Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Philosophy Behind My Soaps

It is becoming common knowledge that handmade soap is far better than commercially purchased soaps. Cottage soap makers are appearing all over the world, producing a huge range of great soaps for a steadily increasing amount of people who have turned away from the big companies forever.

Most of the soaps that can be purchased are often very beautiful and symmetrical in nature. Perfectly shaped, smooth to the touch. Molded into sweet and angelical shapes. As with most things in my life, cute and sweet is just not the way I go about things.

I get almost all of my inspiration from the environment that surrounds me, which is anything but dainty and fine.

Perhaps one of the most important places in my life is our sea side cabin, about an hour and a half north of Bergen. The surroundings are stunning, and the nature is often decribed as raw: cold sea water (we often use scuba diving suits to wear swimming, even in the summer), the landscape is hard and steep, there are no beaches and the plants and bushes grow wild and need to be cut back every year for fear of their complete conquest of what we "own".

Our cabin is getting close to 100 years old. Huge improvements have been made during the last 10 years (a toilet and a new roof, for example). But it still shakes and creaks during the winter storms, just as it did when it was first built.
It is here that I plan to grow and/or harvest much of what I will be making my soaps from: cucumbers and carrots, juniper berries, fire nestles, furu, wild cranberries, wild flowers, blueberries, raspberries and gooseberries.

The other items that I plan to use that I cannot grow or harvest, will be purchased from the Indian and Middle Eastern community of Bergen: vanilla, spices, and poltenta being examples. They have such a better quality and quantity of these products than the local supermarkets.

These soaps will a lot like me, very basic, honest and true to the core. I do not use a lot of different oils in my recipes. And yet my soaps lather beautifully, the skin remains amazingly soft.

I like my soaps to look deliscious, so that they are a feast for both the mind and the fingers. Perhaps the heart and soul as well. Like good artwork, one's eye should travel over the random patterns created.

I look forward to walking on this new path in my life. I look forward to sharing both my successes and my mishaps with those who visit me here. It should be great fun.