Intaglio Soap Challenge Winners Announcement

For the month of August, the Soap Challenge Club took on the Intaglio technique which was created by Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap. He’s made three different types of designs with this type of carving technique and was excited to see what the Challenge Club members might be able to create. Strictly speaking, intaglio is an etching or engraving that refers to an image that is created by what is carved away. It has been used in printmaking processes. For the challenge, members were simply encouraged to etch a design in their soap that was no more than 1 cm deep. The design could be created from what was left, or from what was carved away using at least one thin layer of a contrasting color to really make the design pop.

The challenge was divided between two categories: juried and voted. Majestic Mountain Sage was our sponsor for the juried category and participated in choosing our top three winners as well as their Sponsor’s Choice winner. Other members of the jury included Tina Moenk of Natural Suds N More, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and myself. Those who entered the juried category were scored according to their adherence to the technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, theme and overall aesthetics. Since there were only 16 entries this time, all were scored by the jury members and everyone who entered this category will receive their scores as well as personal feedback from me about their soaps.

All of the jury members agreed that the top 2 spots in the this category could have been interchangeable as they were both SO incredibly amazing! In the end, there can only be one winner, and with just 4 more points than second place, here is the Grand Prize winner: Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia!!! Linda has placed in every challenge since she began participating with us. She has incredible talent (and patience!). Her winning soap is Panthera Tigris, an amazing display of color and excellent use of thematic elements, and precision in design.

Panthera Tigris soap by Moia Soap

Congratulations, Linda!! Her prize is a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage. Check out more photos of her beautiful soap on her Instagram post by clicking on the one above!

In second place, and equally fantastic is Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana! Teri has been the Grand Prize winner in the juried category the past few months and always creates outstanding designs. She took the opposite approach by creating her design by what was left rather than by what was carved away. The result is this stunning Plumeria Bouquet with three layers of color:

Plumeria Bouquet soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri wins a $75 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage to keep her creative juices flowing. Click on the photo to see more about her process and how she incorporated parts of her practice soap into this one.

Third and fourth place were super tight also! With a margin of just four points, our third place winner is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada! With Halloween just a few months away, Belinda’s soaps are Something Spooky. The clean lines and simple black and white color scheme really showcases her designs beautifully:

Something Spooky soaps by Love Your Suds

Belinda’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations!! Read more about Belinda’s soaps on her Instagram by clicking on the photo.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Lyn Arnhart of Garnet Tree Designs in Florida. Lyn’s Quilt Blossoms soap caught the eye of Tina Howard of Majestic Mountain Sage for several reasons. She says, “Quilting is similar to soap, it can be so very basic or it can be extremely creative. The colors chosen, as well as the whole image on her site, showed that she prepared her soap much like an intricate quilt – with a lot of preparation. These soaps, as a whole, felt like a quilt with the appliqued top and the peek-a-boo fabric underneath. A good choice of colors representing the concept of quilting as well as the art of marbling. This soap was well done, very well done.”

Quilt Blossoms soap by Garnet Tree Designs

Congratulations to Lyn for winning a $25 gift certificate from The Sage! Lyn has a great write-up and plenty of process photos on her Facebook post. Just click on the photo to check it out!

Now for the voted category! These winners were voted on by all of the members of the August Challenge Club, and sponsored by Nurture Soap. We have a stand-out winner who has been participating in the challenges for several years and this is her first time placing!! I’m so happy for Rama Mbaye in Paris, France becoming the Grand Prize winner this month! Her soap is inspired by a mosaic pattern which was beautifully executed in great detail:

Intaglio Mosaic soap by Rama Mbaye

Rama wins a $100 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – woo hoo!! Click on the photo to see her inspiration and process photos on her Instagram post.

Second place goes to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee! She is a faithful member of the Challenge Club for several years with quite a few prizewinning soaps during that time. Holly’s soap this month is a fabulous landscape design that was translated into all four bars. She had to perfectly place each color underneath to carve out the shapes each one represented:

Intaglio Soap Carving by Kapia Mera Soap Co

Excellent work, Holly! Her prize is a $75 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. Be sure to click on the photo to read Holly’s blog post about her process and see the video.

In third place, and just 2 votes behind Holly, we have Carmen Iclodean of Earth’s Raw Beauty in Nevada! Carmen has been participating in the challenges for several years as well and placed one other time. She used every ounce of patience she had to create this stunning “Paisley Pain” soap with excellent detail and clean lines:

Paisley Pain soap by Earth’s Raw Beauty

Your efforts paid off, Carmen! She wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. This photo is linked to Carmen’s Instagram post if you want to take a look.

The Sponsor’s Choice winner was chosen by Carrie Thornsbury of Nurture Soap. Congratulations to Kelley Conway of The Corner Handmade in Massachusetts! This is her second month in a row to win Sponsor’s Choice!! Carrie said she appreciated the clarity of Kelley’s carving as well as the excellent color contrast in her Tribal Football soap:

Tribal Football soap by The Corner Handmade

Kelley’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Nurture. Be sure to click on the photo to see more photos and information about how and why she created her soap on her Facebook page.

Don’t miss the rest of the entries, and the announcement of the top 10 in the juried category located here:

Juried Category

Voted Category

The technique for September is 3D Jelly Soaps!! Helene Glemet of ChezHelene is our guest teacher, and will be showing us how to make this soap:

3D jelly soap by Helene Glemet

We are doing one big challenge with Rustic Escentuals as our sponsor. The supply list has already been posted on the Current Challenge page. Be sure to check it out and join us as registration opens Monday, August 28. You can sign up to be notified below:

Butterfly Swirl Winners Announced!

The butterfly swirl challenge was pretty incredible! We had 154 members from all over the world this month, and many of them created several batches of soap to get the best possible butterfly swirl. Everyone’s hard work paid off, because I’ve never seen so many beautiful butterflies!! Even though not everyone chose to enter their soap, it was still a difficult task to choose who to vote for, as there were 90 total entries! I say that, but I never actually do the voting, so in an attempt to make it a little easier on everyone, I gave all the members five votes instead of the usual three.

I am so grateful to Nurture Soap Supplies for sponsoring the challenge this month! They are providing 65 different mica samples (or $100 gift certificate) to our grand prize winner, as well as their basic 2.5 lb. soap mold with silicone liner to the Sponsor’s Choice winner. I am also grateful to Zahida of Handmade in Florida for sharing this incredible technique with all of us!

And now, for the announcements you’ve been waiting for!

The grand prize winner created this absolutely stunning butterfly swirl soap:

Butterfly Swirl soap

Butterfly Swirl soap

It’s so unique with the black lines and almost watercolor-like effect; nothing like any of the other entries! Also unique to this soap is the creator who wishes to remain anonymous. So congratulations, and thank you so much for sharing your beautiful soap!

In second place, we have Maria from Sabun Market in Guatemala who entered this amazing butterfly swirl soap:

Midnight Pomegranate butterfly swirl by Sabun Market

Midnight Pomegranate butterfly swirl by Sabun Market

The black background really sets off the swirls beautifully and you can see the micas really sparkle. The butterfly seems to “pop” out of the soap!

Third place goes to Melinda in Joshua, Texas with her spectacular four-bar butterfly swirl soap:

Spearmint & Eucalyptus Butterfly swirl by Melinda

Spearmint & Eucalyptus Butterfly swirl by Melinda

You can click on her photo to read a lovely description of how she came up with her design and her personal thoughts behind the Challenge Club and why she chooses to participate. My favorite part about her soap is how the colors all marble together so beautifully!

Huge congrats to the second and third place winners!! They will both receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club! (More info about that below.)

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Claudia in Los Altos, California with her Butterfly Flambe soap:

Butterfly Flambe by Claudia

Butterfly Flambe by Claudia

Claudia was inspired by a t-shirt design with a wolf and flames on it. The colors pretty well capture the colors in the t-shirt as well as the flames! You can click the photo to read more about her inspiration and see more photos of her soaps. Congratulations, Claudia! You did an incredible job with this one!

If you would like to see the other 86 entries, please visit THIS LINK.

For next month, we are doing the DNA/helix swirl! I first saw this technique demonstrated in a log mold by Sabine of Soap Star, and recently one of our Challenge Club members re-created the technique in a slab mold. For the video tutorial, I will demonstrate the technique in the slab mold, but will leave each member to come up with their own take on this design. Here is the soap I made for the tutorial:

DNA/helix swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

DNA/helix swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Nature’s Garden will be our sponsor for February. Grand prize is a $50 gift certificate, and the sponsor’s choice prize is a $25 gift certificate.

Many of the current members purchased the three-month registration that will be good through March. For those who didn’t, registration for this technique will open on Monday. If you’d like to be notified, just click the button below:


Check Out These Spoon Swirls!!

We had 116 soapmakers from all over the world come together for the December Challenge Club! Our technique was the simple spoon swirl which involves pouring various layers of soap, then using a spoon (or chopstick) to fold the soap from bottom to top, creating beautiful swirls! Our sponsor this month was Majestic Mountain Sage. Tina’s favorite holiday is Christmas, so she created some generous prizes for our winners!! Grand prize is a $100 gift certificate! Normally second and third place just receive free registration to the next month’s Challenge Club, but this time they will also receive the Amazing Dozen sampler kit from The Sage – 12 different one-ounce bottles of the winner’s choice of fragrance, essential oil, extract, or flavor oil. The Sponsor’s Choice winner will also receive an Amazing Dozen sampler kit! Thanks so much, Majestic Mountain Sage!!

And now, for our winners:

Congratulations to Milla from Bend, Oregon!! She is a hobby soapmaker, and has entered nearly all of the Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Clubs, yet this is the first time she has made a top 3 spot. Milla has really created a masterpiece with her pink, black and white spoon swirl soap:

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

In second place we have Jelena in Quebec, Canada with her beautiful wispy swirled Cherry Blossom soap. Isn’t it gorgeous??

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Congrats to Claudia in Los Altos, California for her third place finish with this amazing outer space spoon swirl soap! She combined the spoon swirl with in-the-pot swirls and tiny little soap embeds:

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

And finally, I get to announce our Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Katy in Neoga, Illinois!! Katy is yet another hobby soapmaker and soon-to-be mother of six girls! She has been a member of the Challenge Club nearly every month, and I am excited to show you her Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap made with real champagne:

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

I know you’ll want to see the rest of the entries, so I’ve made the link available HERE.

For the January Challenge Club, I will attempt to de-mystify the Butterfly Swirl, originally created by Zahida of Handmade in Florida. Here are the results of my first practice batch:

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Our sponsor for the January Challenge Club is Nurture Soap Supplies! The grand prize winner will receive 65 different mica samples (enough to color 2 pounds of soap each!), and the sponsor’s choice winner will each receive a basic 2.5 pound soap mold with silicone liner.

Once again I will open up the January Challenge Club so that you can register just for that month, or you can register for the next three months. Check out what we have lined up for February and March as well:

The February Challenge will feature the DNA/helix swirl, and the sponsor is Nature’s Garden. They will provide a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and a $25 gift certificate to the sponsor’s choice winner!

For March, we will revisit landscape soaps, something we haven’t done in quite a long time and always turn out so amazing! We have a new sponsor for March: TKB Trading! Their prize packages will be announced soon.

Registration opens after the holidays – on Monday, January 5th. Sign up now get a notification via email as soon as registration is available, and the tutorial for the spoon swirl as well: