Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Loving...It Happened So Fast

Do you remember when you were a kid, school had ended and summer stretched out in front of you filled with endless possibilities?  How you were full of optimism and excitement and it felt like you had all the time in the world to make anything you could imagine happen?

Today's soap challenge is to design a soap that represents your childhood summers.  Whatever the wonders of summer were for you, whether they involved new love, hours on the beach or the simple joy of opening a fire hydrant on a hot summer day in the city, represent them in your soap.

When posting your Challenge photo on the Facebook Group, you must also tell your story or the photo will not be judged.  You do not have to be a good storyteller, but it helps the viewers (me and others) understand your soap's content and a little about you.

Memories can be extremely difficult to tap into for some, and for those of you that have almost no good memories, share with us just one, even if it was a childhood fantasy and not an actual memory.  I understand we all have had different lives and experiences.

Feed your artist; Feed yourself. 
Make Soap.

Challenge ends:  June 25, 2015
Post your photos here:

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Little Soap Porn, My Dear?

We haven't had soap porn in a really long time.  I've been missing it....

I know secretly you have too.  Here is a handful of new bright and cheerful photos of hand crafted soaps I have never seen:

Diane's Naturally -  Australia

Heavenly Bubbles Soap - UK

Pink Parchment Soaps - USA

Island Coconut Bar - SunyIslandBlu

Hibiscus - CoquetteBath USA

Ginger Grass and Lemon - the charming frog - USA

Lavender - Kirk Estate - USA

I just LOVE staring at handmade soap!  Isn't it just beautiful??

xoxo Joanna

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Intimate Garden Walk With Milo + Otis

There is something almost primal in getting down deep into the earth... an element of connection and reflection.

This challenge was meant to be an exercise for you to get in touch with a primal emotion and infusing that deep internal force into your art.  I call it the Emotion Transfer Technique.(ETT).

Art is complex and I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but through my own experience I have found that art takes on the Maker's feelings. Think about some of the artists you know of, and think of the art that is/was so obviously theirs. Personality comes through. So to not lose sight of your inner self and artist, ETT is an essential element to exercise regularly.  Terrible flops can occur from them, but that's why you should exercise ETT, because flopping is just a blip or bump in the works.  We must all trip and fall before we can stand up tall, and then there is more tripping throughout our lives.  If there isn't, my guess is that the person is either not an artist or they are a control addict and will not open themselves to FEELINGS.

On that note,  with coffee in hand, my garden walk begins.  Join me and we'll walk together:

I went on a short but deep journey through Milo + Otis' backyard Jungle.  The story of her garden was told in such a way that I felt present, walking beside her as she told the story of the overgrown and oh-so-loved maze of plants that she navigates through and absorbs it all in.  Well, the Creeping Charlie needs a flame throwing trim once in a while, but ...that's another story.

Milo AndOtis's photo.

You'll understand.  This is her own explanation of the Digging In The Dirt soap she made.  Read on.

"I love dirt. As a child, we would change into old T-shirts and crummy pants and go mud sliding after a rain. I could sit in a chair in an empty room doing nothing and come out dirty. I have a close and intimate relationship with dirt; it can't stay away from me. Nor I it.
Ever since I had my own yard, I have dug in the dirt, planting bulbs, growing flowers and vegetables alike. My current garden has been affectionately named The Jungle because my tomatoes grow to 7 or 8 feet tall and after planting sunflowers one year, they won't stop coming up. I don't have the heart to pull them up, so every year, I have towering sunflowers whose heads get so heavy they pull the thick sturdy stalks down, sometimes all the way to the ground. When I walk through it every summer, I get to know the obstacle course, when to step over, when to lift up and go under, and when to simply duck. I know when to step around all the volunteers of cleome that spring up in the paths that I can't cut down, either. When I go out late at night, I can walk it essentially blinded.
I was out yesterday, pulling up grasses and clearing the way for the day lillies, using my flame thrower to take out the creeping charlie (I'm sorry, Charlie, but you won't stop!). It was perfect day with mellow sunshine, fresh dirt, the green of the new shoots and the perfect blue sky. Getting on my knees and turning dirt with my bare hands, getting it stuck under my nails, finding last year's dead leaves in my hair, is energizing but relaxing and calming.

I made my soap after that, using yellows for the sun, greens for the new growth and blues for the sky and the water that make it all grow. Black of course is needed for the dirt and the night. I used a round and round hanger swirl to represent the continual change of the seasons. Honeysuckle is the scent as I love my fragrant flowers. I was hoping for a soap that would look interesting, with energy but ultimately gives a soothing feeling, just like dirt on my hands gives me." 
- Milo + Otis

I was not only touched by her story, I WENT there and felt it.  And the  soap interprets her story.  Just Beautiful!  In a short interpretation of Digging In The Dirt in words coupled with a thoughtfully made soap, I declare Milo + Otis the winner of this challenge.  A secret surprise  gift will go out from Mad Oils to Milo + Otis.  Congrats!!