Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soaping for the Season- Seasonal Soaps Without the Cutesy Kitsch

I've never been one to adorn my house in cutesy holiday decor. You won't find American-flag-themed chairs on my porch during summer, or four leaf clovers on my front door in March. So, I will admit, the idea of making soaps to fit each season did not immediately appeal to me. I had visions of pilgrim shaped molds and I could not imagine a situation where I personally would EVER be inclined to purchase such soap, so why would I make them?

Then, one morning this fall,  I had an everyone mulled around the farmer's market, decked out in their long pants and high turtle necks to ward off the bite of the crisp autumn air, I realized we were surrounded by pumpkins, and gourds. The air was thick with the smell of spiced nuts and cider. It felt like fall. It smelled like fall, and undoubtedly, it looked like fall. And, as with every change of season, there was EXCITEMENT in the air! People were done with the hot days of summer. At this moment in time, they were looking forward to cool nights, colored leaves, trick-or-treaters and holiday feasts. It was palpable... and contagious. And it made me realize that anybody who sells anything, from soap to real estate, would be a fool not to tap into this collective energy that seems to enrapture us all at the turn of each season. That is not to say that I will run right out and purchase a pilgrim shaped soap mold... but there is no reason not to create a soap that captures the energy of the season while still reflecting your own personal artistic intuitions. And there are so many natural options!

For Halloween, why not make a purple and black swirl with alkanet root powder and activated charcoal? For general fall colors, turmeric creates a great yellow; rose hips make a nice brick red color; beer makes a nice earthy tan; and cocoa makes a beautiful shade of brown. Layered or embedded, swirled or solid... there are so many creative ways to capture the colors and scents of autumn while still making a versatile, beautiful soap that doesn't compromise your artistic integrity or look ridiculously out of place at other times of year. In finding that balance, I realized that working with seasonal inspirations doesn't have to limit your creativity or compromise your artistic vision, and it can, in fact, expand your versatility and marketability.

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