Sunday, 8 May 2016

Elegant Crowned Crane - SMF Soap Challenge (Interpretation, not Imitation)

I am joining the challenge on this Soap Makers Forum for May 2016 titled Interpretation, not Imitation. Hosted by the lovely "newbie", she has provided us with a group of bird pictures from which we must choose one and create a soap inspired by our choice.

It is not about re-creating a picture, but about how we interpret what we see in the photo and express that in soap.

We must choose at least 4 colours from the picture to include in the soap, and we cannot use any colour that is not in the picture. We may use any mould and any technique and may include embeds.

Wahoo! Here we go .........

I chose this beautiful creature - a Grey Crowned Crane from South Africa. How gorgeous is she?

She puts me in mind of an elegant woman in a stylish gown and a sassy plumed hat. 

I love the soft, muted colours with the grey tones - I have chosen to include in my soap the green of the grass, the brown/purple of her tail feathers and two of the grey shades on her body.

What I'm aiming to convey in my soap is the quietness and feeling of peacefulness I get from the picture, but also the elegance and sassy-ness of the bird.

Recipe: Sweet Almond & Shea

This one has mostly light coloured oils which should make it easier to mix the right colours. Also it stays quite fluid long enough to do most swirls.

300g Sustainable Palm oil
300g Coconut oil
150g Olive oil
150g Sweet Almond oil
100g Shea Butter

360g de-mineralised water
143g sodium hydroxide

I'm using a 28% lye concentration and CPOPing to encourage a full gel.


I'll use a 10" silicone bar mould with dividers for 4 colours and attempt a "feathery" type swirl through the whole soap.

Here goes ... Add the lye solution and blend to emulsion (just blended).

Pour mixture evenly into 6 jugs and add colourants. I used liquid dispersions from Aussie Soap Supplies. I mixed in with a whisk first then gave it a bit of a stick blend before I poured it into the mould.  Add fragrance oil - check out this nifty trick of pouring down a skewer, it prevents the oil dripping down the bottle.

I poured into the mould in the order: green, purple, dark grey, light grey - keeping to the order of colours in the photograph.

These things are tricky to pull out - I needed pliers. I forgot to work out exactly how to execute a clean removal before I started and made a bit of a mess of the lines!

Not to worry - I'm sure I can make something of this ...


I've put it in a slow oven and turned the oven off (Cold-Process-Oven-Process - or CPOP).

Tomorrow will tell ...

Final Result:

Unfortunately the purple colour has morphed into something that isn't in the picture so my soap can't be entered into the competition, but it has been a fun challenge and learning experience anyway.


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