What is your first creative memory?
I think I was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to creativity! I remember doing art projects in school as a kid, and I even took art in high school. But I always thought that I wasn't very creative - probably because drawing and painting just aren't my strength! I was involved in music and drama in both high school and college, so I used that as my creative outlet.
|Lemon scented glycerin soap|
How long have you been an artist and an active business artist?
After school, my focus turned to my career in real estate. When the market took a hit and I discovered that I was pregnant with twins in 2007 I took that as my message from the Almighty that it was time to quit! Thankfully, my husband's job was enough to cover our expenses, so I became a full-time mom. During that time I spent a lot of time perfecting my cooking skills and watching a lot of cooking shows. It wasn't great for my waistline, but it was awesome as a creative outlet! I thought about starting a business somehow involving food, but after looking into what I would need to do to make that happen I realized that just wasn't going to fit with my life. I have little kids and dogs, there's no way I'd be able to get a certified kitchen in my house! I thought, well maybe I could rent a kitchen somewhere, but then it would mean carting my kids somewhere to be in a less than child-friendly environment. So that left me kind of stumped.
I've always loved soap, but I thought that in order to make soap I'd have to work with dangerous chemicals, and that idea didn't sit well with me with kids in the house. But then I saw a blog article about melt & pour soap, and I was intrigued! Here was a craft that was somewhat like cooking, that was beautiful to look at and smell, and it didn't involve caustic chemicals! Bingo!
|Soap bath crayons|
So this past winter, we were sick with back to back colds for a stretch of 4 months. I was bored, tired, stressed out, and ready to try something new. Oh, and I felt like a hermit from self-isolation in the name of not spreading cooties. I decided, well, now's as good a time as any to learn how to make soap! I reserved every book in my library system about soap making. I read about melt & pour, cold process, hot process, essential oils, colorants, molds, and on and on and on. I read as much as I possibly could, and then I watched as many videos on YouTube as I could. This went on for several months, of just researching. Finally, in February of 2012 I made my first batch of soap. It was love at first pour! I got my business license, insurance, and Etsy shop in March and I've been making melt & pour glycerin soap ever since!
How did you hear about Etsy and how long have you been selling on Etsy?
I've known about Etsy for quite a number of years. I live in the Pacific Northwest, an area that values small businesses and where the buying local movement is in full swing. I was a shopper for a long time on Etsy before I became a seller.
|Gardeners herbal soap|
When I came up with the name for Sunbreak Soaps, it was early spring here in the Northwest. I wanted a company name the carried meaning for local residents, yet had a bit of something that everyone could relate to. I know it may come as a shock, but it rains a lot here. lol Early spring is especially terrible in that regard. I needed some sun, in a bad way, and I thought that making soap was kind of like my sunshine. It brought me joy and fun during a time when the world was dreary and depressing. Making soap was my Sunbreak! And I hoped that's how people would also feel while using it.
Are you an artist full time?
I consider myself to be a full-time mom; part-time artist. My kids are always my top priority. We intend to start homeschooling next month, and I know that most of my time will be devoted to them. Making soap is my escape as a mom. It's my way of using my creativity (in a way that doesn't involve calories!) and regaining my sanity.
What inspires you?
I find a lot of inspiration while gardening. The smells and the colors often lead to soap. Cooking is also a big inspiration to me. I heard once that if something smells good together, it will probably taste good together too. So I try to think in reverse, if things taste good together then it will smell good together too! I also look at a lot of great "soap porn" online, and lately I found some inspiration on a trip to Seattle while looking at art glass. You can read about my art glass inspiration here sunbreaksoaps.blogspot.com/2012/08/art-glass-inspiration.html and here sunbreaksoaps.blogspot.com/2012/07/chihuly-me.html
|2 lbs. homemade powdered laundry detergent|
What do you listen to or watch while creating?
Does childrens programing on TV in the background count? lol Honestly, when I'm not trying to entertain my kids so I can finish a project, I usually just like silence. Other mom's out there will understand what I'm talking about!
Describe your work space
My work space is my kitchen. We do have plans to set up a dedicated space in our garage soon.
What does being an Amy mean to you?
Amy means beloved, or friend. To me, it has always meant love. Obviously my parents loved me very much to give me such a pretty name! I always used to hate it that it was so common, especially in school, but I'm happy with it now.
|Easter Island Statue party favor soaps|
Where else can we find you?