The scent, the shape and the experience – three pillars of my soap design alchemy. The oddball soaps appeared from my hands while I was researching topics of intuition in relation to innovation and creativity, since my way of working is to combine practical work with theoretical research.
For the scent of this sheabutter and coconut oil soap I chose Frankincense essential oil. The essential oil is distilled from the Boswellia tree’s resin. When the Boswellia tree’s bark is pierced, a milky-white oleoresin is exuded – thought the tree is not harmed. The resin forms droplets known as ‘tears’ or ‘pearls’, which harden into the orange-brown gum known itself as Frankincense. The English name of this natural incense is derived from the medieval French ‘franc’, meaning ‘pure’ or ‘free’, and from the Latin ‘incensium’, meaning ‘to smoke’. This scent is said to strenghten intuition and deepen a spiritual connection by enhancing focus. It can enhance the mood and combat stress and anxiety, deepen and slow down the breathing and still the mind, making it useful for meditation and yogic practice. Used for many thousands of years, the Frankincense tree has a strong association with spiritual practice. Frankincense has even been sought after by kings and valued as highly as gold! In most of the great ancient cultures, including the Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Hebrew, Greek and Roman civilizations, it has played a role in religious and domestic life. From my own experience so far, I enjoy the emptiness and the mind space it offers me. It’s like a reminder to come back to my own space of just being.
The intuitive shapes that came out are oddball: half-plant and half-animal, like sea anemones or corrals. “An oddball” also refers to a person or thing that is atypical, bizarre, eccentric, or nonconforming, especially one having beliefs that are unusual but harmless. The longer I live the more I question things around me, like a child. Why is soap square or oval? What experiences can I create as a designer that I wish existed?