“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
I've been a huge fan of Sorcery Soaps even since before I started soaping. A few years ago I remember how Katie from Royalty Soaps shared with the world that the creator of the tiny soap books and magnifying glasses for her Sherlock Holmes inspired soap was none other than Bee Iyata. I knew that if someday I became a soap maker, I had to get my hands on some soap dough magic.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I shared my latest creation on a soap makers' group on Facebook. It was Dreamcatcher; my most mystical creation up to that point with lots of little soap dough twists and frills. I noted that it was made with Sorcery Soap's soap dough. I guess it caught Bee's attention because all of a sudden there it was: AN EMAIL FROM BEE WANTING TO COLLABORATE WITH ME. I had to apologize to my fiancé from the scream I shot out. I couldn't contain myself! Fangirling doesn't even begin to describe my excitement.
We got to work immediately. We started shooting ideas back and forth about different concepts and stories for our collaboration soap. Ideas evolved from traditional Halloween narratives to more obscure lore. The concept of "Thinning of the veil" was suggested by Bee and it really resonated with me too. We got the ball rolling looking for inspiration imagery.
We went from doors, to mirrors, to pumpkins, to cinnamon sticks and then... Styx- one of the bodies of water that divided the living world from the underworld (or Hades) in ancient greek mythology. In Ancient Greece, the dead were burned on pyres with coins placed over their lips or their eyes so that when their soul traveled to the underworld, they could pay the Charon (ferrymen) to enter Hades. If the soul did not have enough for the toll, they would be destined to an eternal struggle in the river trying to get in to Hades. Talk about terrifying, right?
While Bee worked on some incredibly detailed embed ideas, I worked on gathering supplies, colors and fragrance pairings for this soap. She created these tiny little boats made from soap dough in a style that is unmistakably Grecian. She added ravens and skulls as classic symbols of death. I suggested the idea of the coins falling into the river, since in my mind this river was one with turbulent and murky waters. Souls would be swayed by the current. This is why I immediately thought this soap should be done with an in the pot swirl managed in a way that ended up looking like the souls were trying to reach to the surface and grab their toll for the Charon.
I will be honest, I was terrified the whole time. Soap is so unpredictable (even if you are super experienced and your recipe is tried and true). I really could not bear the thought of letting Bee down. She did give me a lot of encouragement along the way. Every message I got from her seemed to lift my spirits up. When two creatives join forces so much magic can come from that. In this case, it was an otherworldly interest that sparked this friendship in the process. I'm so happy to have made a new friend in Bee. Grateful doesn't even begin to describe it. I love what we made together. I hope you guys love it too!
Check out the making of this soap in the video below!
River Styx will be available in October at lilasuds.com. Stay posted to the Lilasuds Instagram for launch date details (@lilasudssoaps). Scented in crisp notes of apples, lavender and oak.