Friday, May 6, 2011

Feature Friday: Spotlight on Clare of Mylana

Okay, we're switching things up a bit here, folks.  I havne't done interviews in a few weeks because, well, I ran out of interviewees.  I decide, as I did last time, to post on the board of one of my teams, and hope I snagged a few volunteers.  The team I chose was April's Army, the Regretsy team.  These wonderful people have a collective shop they open one week a month to sell items all for charity, as well as all having a sense of humor about themselves and crafting.

Well, I got an awesome response, and this will be the first of many interviews posted over the coming weeks from my fellow April's Army team members.  Today's interview is Clare, a soapmaker from Murfreesboro, and someone who has benefited from the kindness of her fellow crafters, thanks to Regretsy.

Tell us three things about yourself.

I have type 1 diabetes, I was in the Army and served in Afghanistan, and when my husband died he got an urn donated to him from Regretsy in the shape of a turtle.

What’s your medium and how did you get into it?

I make soap and candles and dabble in mixed media collage, jewelry making, and painting. I got into making soap and candles because my mom worked for a company when I was in high school that published the crafting books for soap and candle making. She brought home the books before publication to do a final proofreading and print check and I picked them up and started reading. I made her get me all the crafting books about the subject as soon as they were published.

Tahitian Vanilla Votives

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

My very first batch of cold process soap, it was scented with litsea cubeba essential oil (citrus scent). I loved it because it was the first time I saw the transformation of raw oils and lye into soap that I could use.

From where do you take inspiration?

I used to specialize in making candles and soap that looked like real food and drinks, like mugs of beer candles, but that kind of thing breaks too easily in the mail and I ran out of money to buy materials when my husband died, so I switched to mostly using my creativity to make what I can out of found or donated materials. My friend closed a soap making business and gave me about 30 smaller bottles of fragrance, and I mix them together to make special blends, instead of buying new fragrance. I do the same thing with my candles and use jelly jars and other food and beverage glassware to make candles.

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?

The Aztec and Mayan pyramids because I have always thought architecture was cool and I love the tribal stonework.

Fresh Scent Big Block Soap

What are you doing when you’re not crafting?

Cooking, playing World of Warcraft, chatting online and fantasizing about what supplies I can buy next.

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?

I would want to learn woodworking and carpentry because I would like to make things that are practical and useful, while also being beautiful.

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.

My husband and I used to make beer together and I added 2 cans of blueberry pie filling to a batch of pale ale once and we filtered out the berries after fermentation. The extra sugar made the beer a little more alcoholic and it had a smooth blueberry flavor, like blue moon beer, but subtle and not too in-your-face fruity.

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?

It would please me to know that any loser ex-boyfriends of mine from high school were washing with my soap and enjoying it, just so I could privately gloat and say, "Hey, look what you missed out on when you dumped me!". Snicker.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?

I make soap by mixing together different oils with a strong chemical base (lye) that turns them into a bar of soap.

What’s your favorite part of the process?

Both soap and candles, taking them out of the mold and seeing the finished product is the best...well, actually, maybe that ties with shopping for supplies!

Peppermint Blue Palm Votives

One random thing you think people should know.

Yes, you could make soap with human fat like in "Fight Club", but I don't want to try it...

How you can check out Clare's shop and more about her awesome works.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE Clare of Mylana! I'm so glad I met her through Etsy & Regretsy. As a matter of fact, I just received a package of fantastic soaps from her the other day and now smell deliciously like Coconut Lime. Now how to keep the husband out of them?