Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soap Challenge for August 2017 involved a form of carving known as Intaglio, pronounced “in-TAL-ee-oh.” Copper or zinc plates are usually the carved medium and the purpose is generally tied to print making. But in this Challenge, we were to carve a design into soap.
This was a really fun challenge, although a bit nerve wracking too! One of the participants was asking for Xanax when the time came for him to start carving. Lol!
We started out by pouring layers of soap; very thin one(s) for the top of the soaps and a deeper one for the bottom. The carved layers had to be less than a centimeter deep in total. I thought I had it figured out for my first batch, but ended up remaking it because I felt that my three top layers were too thick. I did better with the second batch, but still ended up running the top layer through my planer.
I poured the thin layers top down into a small silicone slab mold. That only yielded four three-inch squares of soap. I ended up wasting the first three bars and sweated through the final one. The problem being the size of the smaller areas that needed carving.
I was bent on carving the logo I had designed for my business a couple of years ago, a very stylized duck with “luckyduck” under it, and all inside a circle.
I knew there was no way I’d be able to carve the tiny lettering, and the duck doesn’t look right inside the circle without the lettering, so I skipped that as well. I opted to concentrate on the duck part of the logo.
After messing up the first of four bars, I went to the craft store for smaller tools. Still no go. The duck’s bill ended up too distorted. Back to the drawing board! I enlarged my logo a bit for bar three, but it was still too difficult to carve
I had only one more bar left and no time to pour a third slab and let it firm up enough. I decided that I either needed to enlarge the design further or buy jeweler’s tools and a magnifying glass. I chose the former.This time I enlarged the logo outside of the confines of the bar size, so I had to decide what part of the duck to sacrifice. As cute as the tail is, the head and most of the main part of the duck’s body are integral to the feeling I designed the logo to express.
“Lucky” is basking in the sun on a nice warm day. Her head is lifted slightly toward the sun, eyes closed, enjoying a restful, spa-like experience. She is always positioned on a clean white background, and usually inside of a circle representing a soap bubble.
As simple as my soap design seems, simplicity coexists with a clean look and feel. Planning and executing this design was a lot more difficult than it looks (hence the four bars!) Too small and, not only is it too hard to carve, but the colors are too deep to see clearly, especially that tiny bill.
Thanks so much to two of my soapy heroes, Amy Warden, who hosts these awesome challenges, and Clyde Yoshida, who developed and adapted the intaglio method to soap making.