Advertise With Us

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Soap + Clay

My true love is soap.

Thanks to all of you for that.  I really mean it.  First of all, I didn't know one thing about soap when I started writing this blog.  In fact, I was just a person who thought that handmade soap was cool and found there to be no platform for the people who made it...no vehicle to get the soap into the front light.  The connection I found within the soaping community was greater and more sincere than I ever thought possible.  It is for those reasons that I started to make soap.  I had undying support from so many of you that I tried it, loved it and haven't looked back once.  Not ONCE.  Years later, it's all I want to do.

I never imagined that I'd be happily married to my job.  I love making soap, designing soap, smelling it, cutting it, using it.  I received a beautiful letter from a friend who had had a great experience when she opened a box of soaps I mailed to her.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy, knowing that something I am passionate about, something I made with my own hands, brought pleasure to my dear friend. I think that's part of what makes handmade soap so precious.  Handmaking soap from scratch is truly a spiritual process for me.

I have begun throwing clay and as frustrating as this is for me, it is also centering me in, a sense.  I remember the mantra, "It's the process, not the product that is the gift".  As a new mother back then (ahem), I never rushed my daughter to finish her artwork, or gave her suggestions.... her playing in finger paints or mud, glitter, glue, homemade play dough, whatever... it was HER process, not mine, and I think it really stuck.  She is extremely talented in so many ways:  she is a beautiful French Horn musician and a talented photographer.  She also makes all of the gifts she gives me; she has made some of the most beautiful things that I will cherish until my dying day.  She loves art and the process of it.  I love that.

Since the beginning of my class, I have been focusing on the clay, only.  Centering it....this can take time, but once it is centered, a feeling of relief is present.  My teacher is amazing and he has given me tips that help my mind wrap around the clay and manipulate it to where I want it to go.  The process.  The focus, the conquering of a squishy blob, that, with an ever so tender touch, can change in one second, and so... and so.... patience, time, and energy.  I gave in to it all after the first 30 minutes of the class.  Yesterday we did trimming and I, again, focused and wasn't concerned with the final product, but to master the art of carving through leather hard clay to be smooth is inspirational.  This is good therapy if you can lose yourself in it, and perhaps utter torture if you can't BE in the process.  Working it.

I have learned a lot through my photography, pottery and soaping.  It's all a learning process and involves such self awareness through the process.  I just want to remind you that whatever it is that you are doing, stop, breathe deeply and take a step back.  If your final product isn't what you intended and you are frustrated beyond recognition, then perhaps find the time to create it step by step instead of burling through it to get to the final product. 

I think life is also like this.  I have learned that, too, through parenting my two children and owning my own business.  I must continue to remember to stop and smell the roses, just for the smell....

float....

My kids: Desmond and Nina





18 comments:

Becca said...

Yes, this is so true. I have to remind myself of this very thing all the time!

Marga said...

You just said it beautifully Joana!

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

Agh! Jo you just made me miss pottery so much! That singular focus on the clay helped me through such rough times, so calming, centering and rhythmic. But it holds true about soap too and one's journey in creating, it's about the process. <3

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Beautiful post. I do rush sometimes to get to my final product and then it is never all it could be. I will spend more time looking at my farm today before photographing it. Thanks for the reminder!

Barbara said...

Beautiful! I am in awe of how you can put so much meaning into your words. You are truly an inspiration.

Bobbi

Sciarretta Farms said...

Very true! I get all antsy and frustrated without a creative outlet. I had to live without any outlet for a number of years and became so depressed! But as soon as I started making soap, I became calmer and happier.

Olga Kivrina said...

Thank's for such beautiful words!..

Joanna Schmidt said...

I just can not express enough how meaningful you all have been for me through this time in my life.

Thank you to all who commented. I never claimed to be a writer...I'm not good at it, technically, but thank you for letting me be tense confused, and basically challenged overall in proper grammar. I like to express myself and you all allow me to do that, so again, I thank you!!

hugs, Joanna

Anonymous said...

you are an inspiration. We all forget to enjoy the moments we have doing the little everyday things and tend to rush right through them. Your words take me back and make me take hold of myself. Momma

Joanna Schmidt said...

Good, Mom. I love you, xoxo jo

Andi Luther-Philippe said...

This was such a beautiful post. I especially love your mantra, "It's the process, not the product that is the gift." Thank you for that.

Miss Polly said...

A very beautiful post Joanna, thoughful, intelligent and your love for your children shines through so much. Lovely post xx

Dann white said...

I love soap too. You have done remarkable job here.
Soap France

http://mijnzeep.wordpress.com/ said...

What a nice post! I belive this is the most beautiful poetry I have ever read about soap.
This world of soaps is so pure and so far away from everyday cares...
natalia

Joanna Schmidt said...

thank you

TeresaR said...

Great observations and great advice. I'm very impatient and I just need to slow the heck down and "smell the roses and float". :)

Merilyn said...

As always, you are inspirational!

Aqua M said...

I'm glad to find I'm not the only one who has completely fallen in love with soaping before I've ever made my first bar. Waiting for payday to order supplies, but until then I've been scouring the internet for every bit of information and "soap porn" I can find. I've also discovered what an amazing community soaping has - I've never come across a group of people who are all so helpful, sweet and encouraging, especially considering a lot of their online stores are technically competitors. So for me & soaping, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."