Carving soap is good, clean fun! Every year my cub scouts looked forward to learning how to safely carve with a knife. They learned how to carve, using a bar of soap. It was quickly apparent that soap carving requires some talent.
Who started soap carving? Why would someone want to carve it when it all washes away? Can it be considered art?
The first hand carved flowers came from the village of Chian Rai in Northern Thailand. Villagers carved them in the evenings as a hobby. Later on they began selling the carved flowers in the evening bazaar along with other handcrafted items. Soap carving became a profitable pass time.
As more people wanted carved soaps, others began trying their hand at carving. In order to carve it, the soap making process must provide one which is firm, yet soft enough to carve without flaking or breaking off. All carving projects must begin with good soap making.
Since it seems to be such a temporary medium (after all, we do wash it down the drain), can it really be considered a work of art? Art made from soap is usually done on a miniature scale, limited by the size of the bar of soap. Some soap art has been created using larger blocks of soap to create larger sculptures.
Bev Kirk made the world’s largest soap sculpture for the Ivory soap making company. She created a winged pig she titled, “Sudsie, A Boar of Soap.” This large sculpture was cut from a bar 5 feet by 5 feet by 6 feet, and the finished sculpture weighed 7000 pounds!
I remember my mother having pretty little soap flowers by the guest bathroom sink. These flowers were so pretty, we weren’t allowed to use them. She considered these soap flowers works of art worthy of display.
None of the soap carvings my cub scouts made would be considered great works of art. We still had a lot of good clean fun making them. Hopefully the boys also had some good clean fun using their creations during bath time.