Salt Crystal/Geode Crystal Winners

January 2021 Soap Challenge

The challenge for January was divided into two different types of crystal techniques: salt crystal and geode crystal.  The salt crystal technique is a fascinating design that uses coarse sea salt with cold process soap to create craters and crystals and can be enhanced by adding cracks as well.  These designs were inspired by Mee Hue and others.  

According to Wikipedia, “Geodes can form in any cavity, but the term is usually reserved for more or less rounded formations in igneous and sedimentary rocks.”  For the challenge, we focused on this rounded shape to make our soaps with a combination of transparent melt & pour soap base and cold process soap.

We have a brand-new sponsor this month; although she is no stranger to the Soap Challenge Club as a participant and has placed in the top three multiple times.  In addition to being an incredible soap artist, Marina Baranov of Creamy Obsession also creates amazing Soap Stencil sets, and has provided generous gift certificate prizes toward these products for our winners.  The certificates will be awarded to the top three voted winners in the salt crystal and geode crystal categories, plus Sponsor’s Choice prizes for these as well as two in the bonus category!

We had incredible participation in the challenges this month, with over 400 registrants, 216 entries in the competitive categories, and 120 entries in the bonus category!  The salt crystal category was the favored one with over twice as many entries as the geode crystal category, so let’s start there.

Amazing job to Paige Poyerd of Sudsy Soap Works in Minnesota, our grand prize winner with her Rare Amethyst salt crystal soap!  Paige used a combination of dark and light purple colored salt with gold accents and carved gold cracks around each crater to create beautiful and authentic looking formations:

Rare Amethyst by Sudsy Soap Works

Congratulations to Paige for winning a $100 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post where you can read more about how she made her soap.

Second place goes to Matylda Holtmann in Germany for her beautiful Salt Gardens of Camarque soap, inspired by the pink sea water in South France.  Matylda did an excellent job replicating her inspiration photo with all natural colors and using several types of salt to mimic the sand and pebbles of the beach.

Salt Gardens of Camarque by Matylda Holtmann

Matylda wins a $75 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – so awesome!  Check out her Instagram post with more gorgeous photos of her soap as well as her inspiration photo, linked to the photo above.

In third place we have Katja Schneider of Absolut Seife also in Germany, who has created a mystical Galaxy inspired salt crystal soap with silver mica covered salt on a deep navy blue soap base.  The combination of the large and fine grains creates a stunning starry pattern:

Galaxy by Absolut Seife

Katja’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – way to go!  This photo is also linked to her Instagram post.

For the Sponsor’s Choice award in the salt crystal category, Marina has chosen Christi Detlofsen in Washington for her lovely Amethyst Salt Crystal soap.  Marina says, “This soap really caught my eye with its striking colors and gorgeous textures that were created by using finely ground salt together with the coarser Himalayan crystals. It looks just like a galaxy with sparkling stars sprinkled throughout, and the fact that this is the maker’s 7th batch of soap makes this entry that much more impressive!”

Amethyst Salt Crystal by Christi Detlofsen

Wonderful job, Christi!!  She wins a $40 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – woo hoo!  Click on the photo for more information about her ingredients on her Instagram post!

Next up are the Recognition Awards for the Salt Crystal category.  Best Technique goes to Rachel Turner of SoulShine Sundries in North Carolina for her Crystal Coast soap!  The goal of the technique was to feature the salt and create a beautiful halo effect by making sure the soap went through a full gel phase. Rachel did this wonderfully with her salts.  The contrast of the soap colors works together with the white halos, and the salts appear to shine!

Crystal Coast by Soulshine Sundries

Great job, Rachel!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post with more information about how she made it and what she learned.

The Best Use of Color Award goes to Colleen Klockow of Batholith Soaps in Texas for her colorful Australian Opal soap!  Colleen did an amazing job of painting the salts multiple colors to create a pattern in the soap that is beautiful and unique.  The colors pop off the dusty purple background so wonderfully!

Australian Opal by Batholith Soaps

Be sure to click on the photo for process photos and information about how she made her soap on her Instagram post!

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with awesome photography and beautifully displayed soaps.  I had to choose Suzan Gazeloglu in the Netherlands to receive this award for her stunning photo of her Rose Quartz soaps!  She chose a beautiful dark background with lighting that reflects off the sparkle of the salt crystals.  It is well focused in the front, and the angle of the photo allows us to see all sides of the soaps:

Rose Quartz by Suzan Gazeloglu

Click on the photo above to see Suzan’s Instagram post with another photo of her soaps from a different angle.

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 Michele Barbalet from the U.S. did an incredible job on her Chocolate Mint Salt Crystals soap!  It’s such a beautiful color palette, and the minimal cracks are well-placed and realistic:

Chocolate Mint Salt Crystals by Michele Barbalet

Michele did a great job with her photography and presentation as well!  Check out her Instagram post to see another soap she made with this technique by clicking on the photo above.

Let’s take a look at the winners from the geode category next!  Congratulations goes to Chass Walsted-Fakler of Wild Plantanica in Montana for her grand prize winning Amethyst Crystals soap!  Chass did an amazing job not only creating realistic looking crystals from transparent soap that she made from scratch, but also the layers of cold process soap that truly resemble layers of sedimentary rock:

Amethyst Crystals by Wild Plantanica

Chass wins a $100 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – how cool is that?  Click on the photo to see a video and more information about her soap on Instagram.

Second place in the geode category goes to Lyandra Besett in Texas for her amazing Amethyst Secret Garden soap, featuring a round geode completely in the center:

 

Amethyst Secret Garden by Lyandra Besett

Lyandra’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession!  This was her first try at the technique, and she has posted a video on Instagram with a closer view – just click on the photo!

In third place we have Caroline Peat of Little House on the Bay Soaps in Maryland who created these gorgeous Shimmering Amethyst soaps for her entry.  Each gem was meticulously placed with tweezers, and she made at least ten bars!

Shimmering Amethyst by Little House on the Bay Soaps

Caroline’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – hooray! Be sure to click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more information and photos!

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the geode category goes to Julie DeNicola of Simple Original Soaps in Florida for Emerald Dreams soap.  Marina says, “You can really see the effort that was put into this design! I love the way that the mica lines highlight each layer around the geode. Another thing that impressed me was how the crystals on top were made in many thin layers: each one stands out separately rather than all of them blending in with each other. A job well done!” 

Emerald Dreams by Simply Original Soaps

Julie wins a $40 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – way to go!! Click on the photo if you’d like to check out her Facebook post with more information about her soap.

Now we get to do Recognition Awards for the geode category!  For the Best Technique in this category I was looking for excellent rounded formations with tight-fitting, pointed crystals.  I couldn’t help but notice the jagged, icy looking crystals and lovely rounded formation on Adlerstein (Eagle Stone).  This soap by Astrid Kahnt in Germany is also impressive as she has made the transparent soap from scratch with crystal clear results! 

Adlerstein (Eagle Stone) by Astrid Kahnt

The layers of the base of the soap mimic the rounded shape as well and provide beautiful contrast, while tying in the colors from the crystals and glitter sprinkled on top.  Click on the photo to see her post on Instagram with more lovely photos of this soap.

Next is the Best Use of Color Award, and I believe Dreamy Orchidee is an awesome choice for this award.  Christina Biehl of TraumBubbles in Germany/Bavaria created this magnificent soap, showcasing the contrasting tones of purple, white and pink with various layers and perfectly smooth colors.  She tied in the geode color with the purple base of the soap, and added a pop of orange for contrast:

Dreamy Orchidee by TraumBubbles

Such a treat for the eyes!!  Be sure to check out Christina’s Instagram post with more information about her inspiration and methods by clicking on the photo!

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen A Healing Stone by Aparna Kumari in California.  Her soap is based on the Chrysocolla geode, and she’s done an amazing job capturing its beauty!  The black background once again drew my eye as an excellent contrast to the bright turquoise soaps.  The photo is sharply focused and highlights the outline of each soap and the angled cuts of the crystals:

A Healing Stone by Aparna Kumari

Aparna has more information about her soap and another stunning photo 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 Chelsea Rose in Rhode Island for her Icy Blue Gems soap!  I love the colors and textures of her geode soap, and the gorgeous way she has presented it:

Icy Blue Gems by Chelsea Rose

Chelsea’s excitement at making this soap comes through in her blog post about how she made it.  As a rock enthusiast, this technique was right up her alley!  Read all about it (includes really great process photos as well) by clicking on the photo.

Finally, we have the Bonus Category Sponsor’s Choice awards!  Marina wanted to choose one of each technique.  The first prize goes to Wan-Ting Gonzalez in California for her Geode Crystal Flower soap.  Marina says, “This soap is just amazing! I love the double gradient in the perfect layers, the complimenting hues of crystals, and just the very idea to tie everything together by transforming the crystal formation into a blooming flower with a secret feather swirl just blew my mind. Very well executed!

Geode Crystal Flower by Wan-Ting Gonzalez

This design is truly amazing!! Wan-Ting wins a $40 gift certificate from Creamy Obsession – love it!  Click on the photo to read more about she crafted this design on her Instagram post.

The other winner is Marty Johnson in Minnesota for her “Home Grown” salt crystal soap.  Marina says of this one, “I love the gracefulness that was captured in this soap! The soft, delicate swirls in such a soothing color palette and the ideally smooth stones are gorgeous. I can imagine the creator’s disappointment when her hard work in growing these crystals melted away, but she was able to overcome that with this delightful design. It is stunning!”

Home Grown by Marty Johnson

It’s true!  Marty had the splendid idea to grow her own salt crystals for her soap, and the salt on her soap was grown by her, but it didn’t quite work out as planned.  You won’t want to miss her Instagram post with her soap challenge saga!  Just click on the photo…

The rest of the entries for the Experienced, Beginner, and Bonus categories are at the bottom of this post!

 

Registration opens up for the February challenge tomorrow!!  We will be doing the Kiss Pour technique with guest teacher Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps.  Here’s the soap she made for the tutorial with micas from our sponsor Stardust Micas. They offer a wide variety of mica pigments for soaps and other projects – “The Pigments of Your Imagination!”

Kiss Pour soap by Joanne Watkins

You’ll have the option to sign up for February only, or the next three months.  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 Salt Crystal and Geode Crystal submissions in the order they were voted below:

Salt Crystal Category


 

 

Geode Crystal Category