Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Great Cakes Soapworks April - Location Challenge


It’s been a while since I last entered the great cake’s challenge as I have been busy getting my little soap company off the ground. But when I saw the challenge this month, I jumped at the chance to have a go. I love the themed challenges and this one really appealed to me.


Here is my entry for this month’s challenge. It is the Mayflower, the ship that the Pilgrim Fathers sailed across the ocean in searching for the new world. They departed from Plymouth on the 16th September 1620. 

My favourite drink, Plymouth Gin has an image of the ship on the bottle, so it is one of the first things I think of when I think of the city.

We have a memorial in the harbour at the mayflower steps which is said to be where they boarded the ship for their long journey. There is also a beautiful replica of the ship in the Mayflower museum right next door. http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/plymouthmayflower

We sometimes have tall ships stopping in the harbour and I love them, they are so beautiful. It is astounding to me that they made it over such isolated treacherous seas with people living aboard for months on end. I'm not sure it's a journey I would be able to face myself! 


The soap is made in a slab mould using 100% cold process soap by making embeds then moulding more soap around them and cutting them again. I used 40% lye concentration so the soap hardens up really quickly and can be cut within a few hours.

The soap is coloured with ultramarine blue, a touch of chromium green, titanium dioxide and the brown is chestnut mica, I scented just the base with Island Fresh fragrance which is a marine type fragrance, it accelerates so the embeds aren't fragranced themselves. 

I started by pouring a slab of brown soap for the masts 


Then I drew the image of the sails onto some greaseproof baking paper and put it into the mould - I cut the brown soap into strips and put it into place over where I wanted it to stay. I held it in place with a dab of petroleum jelly. 



I then poured over white soap batter and allowed it to set. The next day, I used a small kitchen knife and some wax carving tools to cut out the sails. I used a wire cutter to cut the slab in half to reveal a sharper image from the inside of the embed so I had two mirror image versions of the sails. Partially in case anything went wrong so that I could have a  second go, fortunately that wasn't necessary!




I did the same with the brown hull of the ship



At this point, I then had a fully assembled embed ship



Then I poured the fragranced base into the final mould and allowed it to set until it was the consistency of pudding. 


I then assembled all my boat parts and allowed them to set in place


When the batter had set up enough that the embeds would stay in place, I poured the top layer. I added some extra embellishments to the ship in the form of windows. Added more blue batter to top up the soap so it was in line with the embeds and added clouds and waves to the sea. Here is the finished soap while it was still wet. 



I really, really enjoyed making this soap and I hope you enjoy looking at it too. Thank you for organising the challenges Amy. I would never have a reason to make soap like this if it wasn't for you.













22 comments:

  1. Wow! Claire, you did so good with the planning & carving! Super cool inspiration with the Mayflower!

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    1. Thanks so much Eva, I love your landscape soap too. :)

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  2. This is so great, Claire!! I feel horrible saying it, but as an egocentric American, it really never occurred to me that the starting point of the Mayflower would also be a significant location! I love that you used this for your inspiration, and all the fantastic details!

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    1. Thanks Amy, I'm glad you like it :)

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  3. Your soap is fantastic! absolutely love your inspiration and those embeds you made.

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  4. WoooooW!!! Living in MA I also thought of this or the Boston tea party. Thank god I didn't attempt it because you nailed it!!

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    1. How on earth would you do the boston tea party?!?!?! That would be an amazing soap! I'm really glad you liked my version of the mayflower. :)

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  5. So cool!!! We were inspired by very similar things this month. I LOVE seeing your vision come to life. Such a great job you did!! The detail is INCREDIBLE!

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    1. It's crazy that we ended up with such similar inspirations, with all the things out there we could have chosen from! I'm really happy you liked my version :)

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  6. So much detail & planning went into your soap ! It really looks awesome. I loved reading your inspiration :)

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    1. Thanks Pooja, there are some fantastic entries this month and I love reading about everone's inspiration too.

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  7. I grew up in Massachusetts, and have visited the Mayflower II many times, I recognized this beloved wooden ship. Congratulations on an amazing portrayal. Gayle in Maine

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  8. Lots and lots of details!!! I love it!

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  9. Lots and lots of details!!! I love it!

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  10. WOW! My mind is blown at the attention to detail + organization this soap required - great job!

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  11. Welcome back, Claire! Boy, you sure made a powerful historical statement with this fabulous soap! The hard work and your attention to detail really paid off. Fantastic job!

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  12. The detail on this is wonderful! I never thought of the multiple step embeds, they turned our beautifully.

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  13. I love all the details and the way you sculpted the pieces. Wow!

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  14. Thank you so much for all the lovely comments everyone. You have made me really happy. All that cutting and carving was worth it!

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  15. Very inspiring! I love it.

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