Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Landscape Soap - Soap Challenge Club Submission

This is the first time I've participated in the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club.  Our challenge this month was to find a photo or drawing of a landscape scene and recreate it using cold process soap.  I've never tried to recreate an image in my soap before, usually opting to design something of my own, so this was a real learning experience and a challenge for me!

Preparing to be challenged!

I decided early on that I wanted to do a beach landscape.  I grew up on the Oregon coast and now live near the Puget Sound in Washington state, so beach living is just a part of who I am.  I really got hung up on choosing which beach to use as inspiration!  The original work that inspired my soap is a lovely landscape painting called Beach Dreams by artist, Katie Larner.  The piece can be found on her website, along with some other absolutely gorgeous paintings.  I would highly recommend checking them out!  I loved that this piece evoked whatever beachy feelings I wanted to project upon it.  The calmness and serenity really came through, and I loved that I could identify this piece with both my childhood beach memories, and my adult ones.

Beach Dreams, by artist, Katie Larner (KL Studio Art can be found at

With this piece, I felt that color blending was what really brought it to life.  I separated the piece into seven zones in which I'd incorporate different color blends.  I used oxides, micas, and some lake colors (which I don't normally use because they have ingredients that I feel are less-than-natural, but they certainly make lovely colors!).

The beginning of my color palette.

I layered each color very carefully on top of each other, smoothing the soap out as if I was frosting a cake.  I don't think I achieved the graceful color blending that Ms. Larner did, but I really liked how my colors complemented each other within the same palette.  I also had a challenge with proportions. The painting was more square, and I was using a loaf mold, which ended up skewing the overall perspective of the piece.

Layering one color over the next and smoothing it over like frosting on a cake.
I ended up using some cocoa powder for the darkest color in the center, which I mixed with some cobalt blue oxide powder.

Cocoa powder for color in the middle section, mixed with cobalt blue oxide.

I scented the soap with Pure Amber, which reminded me of the smell of suntan lotion after it's been applied and you've had a chance to bake in the sun for a while.  It's subtle, but so fitting for a serene beach motif.  My one disappointment with this project is that one of my blue oxides morphed into a lavender purple, which made my finished product look more like a mountain scene than a beach landscape.  All in all, I'm proud of my work, and feel like a better soap maker for having participated in such a fun challenge!

The finished product!

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