The first challenge of the year was a landscape challenge with guest teacher Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Vancouver, BC Canada. Belinda also sponsored the challenge, providing gift certificate prizes for her new Soap Shaper Shop. She is a long-time member of the Club, but this was her first time teaching and sponsoring. Her specialty is definitely landscape designs, and she provided an excellent tutorial that had members thinking outside the box to create their entries! Thank you, Belinda, for sharing your tips and tricks with us as well as sponsoring this challenge!
As usual, we had a regular and advanced category for members to choose from. The only difference between them was the number of elements in the soap design. Elements were defined as (set) layers or embeds that spanned the length of the log mold. Minor embellishments could also be used on the face of the soaps once cut.
Winners for the advanced category are as follows:
Congratulations to our grand prize winner Marina Baranov in Kentucky for her amazing Tropical Sunset soap! This was by far the most intricate design work I’ve ever seen with soap shapers, so I’ve also given Marina the Best Technique award:
Marina wins a $50 gift certificate from Love Your Suds for her masterpiece! Be sure to click on the photo to read more about this soap and see all her layers on her Instagram post.
In second place we have Chassidy Walsted-Fakler of Wild Plantanica in Montana with her beautiful mountainous camping scene. Chassidy’s soap is inspired by her second cousin’s camping photo:
Chassidy’s prize is a $35 gift certificate from Love Your Suds. The photo is linked to her Facebook post with lots of photos of her process – also many soap scrapers involved!
In third place we have Lisa Cunningham in the UK with her interpretation of Saturn Rising – a fantastic view of Saturn from the surface of its moon Titan:
Lisa wins a $25 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – hooray! Be sure to click on the photo of the soap to read all about the various processes she used to create the textures and scenery in her soap in her blog post (which includes a link to the video of her making it!).
The Sponsor’s Choice winner for the advanced category is Yvonne Liao in Taiwan. She created a fabulous scene called “Taiwan Balloon Festival” for her entry. Belinda says,”This is such a fun and well thought out soap design. Her experience and skills are evident in the way that each element and detail was created.”
Congratulations, Yvonne! She wins a $20 gift certficate from Love Your Suds. Her photo is also linked to a video of the making of this amazing soap.
Next up, we have the rest of the recognition awards for the advanced category:
Best Presentation goes to Jamie Reddinger of Lathering Lotus in Pennsylvania. I’ve seen Jamie’s presentation skills improve over the past several months, and I was highly impressed with the photo of her Cherry Blossom Soap:
The soap is positioned so that we can see the face as well as the beautifully decorated tops, and both are well-focused. The photo is well-lit, and I like how the background blurs just a bit, and there’s plenty of white space around the soap. The grey background is just a lighter version of the grey mountain in the soap, so it helps the soap stand out while complementing the design. Great job, Jamie! You can click on the photo to read more about it and see a short video on her Instagram post.
Best Use of Color goes to Christina Biehl in Germany for her unexpected blend of soft grays with bright neons in a soap she calls “Nostalgia.”
I also look for well-mixed colors without any bleeding or spots. This soap fit that profile as well, but I also enjoyed seeing the mica line between the orange and green, plus specks of glitter for added interest in the green layer (and also in the sky, although I can’t detect it in the photo). Click on the photo to read more about this soap and see the inspiration behind it on Christina’s Instagram post.
The Best Soap Newbie award goes to someone who has been making soap for less than a year and has made fewer than 50 batches. For this award, I chose Whittany Nicolas in Alabama for her Sand Mountain entry:
I believe this was only Whittany’s second time participating in the Club, and I felt that she did an excellent job with the tone-on-tone color scheme and putting together the various elements, as well as the presentation of her soap. I see her improving quickly as she continues to participate with us! Feel free to click on the photo to read more about her soap on her Instagram post.
Now we get to see the winners from the regular category!
Grand Prize goes to Carrie Wallace in Ottawa, ON Canada for her stunning Winter Moonrise soap! Carrie is also fairly new to the Challenge Club and even to soapmaking – she won Best Soap Newbie last month, but she’s caught on quickly:
Congratulations to Carrie for winning a $50 gift certificate from Love Your Suds! The photo is linked to Carrie’s Instagram post with more information about the soap and photos of her process.
In second place we have Leslie Steadman of Luxurious Soaps LLC in Indiana. Leslie created a boldly colored soap with excellent contrast for her entry. Aren’t the elephants super cute?
Leslie’s prize is a $35 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – woo hoo! Please click on the photo to read more about how she made it on her Instagram post.
Third place goes to Danielle Schorfheide of Bubbly Duck in Missouri for her beautiful Sunset On the Shore entry. The ombre sunset with the waves is just stunning:
Congratulations to Danielle for winning a $25 gift certificate from Love Your Suds! The photo is linked to her blog post with more information about how she made the soap.
Belinda has chosen “Sunset” by Carol Reyes in the Dominican Republic as the Sponsor’s Choice winner for the regular category. Belinda says, “The landscape image is realistic and the colours chosen have the perfect amount of contrast to showcase each design element while being harmonious and true to the scenery.”
Carol wins a $20 gift certificate from Love Your Suds – great job! Click on the photo to see Carol’s Instagram post with more information about how she made it.
The recognition awards for the regular category are next!
Best Technique award goes to Whitney Schneider of Cheeky Goat Soapery in Florida for her fabulous “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” entry. (Is the song stuck in your head now too?)
I think what impressed me most about this soap was the unusual way that it was created to get the waterfall to look so realistic – you’ll have to click on the photo to read about how she did it! I also love that Whitney made multiple attempts to get the look she was going for, learning from each batch as she went.
Best Use of Color award goes to Marian Head in California for her “Southern California Spring” entry. She created a scene that is quite familiar to her with various layers made up of multiple colors with a final result that is more like a painting than a soap:
I love the various textures created by the colors, and the pops of purple in the grass! The fence is also a nice touch, as it seems to meander through the meadow. Feel free to click on the photo to see Marian’s blog post with more information about her soap and the inspiration behind it.
I am awarding Best Presentation to Christine Bauer in Colorado for her super cute “Treasure Island” entry:
It’s an excellent angle of the soaps as we get to see the face, as well as the textured tops featuring a sprinkle of gold mica. The photo is well-lit and focused on the soaps which are nice and centered, and the soaps themselves are beautifully beveled and presented. If you click on the photo, you can read more about Christine’s soap on her Instagram post.
The Best Soap Newbie award goes to Kari Hodgetts in Illinois for her Great Pyramid entry! Kari did an excellent job creating her design upside-down in the mold – a trick that Belinda taught us in her tutorial:
I really like all the different textures from the in-the-pot swirls, but also the gold mica lines that make this soap really special. Kari really stepped out of her comfort zone utilizing multiple design techniques – awesome job!! The photo is linked to her Instagram post with photos of her process and inspiration – go check it out!
The rest of the entries are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post.
Next month’s challenge is a bit different as members will need to teach a friend or family member who has never made soap before to create their entry! I call it the Collaborator Challenge. We did it before about three years ago, and it was an absolute blast! There will be two categories to choose from based on the technique you wish to create: drop swirl or triple mica lines. I recruited my friend Rebble for the tutorial, and she created these beautiful soaps:
We have a new sponsor for this event: Formulator Sample Shop! They will provide gift certficate prizes for the members, and the Challenge Club will provide equal gift certificate prizes from Amazon for the collaborators.
Registration will open this Monday February 3rd for the February (and March) challenges. If you haven’t signed up for notifications, you can do that HERE.
And now here are the rest of the entries for January: