For the month of September, the Soap Challenge Club has re-visited the Pipe Divider Swirl. This was the first time we have ever done the same technique twice. It had been three years since the first time, and so many new members have joined since then!
Thanks to Soapish for the inspiration behind the technique (and of course her inspiration also draws from others), as well as a huge thanks to Rustic Escentuals for sponsoring the prizes for the challenge this month! They made their start as a candle making supply company, but their inventory of soap making supplies has grown so much over the past several years. If you haven’t checked them out recently (or ever!), please do! I had the pleasure of visiting their facility and meeting the owner just a few weeks ago. If you missed my video of their long line of fragrances (and this is maybe half!), you can find that here.
Now, on with the winners announcement!! I’m going to start with the regular category this month, since we had over twice as many entries in this category as the advanced. The only difference between them was whether or not they were scented and colored naturally or not. The regular category could use any scent or soap-safe colorant. The advanced had to use all naturally sourced, which is considerably more difficult – especially the colors as they can easily fade or morph in the extreme alkaline environment of fresh soap.
The Grand Prize winner for the regular category is Leila Hazou of Mad Soaper in Pennsylvania! Leila’s Fire Flowers soap shows beautiful artistry throughout the colors and swirls:
I also chose Leila’s entry to receive the Best Technique award in the regular category because of the excellent contrast in colors between the fire-colored flowers and turquoise background, and the fluidity of the swirls. The addition of the black accent also creates a bold statement, don’t you think? Congratulations, Leila! Your prize is a $50 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals! Be sure to click on the photo to read more about Leila’s soap as well as several others she created with this technique on her Instagram post.
In second place we have Jana Sůvová Dolejšová of Bublinková Cukrárna (Bubble Confectionery) from the Czech Republic, who has created a Magic Garden soap, also with beautiful, bold colors, but with a little different swirl technique:
Jana created a double layered soap, then sliced each bar horizontally to reveal the gorgeous flowers and leaves inside. Her prize is a $35 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals! You can click on the photo to read more about this soap and see others she created on her Facebook post, or see her YouTube video here.
Third place goes to Yasmine of Zofaya in France for her completely incredible water lily with lilypads soap called Nenuphar:
The design is so well planned, from the colors to the pipe placement, to the way each element was swirled! Yasmine’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals – way to go! Be sure to click on the photo to see the process of how she made her soap on her Instagram post.
The Sponsor’s Choice winner for the regular category is Leilani Olsen in Colorado for her Tropical Peppermint soap. The design looks so much like hibiscus flowers, and of course it is scented with peppermint essential oil:
This entry was chosen for its high level of creativity with the use of colors, fragrance, and swirls, and the prize is a $20 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals! Click on the photo to see more photos and read about the process Leilani used to make this soap on her Facebook post.
Here are the rest of the Recognition Awards for the regular category:
Best Presentation goes to Yvonne Liao in Taiwan for her spectacular Dreamy Garden entry! Not only does the photo show off the soaps in the best possible light, but it gives interest and depth by depicting multiple angles of various soap bars:
I like that the main focal point is a slightly off-center soap, while the other bars remain in various degrees of blurriness around it. The soap sides are all perfectly planed and smooth, and corners are all formed at right angles. Well done, Yvonne!
The Best Use of Color award was especially difficult to choose as there were so many beautifully colored soaps! Ultimately, I had to choose Christina Biehl’s Wooden Heartbeat soap because of the unique shimmer and depth of color she was able to achieve. The colors are all well-mixed, and show excellent contrast between the hearts and background color:
Christina lives in Germany and makes soap as a hobby. You can check out her blog post about this soap by clicking on the photo above!
Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award goes to a soapmaker who has made fewer than 50 batches and has been making soap for only three months! Congratulations to Emily Drew in Ohio for her amazing soap called The Magic Hour:
The colors and swirls are definitely magical, and the presentation is on point also. This was Emily’s fourth attempt at the technique after inspiration struck in the grocery store! Read more about it on her Instagram post which is linked to the photo above.
Now for the advanced category! I am pleased to announce that Diane Schmid of Seifen im Glueck in Austria is the Grand Prize winner! Her Queen of Hearts soap is colored with activated charcoal (black), kaolin clay (white), coptis powder (yellow), and alkanet-infused oil (reddish purple) and scented with litsea cubeba, bitter orange, and rosewood essential oils. I love how perfect the heart shape turned out in the top soap:
Diane wins a $50 gift certificate – woo hoo!! You can check out her blog post about this soap and see a few others she tried by clicking on the photo above, or check out her YouTube video here.
Our second place winner is Leah Stinman of Delta Tule in California. Her Levee Leaf soap is a beautiful display of natural colors including activated charcoal, spinach powder, yellow Brazilian clay, and rosemary powder (speckled) and scented with fir needle, cedarwood, and rosemary essential oils:
Leah admits to having a lot of fun with this technique, and making five different soaps for the challenge, as well as an interesting color reversal of this one with the leftover soap batter. You can check it all out on her Instagram post which is linked to the photo. Congratulations on winning a $35 gift certificate, Leah!
In third place we have Alison Fleck of baba savonnier patissier in France who created a lovely soap called Obsidienne. It is simply colored with red clay and charcoal (white portions remain uncolored), and scented with lavender essential oil. The fine lines and beautiful symmetry of the colors also inspired me to choose this entry for the Best Technique award in the advanced category:
Alison has such lovely, fluid swirls and the soap is beautifully presented. Her prize is a $25 gift certificate – congratulations! Click on the photo to read more about her soap on Instagram, or check out her highlight video here.
Amy Pascoe, owner of Rustic Escentuals, has chosen The Last Chance Swirl by Rhodana Fields in Maryland for the Sponsor’s Choice prize in the advanced category. She likes this soap for the excellent contrast between the colors, and the fluid swirls. Plus she says, it’s absolutely beautiful! Rhodana colored her soap with annatto (yellow), indigo (blue), alkanet (gray to purple), and charcoal (black), with some soap left uncolored (white) and did not add any scent. She calls it the Last Chance Swirl since she had attempted two other batches that didn’t quite work out!
Check out Rhodana’s Instagram post with more photos about her process by clicking on the photo above!
The rest of the Recognition Awards for the advanced category are as follows:
Best Presentation goes to Chassidy Walsted-Fakler of Wild Plantanica in Montana for her Nettle Leaf soap, colored with nettle leaf with annatto and indigo (green), paprika (orange), woad (light blue), and charcoal (black), and scented with sweet orange and bergamot mint essential oils.
I love the orientation of the soap bars, and how you can see the faces as well as the sides. The staggered stack creates interest, and the contrast of the white surface with black background also pulls your eye to the same colors from the soap. The shadows are minimal, while the soap is well-lit without creating a reflective surface. Each bar is the exact same size, and the bevels are perfect. Really well done, Chass!
Best Use of Color goes to Shira Litvin of Shira Body in Texas for her Flower Power soap. Shira used three types of clay, including kaolin for white, Brazilian for yellow, and Australian for red, plus charcoal for black to color her soap naturally. It is scented with lemongrass and basil essential oils.
The best part about using clay as a colorant is that it doesn’t morph, fade or bleed in cold process soap! Shira achieved beautiful earth tone colors for the flowers that are super smooth and well-defined. The wispy white swirls give just enough contrast to create a bit of interest in the black background. Be sure to click on the photo to see the description of the soap in Shira’s Instagram post, or click here to watch her make it on YouTube!
Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award goes to Janice Lo in Hong Kong for her lovely Queen of Hearts soap! While she is over the 50 batches benchmark, Janice is still in her first year of soapmaking. She chose red clay (dark red), pink clay (light pink), and a combination of blue clay, indigo and charcoal (gray-blue), leaving the lightest portions uncolored. This soap is scented with peppermint, lemon and lemongrass essential oils.
Janice did a great job with the color contrast, the batter is obviously quite fluid, and the bars are all the same size and shape. If you’d like to watch Janice make this soap, just click on the photo to see her video on YouTube!
The rest of the entries are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post.
Next month our guest teacher is Hélène Glemet of ChezHélène in Canada. The technique is Slanted Layers, and Hélène’s specialty is the chevron design, which is quite advanced. This is the soap she made for the tutorial:
For the regular category, Hélène will demonstrate how to make this soap:
Registration will open Monday, September 30. You will have the option to sign up for October through December challenges or October only. There is more information about the November and December challenges, 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 September:
You might notice that there are several entries with the same name this month. Now that the entries are not visible during the entire submission process, this becomes a possibility!