Roll That Tape!

Were you lucky enough to join us last week in Tucson, Arizona for the 17th annual HSCG conference? Yes, there was an awful lot of demonstration last week (this desert spa-inspired six layer exfoliant soap by Charlene Simon  was an excellent case in point), but that’s not the only thing we were up to.

char exfoliant vid set up

Oh yes, there was the perfect bath fizzy (those are Holly Port’s hands and her amazing technique),

HSCG_2014-1 fizzy perfection

there were fearless batch-splitting into impressionist-worthy multiple colors (as calmly and very cleanly demonstrated by Erica Pence),

HSCG_2014-4 multicolor pour

and there was even some mica on mica swirling action (as demonstrated here by a safely gloved Tanya Rasley).

HSCG_2014-10 tanya mica swirl

But despite all these lovely demos happening, you may not have seen all of these things if you attended HSCG’s Annual Conference last week.

Wondering why? Here’s a hint, courtesy of Marla Bosworth and a jammin’ Lisa Frank-esque tidal wave soap:

marla and finished soap

Not helping much? How about this?

erica and soap

Getting warmer??

mcginnis behind the scenes (2)

Wonder what we were up to last week? That’s right, we were shooting video (witness rare behind-the-scenes shot above of producer Adam Grogin of Monster Productions). Holly Port of Lotion Bar Cafe, Catherine McGinnis of Soaping101, Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab and The Bonnie Bath Co., Tanya Rasley of Baby Duck Soap Co. and Canard Labs, Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium, and Marla Bosworth of Back Porch Soap Co. all donated their time and mad cosmetic-making skills to film tutorial videos that will eventually land in HSCG’s Learning Library. The Learning Library will be a vetted source of tips, tricks, techniques and creative inspiration for members…and it will be free.

Thanks to these amazing ladies and a killer production and behind-the-scenes crew (can’t forget the dish washers!), we’ll have tutorials on how to layer your soaps, use exfoliants, combine swirling techniques, make amazing bath fizzies, utilize spoons and condiment bottles in your swirling technique, and more. We are still collecting and producing content for the Learning Library, so stay tuned. We will keep you posted on Learning Library progress – we just couldn’t resist sharing these early behind-the-scenes shots! (And while you are oh-so-patiently waiting, allow us to distract you with kittens a time-lapse video of the hard-working conference crew setting up for registration last week.)

What would you love to see in your own personal soap and cosmetic reference library?

Going Way Back: The Journal

Bummed that you’re missing out on conference (just about 19 days and counting, you guys!!)? Looking for some best known methods? Wish you had some soapmaking tips and tricks up your sleeves? Just looking for a way to kill some extra time (try not to snort when you read that one)?

Have a look at the archived Journals. From 2000 through 2011, the HSCG (then the HSMG) published a journal approximately twice a year. With the rise of social media forums and our member access to email, publishing a journal was no longer the best way to get information out to the membership. Those of us who love to read shed a tear for its passing, but there’s good news – the Journal lives online for members (and not in that creepy zombie way, okay?!).

Archived Journals are your secret pot of gold

The Guild uploaded every single issue, as well as providing a linked list of all articles arranged by author (so you can find all your favorite experts) and by title (great for general browsing). Every link opens up the entire issue, so get ready to dive on in and learn tips and tricks while you also locate the article you’re interested in. Each file is a PDF, ready for reading online, saving to your hard drive, or printing to read offline. To access, navigate to Member Resources –> Journal Back Issues under the Members tab. Once you log in, you’ll have the option to open an archived issue directly, or browse by article title or author.

book

Get a sneak peak of many of our 2014 conference speakers by checking out their past work in the Journal. Need some ideas? (Boy, are we glad you asked)

–        Acquaint yourself with Kevin Dunn’s work, from DOS to gel to an exploration of superfatting versus lye discounts, as you gear up for his conference session on the role of Protein in Handcrafted Soap.

–        Prepare for Lori Nova-Endres’ Natural Perfume and Cologne session with her classic article covering 10 essential oils for soap.

–        You’ll find loads of articles from Marie Gale, covering soap history, controversy, and practical advice. This year, she’ll be handing out loads more practical advice in her Getting Started With Your Record-Keeping and GMP conference session.

–        Get a taste of Kerri Mixon’s colorant knowledge in her early articles on natural micas and understanding colorants before attending her Comprehensive Color and Scent for Soap and Cosmetics session (or LACK of color, in Making Transparent Cold/Hot Process Soap).

–        Read Jackie Thompson’s primer on unsaponifiables as preparation for her Neutralizing Liquid Soap and Soap Gels and Jellies sessions.

Do you have fond memories of the Journal? What’s your favorite online reading these days?

Classes in Your Neck of the Woods

You checked out that book (or bought it on Amazon) and are feeling just a wee bit intimidated. Your cold process batch turned into a volcano post-molding, unintentionally leading to really, really clean countertops and floors. That melt and pour bar turned your skin blue in the shower or made you look like you were reenacting a scene from Psycho. You forgot about that batch of soap waiting to be unmolded and you are now the proud owner of four pounds of soap curds, to put it politely. You have experienced an ice cream bucket-sized soap on a stick. Don’t let this happen to you. Get a little help from some pros and take your soapmaking skills from zero to hero.

certified soapmaker teacher to the rescue!

When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to figure out how to get help. If that’s the boat you’re in, we have a few pages on the HSCG website that just might help guide you to shore AND you don’t have to be a member to access them. (Yep, we think our benefits are pretty awesome, but we want every soapmaker to have some good resources.)

Check out the Teachers & Classes section of the website to find both teachers and current class listings. As part of our Certified Soapmaker Program, certified soapmakers can become certified teachers (superhero cape not included). Of course we can’t guarantee your future billionaire-hood after taking these classes, but we think they are a darn good start. While you’re perusing, you have two ways to browse: the Find a local teacher section lets you browse the full listing of teachers by country and state while the Find local classes section lets you browse classes by US state, by country, and by online availability. Each class listing includes a link to more details, including how to book your spot.

Reading in the round

No local teachers? There is a full slate of online classes in English and en Español that will take you from beginning to pro soapmaking, along with a healthy dose of business classes.

Think there’s a class missing? Wish there was an in-person class near you? Glad you asked. Leave us some feedback right here. These special requests go straight to the membership. Once a tidal wave of demand rushes out to our members, you may just see a new certified soapmaker teacher or class pop up near you.

Want to get a heads up on upcoming classes? Sign up for our e-mail list right here. Each month we send out the scoop on classes coming up over the next two months and we’d be happy to keep you posted.

How do you like to learn? Any great soap-tastrophes you’re willing to fess up to?