If you’re just tuning in, I’m participating in a fun soap challenge hosted by Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soapworks. Last week’s challenge, the Tiger Stripe, was lots of fun and many of you have sent some very nice compliments my way. Thanks!
But if last week’s soap was challenging with three colors, this week’s technique, the Elemental Swirl, was over the top! Working with eight — count ’em, eight — separate containers of color before everything set up meant working at breakneck speed and mentally rehearsing the steps before pouring the lye solution into the oils. Once the lye and oils are mixed, there’s no turning back!
The Elemental Swirl is a type of in-the-pot swirl, affectionately called ITP by soapers. The simpler ITP swirls are created by separating out and coloring one or two portions of your soap batter, then pouring the colored portions back into the remaining batter and swirling a spatula through this mixture just once in a big circle. If you keep stirring, you’ll end up with very muddy colors (a lesson I learned the hard way)! Then it’s ready to pour into the mold.
So besides the number of colors used, how is the Elemental Swirl different from the basic ITP swirl, you might ask? Well, it features a 4-color ITP swirl on the bottom of the soap, then a thinly sprinkled mica line, and then another 4-color ITP swirl on the top. And each ITP swirl needs fairly similar color tones to convey a particular element (think air, fire, water, earth, or perhaps spirit).
I decided to create a soap featuring the colors of Tuscany – that sun-drenched region of Italy known for its wonderful wine, delicious cuisine, rolling hills, fine art, bustling cities, relaxing countryside, and Mediterranean seacoast. For the bottom layer I chose brick red, dark green and muted gold to represent the elements of earth and fire. For the top I chose medium blue, deep purple and aqua to represent the elements of air and water. In both cases, the colors were added to uncolored, off-white soap batter. And the mica line between the two halves is done in a vivid orange to make the halves really pop!
I must admit that the cut soap wasn’t at all how I envisioned it — but can I just say how much I love it? In fact, I’m thrilled with it! And the essential oil blend of rosemary, sweet basil, lavandin and a whiff of lime smells lovely and refreshing, just like a gentle breeze wafting in from the Mediterranean!
The only problem is that it doesn’t say “Tuscany” to me. It’s deep and rather mysterious. It’s dreamy and, I think, rather sensual. And it needs a new name. So far, suggestions include Flaming Sea, Quintessence, Fifth Element, Dusk and Dawn, Land Sea and Sky, Herbal Breeze, Earthen Sky, Hot Lava, Molten Medley, and Jewel of the Nile. One of my Facebook fans, Patricia S., even compared it to a Van Gogh painting. (Wow, thanks)!
So what do YOU think? What should I name this soap? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!