January 15, 2013

Looking Back and Ahead

January is traditionally a month of reflection, a time to think about what hasn't worked, what did work, what one can do differently, goals achieved, goals that were epic fails. I've been thinking some about my soaping journey-about where the journey began and where it is now.

In the beginning it was like infatuation-you know that season of love where you can't get enough, and the object of your affection can do no wrong. I read everything I could get my hands on, frequented forums absorbing all the information I could from those who seemed to have already experienced the quirky nature of things that are soap. I spent lots of time troubleshooting-as things often seem to go awry during the Spring of learning the idiosyncrasies of what is soapmaking. I spent many nights into the wee hours admiring the beauty and grandeur of soap made by those I considered to be my muses. I remember thinking "if only I could make soap like that." I taught myself to make soap like that too-by deconstructing soaps I loved-after all there was no one to teach me, and my insatiable hunger to figure out the secret to such beauty possessed me.

I could swirl and work with color much more than I do, but at the very core of my love for soap is the process and connection to the beautiful ingredients.Over the years I've struggled with exactly where to fit in, in terms of my soaping style, what "sells" and where my values and pleasures lie. Colorful, swirly soaps sell, and that's a fact-they are after all visual "works of art." At one time I felt compelled to go with the majority because these works of art practically sell themselves, but over time I've found I am at my very happiest when I am able to just be with the process of combining beautiful oils with lye to create a chemical reaction that results in a deliciously luxurious handcrafted soap. I'm happiest when the warm aroma of Patchouli lingers lightly on my hands at the end of a day of making soap. I'm happiest when I cut the soap and lay them carefully out- or when I pick up a perfect round and take in it's earthy goodness.I get lost in the thought of how nature is truly "awesome" and how it offers it's essences for so many utilitarian uses. Nature is perfect and lovely and I'm so lucky to do what I do. I may never make a million dollars making my humble little soaps,but I'm happy.;-)


The Soap Sister said...

You are true to yourself, and have a wonderful, pure soaping style. Loving what we do is priceless, and I believe that your wonderful soaps will cpntinue to be appreciated by discerning soap conisseurs for years to come. Wishing you blessings and much joy in 2013 my friend! xo -Becky

Jennifer Young said...

Michele, I feel quite similarly to you. Loved reading about your journey. xoxoxo Jen

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@Becky and Jen-as always it is such a pleasure to have you stop by and thanks for being my soaping buds over the years.Seems we've taken this journey together,and for all the same reasons-love of the process.

Jen,it makes me so happy to see how far you've come-having your own brick and mortar. I'm so proud of you.

Becky-your soaps are beautiful and your packaging is perfectly suited to your product.

You guys are the best. Hugs!!!