It's 1884 and a sharp knock on the door signals the weekly arrival of the young man who will take the remains of our hearth to the ashman. He will purify these ashes along with those of all our neighbors so they can be repurposed into something new that can cleanse the skin. This early method of upcycling was the essential element needed for the art of soapmaking happening in many homes.
Soap is one of the most basic processes that is made by combining an oil with an alkali which came from these early home fires. Handcrafted soap has the benefit of being zero waste. All the ingredients that go into the soap are fully assimilated creating something entirely new. Soap can also be entirely pure, from the oils that create it, to the herbs that color it and the plant essences that scent it. A benefit to handmade soap is that it will have naturally formed glycerin created during the soapmaking process. Glycerin is a humectant that draws moisture to the skin, keeping it soft and hydrated.
Handcrafted soap brings a reverence for the ritual of bathing as well as for the planet from which its ingredients originate. There is no greater indulgence than the use of a luxurious bar of soap. From early recipes practiced by ancient cultures, each soap artist covets their recipes and knows just what tweaks are needed to make a bar that will perform as needed.
This month in honor of Earth Day, we make bar soaps that revere the distinctive and wonderful scent of Star Anise. This sweet and herbal scent is as true in nature as it is in our soaps. Our Black Licorice bar soaps are more than just a memory of the black and chewy confection, we choose to artfully blend Star Anise with Mexican Vanilla to create a distinctive bar that is simply divine.
Anise, a moon herb, can mask the human scent and is perfect for hunters or fisher folk. Ancient folklore rumors it to bring luck, enhance the dream state and clairvoyance. To balance the Star Anise, we add a touch of Mexican vanilla, cultivated by the Totonacs in the early 1400s. Vanilla is a sacred herb used in ritual offerings and remedies. These two aromatic & ancient essential oils when blended with marshmallow, lemon balm and gourmet oils and butters honor the plentiful gifts of Mother Earth.
On mornings when we create our Black Licorice bars, the air is rich with these fragrant essential oils. During the blending, we separate the batch and marble into the prepared pans, cover for the evening, and allow it to finish the saponification process. We let it rest for 48 hours before un-molding and splitting into loaves. We then allow the newly made soap to cure a further 2 weeks. After that time these loves are cut into bars. We choose to package our soaps in boxes made of recycled content, that double as a soap caddy and can later be recycled. These bars are packaged with love and sent to our customers. Made naturally, packaged sustainably, our biodegradable bars are earth friendly and the perfect travel companion on your next camping adventure.