When I was a child we had a local John Lewis bookstore in the town centre. My favourite pastime while mum was shopping was just to go around browsing the bookstore and then get picked up when it was time to go back home. I would have a ritual of walking down each of the isles but always left my favourite one til the end.
This was the Fantasy Isle or more specifically the Science Fiction & Fantasy section. I loved browsing through these books and in particular loved the front cover art work displayed. In the non-fiction section the books on Celtic folklore would draw me the most, again partly because of some of the most awesome art work and illustrations in them. Two books in particular always caught my eye and I saved up months of pocket money to purchase them. These were Classic Celtic Fairy Tales and Tales of the Celtic Otherworld by John Matthews and illustrated by Ian M Daniels. The illustrations in particular would be what would constantly drew me to them. They were simply stunning. Elegant, wistful and with an ethereal beauty that painted a story. The one image could conjure up a whole fable in my head and to this day, some 20 years later, I still have my books – some of the only ones from that time period that I haven’t donated to a library or charity shop.
Josephine Wall has a similar ability with her art to conjure up stories and fables with a single image although her style is very different from Daniels. More magical, whimsical, fae and even psychadelic in some ways, while Daniels is ethereal, darker and more Celtic. I love Walls abundant use of my favourite colour, blue, which is a huge allure for me.
Both these artists as well as a few others to a lesser extent have in their own ways inspired me when making soaps for the Faerie Range.
The first of these is the Winter Queen. A lovely white hot process soap interspersed with marbled pale blue, and with shimmery purple mica lines. The description is:
‘The scent of the regal and aloof, the Winter Queen is fresh and green with notes of moss, ferns, snow, pine and cold minty air.’
It contains a blend of both FOs and EOs and is very fresh with a mix of herbal and mint notes. The packaging of white organza drawstring bag with the pink accents is a draw for most people when they see it in person.
The second soap in the range is called Twilight Berry.
‘Berries that only appear in the mystical twilight hour, full of juicy glinting sweetness, danger and promise, with notes of fresh red strawberry, black cherry, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon.’
As the description indicates it is a deep berry scented soap with notes of spice and sweetness. I love the gorgeous blue colours and it is one of the first few soaps I tried indigo powder in. Not as accurate a blue as ultramarine blue oxide, it can still throw up some interesting blue hues depending on how it’s used. In this I also added acai berry powder for a bit of antioxidant power.
The next is the Midnight Hour, another hot process soap with a marbled blue effect and shimmery gold mica lines.
‘The Midnight Hour is mysterious, mystical and a little mischievous! With notes of honeyed blue figs and sweet tart blueberries mellowing into an alluring purple peony and finally settling into a resinous sweetness from frankincense essential oil..’
This was supposed to be a much darker blue, like midnight blue-black, which I had hoped to achieve from mixing charcoal and ultramarine blue but I don’t think I mixed enough of either. The soap was very dark blue when I initially mixed it in but as the hours went on and it hardened up it also became much lighter. Although I love the shade it developed into I was worried initially that it would lighten up too much. The next batch of this which appears will probably be a little darker.
The last of the currently made soaps from the Faerie Range is called Faerie Summer.
‘bursts of fruitiness mixed with heady moments of floral sweetness, this scent delights with notes of luxurious flowers, such as jasmine and rose combined with luscious fruit notes of mango, grapefruit, green apple and papaya – simply delicious!
This is a pink soap dusted with rose petals and super sparkly glitter. A mix, of summer fruits and flowers it has one of the prettiest fragrance blends I have made and would be great for spring and summer. It is still in the curing stage as of writing but should be listed on Etsy in a couple of weeks.
Of all the soap ranges that I have developed and tested. The Faerie Soap Range contains the most. The concepts, descriptions, scent blends and packaging are all complete and it is just a matter of scheduling in time for production now. I’m also trying not to let the Faerie Range dominate on the Etsy listings as I don’t want the range to define my handmade soap section on Etsy and give people the perception that this is my only style. I love love love making the Faerie Soaps but I also love my other soap ranges too. It’s just that these are probably, so far the most fun to create.