Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vendor Q&A with 8th Street Soap Kitchen

What is your craft all about?
Honest and good soap, unexpected combinations, fun names, imperfect drawings.

What inspires you to make what you make?
Pretty much anything -- a place, a person, a feeling. I joke sometimes that other people blog; I make soap. You know how they say that smell is the sense tied most closely to human memory? That totally makes sense to me.

More generally speaking, I'm constantly blown away by the number of talented people out there making cool things that are undeniably unique to them. And not just in the crafty-sphere (don't get me started -- where to begin?). People like Maira Kalman, Pez, Ed Emberly, that guy who makes clear-tape sculpture, Arthur Ganson, Sam Bartlett, Stephan Sagmeister, Diane Arbus, Drew, Julia Lohmann, Saul Bass, the folks at Yee-Haw, to name a few. Even the visual merchandising folk at Anthropologie. Totally adore their work.

What techniques do you use? I make soaps using the cold-process technique. In a nutshell, it means I make soap from scratch (as opposed to buying premade soap and melting it down), which takes a few weeks to cure. The "cold" refers to the fact the combination of fatty acids (oils) and alkali kicks off a chemical reaction that generates its own heat. Like up to 200 degrees -- soapmaking is not for the faint of heart.

Where has your craft taken you?
Geographically, I've gone as far as Baltimore. And as far as the wild land known as Northern Virginia.

Where can folks find your craft outside the Handmade Mart? My soaps are not sold at any brick-and-mortar shops -- I only sell at craft fairs and online at Etsy.

Visit me at booth #38!

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