Even though our soaps are calming additions to a relaxing bath, I wanted to avoid the cliche "spa" look. And, even though our soaps are made with only natural ingredients, I didn't want a website with bundles of herbs and flowers all over it. Our soaps are "homespun" and comforting, but I'm not much into the country look. And, I most certainly didn't want an uninspired, utilitarian looking shop that merely serves as a retail outlet on the internet. I wanted something that could express the "old fashioned" character of handmade soap, but also give a shout-out to the creativity that's involved in making unique handmade soap.
That's where Steampunk comes in. For those who haven't heard of Steampunk, let me explain my take on it. Visually, it resembles what Victorian-era people may have envisioned the future as looking like. Think Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," where the costumes, language and sets resemble 19th Century England, but the story line embraces an often adventurous, futuristic plot.
Often times, Steampunk story lines speak against current ideology, in favor of more socially-sympathetic or forward-thinking ideologies. Steampunk is a literary genre, an art genre, a fashion genre, and so much more. It has its own vocabulary and music. It has all the elements of a culture, and its popularity is on the rise. It's not uncommon to find Steampunk story lines that include flying dirigibles (airships similar to the Hindenburg), ray guns, ancient and lost civilizations that were not only worth being found again, but when found, have undergone massive advancements and modernizations. Goggles and brass gadgets including compasses, astrolabes, and telescopes are re-imagined into futuristic looking devices with imaginative capabilities.
How does handmade soap tie into all of this Steampunkiness?
Making something beautiful with my hands is in direct opposition to the mass-produced, throw-away culture of the modern world. Steampunk looks backward to a simple time, when the intricacies of a carefully crafted instrument were admired and appreciated, but forward to a time when advancement has been aided by new understandings and developments in technology.
Soap making harkens back to a simpler time, when simple ingredients were admired and appreciated, but its safety is improved with modern purification techniques and standardization. Steampunk embraces and celebrates an individual's creativity and particularly appreciates those who wish to buck the status quo, and break free from the dictates of society. Soapcrafters definitely fall into this category. I mean, it's not difficult to purchase soap these days, yet us soap crafters feel oddly compelled to make our own, often at great expense of time and money (knowing that commercial soap pales in comparison!).
This counter-culture, appreciation-of-old-techniques-amid-modern-advancement kind of thinking is what ties a soap crafter to the Steampunk culture. Maybe it's a stretch, but I'm on a creative adventure, and, inspired by the ideals of Steampunk, I'm dedicated to my mission of making the most naturally adventurous handmade soap in the universe.