03-29-2013, 07:58 AM
#1
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Does being able to make "good" soap make you an artisan or does making good artisan SHAVING soap mean more than that? I have experienced many "good" quality soaps, but their usefulness is overcome by a poor and not very pleasing smell. Sometimes caused by the basic soap itself (with no fragrance added ) having an un-appealing odor. Also, there are soaps that are way over powering and are just not blended very well. Or, their fragrance changes for the worst with time. I think a good shaving soap is a total experience of BOTH smell and performance. After all, some old timers feel that just making soap itself is not a big deal, our parents and grandparents and millions of others did that during WWII as did many out west as early pioneers. Smell is a personal thing but there are basics the artisan must, in fact, take into account. The basic soap blend AND fragrance and the chemistry to make that fragrance consistent and pleasant over the long term. This is where many European competitors have experience and excel.
I recently was very impressed with a sample of Mikes Natural Hungarian Lavender. Very nice subtle high quality lavender smell and excellent shave. I just have to learn to perfect the lathering. But, even my first wimpy lather was excellent! I would put this, at least initially, in the artisan category. We will see what happens over time.
What are your thoughts on what is a soap artisan? Is it just making soap or does it have a greater meaning?

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 03-29-2013, 09:01 AM
#2
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To be an artisan, your soaps should perform and smell exceptionally well. Not everyone is going to like certain scents, but most can appreciate when things are done well. We're lucky to have so many soap artisans in our community.

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 03-29-2013, 09:50 AM
#3
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Someone who has a passion for what they are doing, and doing it well. We are blessed with several great soap artisans on this forum.

FYI: Proctor and Gamble are not artisans.Smile

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 03-29-2013, 09:52 AM
#4
  • MickToley
  • Hi, I'm Mike and I'm a shave soap addict
  • Brooklyn, NY
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An artisan is a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. There are good artisan soap makers, and then there are soap makers that are not as good. Whichever category they happen to fall in, they are still an artisan. That's my opinion.

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 03-29-2013, 09:55 AM
#5
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Technically an artisan soap maker is just an individual making small batches of soap as opposed to a commercial soap maker which makes large batches in a very controlled manner. The former will usually have a little inconsistency as they deal with raw materials in a much smaller quantity, creating uncontrollable variables as many of the ingredients are natural and change from batch to batch. A commercial manufacturer would tend to buy their materials in a larger quantity allowing for more consistency from batch to batch. An artisan will usually offer more variations (scents, formulas, etc) because it is easier to do so when making small batches. However, neither artisan nor commercial made soaps are guaranteed to be better than the other so don't buy a soap just because it says artisan on the label. I have had bad soaps from both artisan and commercial manufacturer's so always do your homework first unless you enjoy experimenting and have extra disposable income.

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 03-29-2013, 09:57 AM
#6
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i agree totally with that Michael Thumbsup

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 03-29-2013, 12:22 PM
#7
  • diggity
  • Active Member
  • Los Gatos, CA
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Great reply, Dave. Small batch handmade soaps.

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 03-29-2013, 12:54 PM
#8
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(03-29-2013, 12:22 PM)diggity Wrote: Great reply, Dave. Small batch handmade soaps.

But our grandparenets and pioneers did small batch and handmade. I dont think they were artisans!

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 03-29-2013, 01:08 PM
#9
  • diggity
  • Active Member
  • Los Gatos, CA
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(03-29-2013, 12:54 PM)sandan Wrote:
(03-29-2013, 12:22 PM)diggity Wrote: Great reply, Dave. Small batch handmade soaps.

But our grandparenets and pioneers did small batch and handmade. I dont think they were artisans!

If they were experts in their field and sold their products, then yeah they were artisans Biggrin

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 03-29-2013, 01:45 PM
#10
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Taken from Merriam-Webster online :

1
: a worker who practices a trade or handicraft : craftsperson
2
: one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods

In my view, as others above have already stated, soaps that are made by a talented individual or small group of individuals 'by hand', as opposed to industrial or larger scale operations that are performed 'by automated machinery', qualify as artisan made.

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 03-29-2013, 03:47 PM
#11
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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Johnny, it might not be appropriate to do so here, but could you share who the soap making members are? I've been to the Artisan's forum, but still, I know of only a small number, and given I have a choice of where to spend my money I would prefer to do so with a member..


edit.... Never mind!! Amazing what you one can find when one actually looks!!

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 03-30-2013, 10:48 AM
#12
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In Italy there's a law that regulates what an artisan is: a person who exercises the craft business personally, professionally and as the (main) owner, assuming full responsibility for all costs and risks related to its direction and managing and, in the production process, it's the predominant person who does the work, including manual work.

It has nothing to do with "art", even if maybe the word's root is the same. This means that an artisan soap, at least here, doesn't have to be necessarily good, but actually it probably is because of the primary importance given to quality in place of quantity.

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