify for the regular category, members could only use one color. For the advanced, they had to use two or more. (Base soaps in both categories were only defined by size and had to be at least 3 ounces/85 grams in weight.) Members were required to show exactly three soaps in their entry photos.

We have a new sponsor this month: Winding Creek Soap & Supply. They offer supplies and ingredients to create soap and body products as well as gifts, classes, and custom soap molds and displays! Huge thanks for providing gift certificate prizes to the top three winners in each category, plus the Sponsor’s Choice winners!

Ready to find out who those winners are? Silly question, I know! Let’s start with the advanced category:

Congratulations to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Company in Tennessee for winning the GRAND PRIZE! Holly used a traditional brush embroidery design with a subtle, yet effective color palette that shows off the designs and creates a bit of an ombre effect:

Brush Embroidery Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Company

I love how the design wraps around each bar and the placement of the flowers and leaves shows excellent spatial design. Holly wins a $50 gift certificate from Winding Creek – woo hoo! If you click on the photo, it will take you to Holly’s blog post with excellent information and photos showing how she made it.

Second place belongs to Maya Morag in Israel for her Mexican Embroidery Inspiration soaps! Maya also received the Best Use of Color award from me for her excellent use of so many festive and well placed colors:

Mexican Embroidery Inspiration Soaps by Maya Morag

The inspiration behind Maya’s soaps is based on actual Mexican cakes. You can see them in her Instagram post which is linked to the soap photo above. Congratulations to Maya for winning a $35 gift certificate from Winding Creek!

In third place we have Ainat Cohen in Israel with these gorgeous flower soaps that she aptly named “My Secret Garden.”

My Secret Garden soaps by Ainat Cohen

I think what is most impressive about these soaps is the transformation from the first soaps she attempted to what she produced for her entry. Please click on the photo to see Ainat’s Instagram post that reveals her amazing progression. She also wins a $25 gift certificate from Winding Creek, which is awesome!

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the advanced category goes to Yasmine of Zofaya in France for her “Ode to Autumn” soap. Michelle from Winding Creek Soap & Supply says, “I chose this entry for the design. Each soap has a complimentary design and makes a wonderful set.  I also like that each brush stroke is visible, yet not heavy.  A beautiful Fall soap set that looks like a museum-quality work of art.”

Ode to Autumn by Zofaya

Ironically, Yasmine was also the winner of a drawing for a 1-year digital subscription to Making Soap Magazine! Now she can add a $20 gift certificate from Winding Creek Soap & Supply to her winnings! Congratulations! If you’d like to read more about this soap, the photo is linked to Yasmine’s Instagram post.

There are three more recognition awards to announce. The first is Best Technique. With such a diversity of design themes it wasn’t easy to choose! However, the winner of this award is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada with her Flower Skull soaps. Belinda used brush embroidery as an embellishment for these magnificent skull soaps, which means those flowers and leaves are TINY. The detail is pretty incredible, actually. The effect looks like embroidery patches.

Flower Skull soaps by Love Your Suds

You’re probably looking at this soap like I was, wondering how on earth did she do that? Belinda has been taking her soaps to a new level of artistry lately by utilizing 3-D printed technology. Just click on the photo to read more about it on her Instagram post if you’d like to learn more!

Next is the Best Presentation Award. This one goes to Pooja Nigudkar of Blue Nectar Soaps in California for her Lion at Twilight soaps:

Lion at Twilight by Blue Nectar Soaps

I love the scene created by Pooja’s soaps, and the gorgeous way they are reflected in the surface they are on. The background is perfectly blurred out above the soaps, and they are well-lit without shadowing. The sides of the soaps are squared off so that each bar is exactly the same size. Very well done!

Finally, we have the Best Soap Newbie Award. This award can only be presented to someone who has been making soap for less than one year and made fewer than 50 batches. Check out Lisa Cunningham’s soap called “A brush with peacocks”. Lisa lives in England. She’s just getting started with her soapmaking journey and already has produced these beauties:

A brush with peacocks by Lisa Cunningham

The brush embroidery design is just beautiful! The colors are bright and well contrasted, and she’s added the complexity of a straight layered base soap. The photo is well-lit and she’s placed the soaps in such a way that we get to see multiple angles. If you click on the photo, you can read more about the process and inspiration behind Lisa’s soap.

Now let’s take a look at the winners from the regular category! Grand Prize goes to Yulia Leo of Letticca in Australia for her Flower Rosettes soap! The brush embroidery design she created is purely elegant, and also earned the Best Technique award from me. The combination of the flowers and embellishments really came together beautifully and consistently:

Flower Rosettes by Letticca

Yulia wins a $50 gift certificate from Winding Creek – congratulations! Please click on the photo to read more about Yulia’s soap and photos of more amazing soaps she made with this technique on her Facebook post.

Second place goes to Yvonne Liao in Taiwan for her Blue-and-White Porcelain soaps! Yvonne also demonstrated incredible artistry in her design. The tiny details make it look like it could have been created with pen and ink:

Blue-and-White Porcelain soaps by Yvonne Liao

Great job, Yvonne! Her prize is a $35 gift certificate from Winding Creek. The photo of her soap is linked to her video on YouTube if you’d like to see how she made it!

In third place we have Marian Head in California. This was Marian’s second time competing in the Soap Challenge Club, and her soap theme is called “Way Out West”. So many fun elements went into the design – including someone getting sucked into a UFO!

Way Out West by Marian Head

Marian wins a $25 gift certificate from Winding Creek – way to go! You’ll want to click on the photo to read more about the making of this whimsical soap on Marian’s blog.

The Sponsor’s Choice award for the regular category goes to Leila Hazou of Mad Soaper in Pennsylvania for her Black & Gold soap. Michelle from Winding Creek says, “I chose this entry because each brush stroke is defined and the color contrast is stunning.  The detail of each design really brings out the art work.”

Black & Gold by Mad Soaper

Excellent work, Leila! Her prize is a $20 gift certificate from Winding Creek. Feel free to click on the photo to read more about this soap and another soap she created with this technique on Leila’s Instagram post.

Next up are the rest of the recognition awards for the regular category! The Best Use of Color award goes to Whitney Schneider of Cheeky Goat Soapery in Florida for her Life’s a Beach soaps. Since the piping color was limited to just one for the regular category, Whitney did a great job creating a beautiful canvas for her simple white brush embroidery:

Life’s a Beach by Cheeky Goat Soapery

The contrast of the water colors is amazing, and combined with the beachy sand color, everything looks really great. The white foam really adds a beautiful texture and realistic look to the water lapping on the shoreline. Click on the photo to read more about how Whitney made these soaps with lots of photos of this batch as well as one other she created with this technique on her Facebook post.

The Best Presentation award goes to Stacey Seal of Seal Soapworks in Virginia. Stacey’s Snowy Trees soap looks fantastic laid out on the wood background with plenty of “white space” around the soaps. The variety of angles works well with this collage of three to help keep your eye moving around to each soap:

Snowy Trees by Seal Soapworks

The soaps themselves are equally proportioned with perfectly squared off sides, simple lines and two-toned color scheme. Beautifully done! This fantastic photo is linked to Stacey’s Instagram post about her soap.

Last, but not least, the Best Soap Newbie award for the regular category goes to Christine Johnson in South Carolina for her Butterfly Dream soaps. As a new soapmaker, Christine has been improving her skills in the Challenge Club over the past several months. I am very impressed by the unique shapes of her soaps, the beautiful dark color scheme, and the use of brush embroidery to create the look of real butterfly wings:

Butterfly Dream soaps by Christine Johnson

Keep up the great work, Christine! Be sure to click on the photo to read more about these soaps on her Instagram post.

The rest of the entries are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post. 

Next month we start a new round of challenges to finish out the year! For the first time ever, we will be re-visiting a technique we have done in the past. September’s challenge is called the Pipe Divider Swirl, and it’s one of my favorites! Here is the soap I made for the tutorial:

Pipe Divider Swirl by Amy Warden

October’s challenge is Slanted Layers with guest teacher Hélène Glémet of ChezHélène, long-time member of the Challenge Club and first time appearing as our teacher! One of the designs she will be sharing with us is her chevron technique. This is a soap Hélène has created in the past with this technique:

Rainbow Chevron soap by ChezHélène

In November, we will be exploring Soap Curl Designs. Here is a soap I made as an example:

Soap Curl Designs by Amy Warden

And for December, we have a theme challenge titled “Black Tie Affair” which will be soaps colored with only black and white with one accent color. Here is my example:

Black Tie Affair by Amy Warden

Registration will open Monday, September 2. You will have the option to sign up for all four months or September only. There is more information about our sponsors, prizes, and any special equipment you might need on the Current Challenge page. Be sure to sign up for notifications if you haven’t already!

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

Advanced Category:

Regular Category: