Our interview with
When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I was born in Czechoslovakia which is now the Czech Republic. My mother and grandmother made handmade soaps, collected herbs, made infusions and balms. Ever since I was little, I was fascinated by the things that they did. I was also fascinated by the soap making process. They cooked their soap in a huge kettle. As a child, I was not allowed anywhere near when the soap was being made.
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
I have been making soaps since 1969. I have come a long way since then. I don’t cook my soaps like my mother and grandmother did. I prefer to make cold process soaps that do not gel. I like the feel and texture of ungelled soaps. I can use less essential oils or fragrances and they don’t morph as much when soap doesn’t gel.
Cooking has influenced a lot of things that I use to make soaps with. I experimented a lot in my early soapmaking years. I use herbs and spices in my soaps and I also infuse herbs into oils which are used to make soap.
Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
My mother and grandmother have passed on, but I love to be able to pass the craft on by teaching.
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
I have done craft shows, street fairs, bazaars and now my handmade artisan soaps and bath & body products are available online.
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I love to read old herbals, pharmacopeias and old formula books for all kinds of bath and body products.
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
My favorite piece is a swirled purple and white Lavender and Vanilla soap that has lavender hand stamped dragonflies on it. This is the soap:
Why did you make that piece?
I wanted to make soap out of the box. I made it to see if I can swirl soap in a round tubular mold. It came out better that I expected.
What does it take to create pieces like that?
I work out the soap recipe on paper as much as I can, but the rest depends on oils or butters used, the temperature when combined, the color used and bribing the soap fairies, so the soap comes out like I envisioned it.
What is special about your pieces?
Each piece of soap that I make is a piece of art and it’s unique. I use the best sourced oils and butters that I can. I buy organic herbs whenever possible to have the best quality products.
What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?
Even though I have been making soaps for a while, whenever I’m in the soapmaking mode, the rest of the world disappears. My stress levels go down and I get to be creative in my own unique way. I love getting comments and emails from my customers how much they love my soaps and how much better their skin feels after using it. That makes me feel good.