Soap Art: A scented story
Jaimerie Novella Mortaud, mother of 3 girls and an IT professional, is turning her love for soap-crafting into a scented reality. At 19, she met the loves of her life in the guise of poetry, sculpture and portraiture. Art became a serious hobby when she moved to France in 1999. There she attended painting and sculpture workshops. Natural soap making on the other hand, came out of necessity after she developed an allergic reaction to industrial soaps.
The saga of soap making started in 2015 after Jaims’ initial exposure to a family-owned soap factory in Greece. Since then, she has experimented with different vegetable and essential oils to create desirable soap recipes. She did not stop at formulating natural soap recipes minus the harmful chemicals. Rather, she took pleasure in crafting beautiful soaps. It was hard and challenging because soap dries out fast, leaving inadequate time to apply the desired designs.
Her current designs are a product of 5 years’ trial and error, training, experimentation, learning from the master - all requiring personal investments of time and money. It became a costly hobby but quickly compensated by friends’ appreciation who received them as gifts. It also led to initial selling of the products to offset capital on tools, materials and ingredients.
Jaims took a break from an IT career during her third pregnancy. Thereafter she made more soaps and travelled to Malaysia to get a Soap Artist Certification. The training opened new knowledge, skills and a wide array of soap designs. Soap piping added another level of possibilities especially in creating soap flowers. Beautiful cakes and cookies became new inspiration until she felt she wanted more flexibility and new techniques. This is where her love for sculpture came in.
She made roses out of soap clay from scratch, handcrafted the petals one by one and assembled them to obtain realistic looking roses. Clay, of course, is a sculptor’s most preferred medium of expressing art. It is flexible, and the artist has more time to work on it.
Jaims participated in handmade markets supported by associations and government-organized events for project owners where she exhibited her art and skill to anyone who wished to learn. She tested perception of her soaps, accumulated feedback and eventually documented experiences and insights on how to market them. She drafted a business plan and sought the service of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help finalize the plan. The idea to convert a room at home as a labo-atelier appealed to her, but the Covid virus pushed off the plan in lieu of the husband’s home office. Designing soaps has indeed found a strong connection to her being and she neither sees herself returning to the IT profession nor be pushed back by the pandemic. Today, Jaims’ soap art stands in active appeal to generous funders, and friends to support this project now running with a few days left on Kickstarter’s "It's all or nothing" policy. Organic, designer soaps will be sent as gifts when the project reaches its goal.